Why the Women of Broad City are the Stoner Heroines We’ve Been Waiting For

When the cultural history of marijuana is recounted, the women of Broad City will be ranked alongside Willie Nelson, Dennis Peron, Bob Marley, and Jeffrey Lebowski as some of its most groundbreaking and influential 420 icons. Lead characters Abbi Abrams and Ilana Wexler (played by the show’s creators, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer) have given us a completely original entry in the cannabis canon: a female Stoner Duo.

Stoner Heroes have been with us since the release of Easy Rider in 1969. The archetype arose with the ’60s counterculture, but much like cannabis itself, the trope evolved into an array of countless strains. Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke, however, spurred a seismic change in stoner screen-history. Released in 1978, the film not only invented the stoner comedy genre, it expanded the archetype of the lone Stoner Hero into the even-more-iconic Stoner Duo.

Up In Smoke laid the blueprint for Half Baked, The Big Lebowski, Pineapple Express and a plethora of other films. It birthed iconic duos like Bill and Ted, Craig and Smokey, Method Man and Redman, Harold and Kumar, Jay and Silent Bob, and Shaggy and Scooby.

While these onscreen Stoner Duos have been remarkably diverse in terms of age, race, and socioeconomic status they’re almost inevitably male. Historically, the rare stoner chicks we’ve seen in film and television are bit players, adjacent to male leads. Exactly one woman made Ranker’s Top 20 Most Influential Stoners In Film History: Annie Hall, a Woody Allen character from 1977.

All of the above explains why, when women saw Broad City for the first time, millions of us nearly dropped our bongs. Finally, we were seeing ourselves onscreen for the first time–and not as desperate suburbanite widows driven to drug-dealing; or cute, pixie sidekicks to leading male characters. Broad City puts fully-realized lady dope fiends center stage. 

The show also treats pot differently than any series that came before it. While weed drives the plot of some episodes, it’s also just a part of the landscape–like bodegas, graffiti, and the subway. Whether Abbi and Ilana are partying, FaceTiming, masturbating, working, eating, managing sprained ankles, or coping with heartbreak, getting stoned is portrayed as essential– but also ordinary. Like regular trips to Bed Bath and Beyond as well as the love and loyalty of dear friends, cannabis is experienced an integral accessory for the human condition.

In honor of this iconic, trailblazing duo (and the fifth and final season of Broad City), here’s a breakdown of the ways in which Abbi and Ilana are the weed queens we didn’t know we needed:

Abbi and Ilana Take Pot Seriously 

In Season 1, Episode 2, Abbi embarks on the heroine’s journey of buying her own pot like a grown adult—a quest inspired by the sight of Ilana pulling a bag of weed from her own vagina.

In Season 2, Episode 9, Ilana plunges into a fiery romance with Adele, a mirror image of Ilana who seems perfect in every way—but when Adele wrinkles her nose and announces that she doesn’t smoke pot, Ilana promptly shows her the door.

Men might compromise on this issue, but weed queens have their priorities straight.

Fast forward to Season 3, Episode 4, in which Ilana throws a party at her apartment to raise funds for a rat exterminator. She rummages through her belongings, apartment, and hair in search of spare nugs she can sell. And the weed bar she assembles is truly a sight to behold.

They Also Overdo it

In a quest to be an adult who purchases her own pot, Abbi gets mistaken for a weed dealer and ends up scoring from a middle schooler. Then, she decides to smoke in the bathroom at the dentist’s office– and triggers the smoke alarm and sprinkler system. Then there’s Ilana, who frequently smokes joints before napping at work and is known to steal office supplies that she uses to barter for grass.

Then there’s the time in Season 2, Episode 9, when the duo gleefully vape at their coat check job and lose Kelly Ripa’s coat. There’s also that classic moment while attempting to swipe an air-conditioner from an NYU dorm room in Season 2, Episode 1, that they decide to teach some undergrads about “the dangers of ripping underage bongs.” How they do this? By ripping bong hits with them, of course.

Obviously, no one should steal, or vape at work, or purchase weed from eighth-graders, or get underage boys high; yes, these are unarguably foolish decisions. But it’s liberating to watch female fuckups act irresponsibly. Male stoners onscreen (and in real life) have always had permission—nay, encouragement—to be libertines and jackasses. As Broad City’s executive producer Amy Poehler noted, Abbi and Ilana’s transgressive behavior is intentional: “Women always have to be the eye rollers, as the men make a mess. We didn’t want that. Young women can be lost, too.”

Abbi and Ilana are messy, and while their weed-fueled debauchery may not always be wise, it’s both subversive and funny-as-hell. And it’s genuinely refreshing to watch women who don’t care about their jobs get high and eat cereal. Abbi and Ilana DGAF about the grind: they’re too busy looking for the grinder.

Abbi and Ilana are Role Models for Women

Okay, capitalists. Maybe they’re not role models in terms of their non-striving, just-lie-and-leave approach to their jobs. And, sure: they probably shouldn’t have gone on that creepy Craigslist, housecleaning-in-your-underwear job to raise funds for a Lil Wayne concert. Or substituted weed shakes for Vicodin post-surgery. Or made out with super-stoned minors. Or tried to sneak pot into Israel by hiding bags of weed in their vaginas. These are all horrible ideas.

But I would argue their defiance, rule-breaking, and risk-taking is admirable and something females need to see more of–regardless of age. As Abbi Jacobson told the New York Post, “Maybe not a lot of women on TV act the way we do—but a lot of the women we know act that way.”

Broad City hasn’t just broken boundaries around sex, nudity, queerness, and bodily functions– it’s also shattered the archetype around who’s allowed to be a slipshod stoner.

Weed is part of Abbi and Ilana’s unapologetic pursuit of pleasure, which is radical and deeply feminist. But their love for the herb pales in comparison to their love for each other. Their adoring friendship, both in front of and behind the camera, truly makes our Grinch heart grow three sizes.

Where people of my rapidly advancing age had Jay and Silent Bob, millennials have Abbi and Ilana as their Stoner Superheroes, and thank Weed Jesus for that,” says Samantha Irby, comedian, blogger, and New York Times bestselling author of Meaty and We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. “It’s a shame that it feels revolutionary to see female friendship depicted in such a real and honest way, but it totally is. Abbi and Ilana have filled a little nug-sized hole in my heart and for that I’m forever grateful.” 

The Duo Prove Pot is a Feminist Issue

Season 4, Episode 1 opens with Abbi and Ilana strolling whilst casually discussing hairstyle choices. The camera pulls back to reveal they’re actually escorting a woman through an enraged throng of pro-lifers to the door of an abortion clinic. Ilana bids the woman farewell by saying, “Your body, your choice”—and then whips out a bowl and lights it. A protester yells at her, causing Ilana to blow dope smoke in his face and shriek, “You don’t know how much you need that!”

Why the Women of Broad City are the Stoner Heroines We’ve Been Waiting For

Comedy Central

Abbi follows suit, exhaling smoke all over the infuriated crowd. Ilana puts the bowl in her pocket, and they walk off into the sunset, chatting with smiles on their faces. The camera cuts to the first protestor, standing in shock: “Why are we doing this?” he says to himself, munching on a cookie.

It’s 59 seconds of pure, smoke-laden genius. In under a minute, Abbi and Ilana somehow manage to convert a religious nut bag with the power of pot. They show us that young women can be stoner slackers while still stepping up to take direct action to defend women’s rights. The sight of them smoking grass in their clinic escort shirts is like manna from feminist stoner heaven.

Broad City is first and foremost an absurdist comedy. But despite its surreal silliness and ridiculous antics, it’s had a real impact on women.

I can definitively say that if it weren’t for Broad City, I might not be in the cannabis industry today,” says Tiara Darnell, Oregon’s 2017 Budtender of the Year and host/executive producer of the podcast High, Good People. “These weed queens busted through the D.A.R.E. wall in my mind and helped me define my relationship with the plant. In the show and in real life, Abbi and Ilana have inspired me to define ‘normalization’ on my own terms and to create the smart stoner content I want to see in the world.”

And that’s exactly what the ladies of Broad City have instilled in canna-loving women across the world: be the Weed Queen you want to see in the world.

Jennifer Boeder is a content specialist at Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency. She writes about cannabis, music, politics, and culture. Her work has appeared in Cannabis Culture, The Weed Blog, Oxygen, Chicagoist, Wonkette, Built In Chicago, Cuepoint and The Urbaness. She lives in Los Angeles.

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Governor of Florida Pushing to Lift Ban on Smokeable Marijuana

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called on the state legislature Thursday to repeal the ban on smokeable cannabis from the state’s medical marijuana statute. At a press conference in Winter Park, Florida, DeSantis said that the ban is not in line with the will of the voters.

“What the Florida Legislature has done to implement the people’s will has not been done in accordance with what the amendment envisioned,” DeSantis said. “Whether [patients] have to smoke it or not, who am I to judge that? I want people to be able to have their suffering relieved. I don’t think this law is up to snuff.”

DeSantis also said that if the ban is not rescinded by the middle of March, he will drop an appeal filed by former Gov. Rick Scott to keep it in the law. In May, a judge ruled that prohibition against smoking cannabis violated Amendment 2, the measure passed by 71 percent of voters in 2016 that legalized medical cannabis in the state.

Cannabis Advocates Support Repeal of Ban

Agriculture commissioner and cannabis advocate Nikki Fried called on lawmakers to act before March.

“Every day that medical marijuana in the pure plant form is unavailable to patients, Floridians continue to suffer,” she said. “This is an issue I’ve seen firsthand throughout our state and country, and one that touches my family personally — my mother was recently diagnosed with cancer, and she is struggling to find medicine that relieves her suffering. The fact that she can’t access the medicine she needs breaks my heart.”

State Sen. Jeff Brandes, another supporter of medical cannabis in Florida, said that the ban on smokable cannabis is an overreach of authority.

“What other drug does the government tell you how to ingest?” said Brandes. “It’s a doctor-patient issue. The government doesn’t insert themselves in there.”

Brandes also said he would introduce legislation to remove regulations requiring vertically integrated medical marijuana providers to cultivate, process, and sell all of their own cannabis products. DeSantis also said he would abandon appeals on those regulations and some licensing requirements. DeSantis said the legal challenges should be abandoned so the government could concentrate on more important matters.

“We have a lot of fish to fry in Florida,” DeSantis said. “The last thing I want to do be doing is cleaning up something that should have been done two years ago. I don’t want to continue fighting some of these old battles.”

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Are Unlicensed Operators Accessing California’s Legal Cannabis Market?

Unlicensed businesses are attempting to gain access to California’s legal cannabis market, and for now, it’s up to licensed firms to make sure the rules are being followed. Despite regulations from the state Bureau of Cannabis Control that require licensed cannabis companies to only do business with other licensees, there is not yet a system in place to verify compliance.

Ben Ballard is the chief operating officer at Silo Distribution, a licensed cannabis distributor serving Southern California dispensaries from its facility in Palm Springs. He told High Times that both unlicensed sellers and buyers have attempted to complete illegal cannabis transactions with his firm.

“I’ve never completed a transaction and found out retroactively that there was a license that didn’t check out, but it is something that people have attempted to do,” Ballard said.

Ballard added that there are several reasons a license number might be invalid.

“It could be a number of things,” he said. “It could be expired. It may be completely phony. The license they have might not permit them to do what they’re trying to do.”

Currently, companies can look up licensee information on the BCC website. But unscrupulous operators, including one who tried to sell black market vape cartridges to Silo, can take advantage of the same publicly available information.

“I’ve been given a license before and I looked it up,” Ballard explained. “The company name on the license didn’t match the brand, and they were in a completely different part of California.” Ballard says things got even fishier from there.

“So when I asked about it they said ‘Sorry, wrong licensing,’ and provided another one and it was the same drill. And they said, ‘Well, there’s some ownership stuff here.’ It was a very half-assed attempt at trying to pull it off, so it was pretty easy to figure it out.”

Ballard said he’s also had unlicensed dispensaries attempt to purchase products from his company. He said those cases are easier to spot because deliveries must be made to the address on the license. And when a sales representative is in a retail shop, it’s not difficult to determine if it is licensed.

“It does take due diligence, but it’s not an overwhelming amount of work.”

“License information does need to be prominently displayed,” Ballard said. “So if you have concerns about dealing with licensed or unlicensed groups, then you should be able to locate that yourself or they should be willing to share that with you. I would say if someone’s not willing to share their licensing information with you, then you may have a problem. It may be an indicator that something’s not above board.”

Virginia Falces is the communications director at OutCo, a microbusiness license holder in San Diego County. The company cultivates, manufactures, and distributes cannabis products from its headquarters in suburban San Diego. She said that although she hasn’t seen unlicensed firms attempt improper transactions with OutCo, she knows that there are imposters out there. And until METRC, the state’s upcoming seed-to-sale tracking system is in place, it will be difficult to verify the source of cannabis products.

“We have not experienced anyone pretending to be a licensed operator when they are not,” Falces told High Times. “However, we did receive a cease and desist order from the BCC at our address in El Cajon; there was an unlicensed company using our license number and address but with a different name. Since license numbers, addresses, and business names are readily available on the BCC website, it would be very easy for an unlicensed operator to get and use any license number. Either the track-and-trace system being in place or a copy of the BCC license would have prevented that.”

Ballard says it is usually easy for him to distinguish the “above board, up front players in this industry and the people that are doing stuff completely outside” of the regulations. He added that he’s followed his intuition and investigated further when things haven’t seemed right.

“It does take due diligence, but it’s not an overwhelming amount of work.”

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California Lawyers Clarify That Home Pot Deliveries are Legal State-Wide

The retail of recreational cannabis has been legal in California since the beginning of 2018. But there are still some ongoing points of tension and uncertainty being worked out.

Most recently, officials in the state clarified confusion regarding home delivery. According to these officials, California cannabis laws allow for home delivery in any part of the state—including localities that have chosen to ban retail activity.

California’s Laws for Home Delivery of Marijuana

Earlier today, California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control approved and released hundreds of pages of regulations and language to clarify rules governing the state’s adult-use marijuana laws.

One of the most important rules clarified by the Bureau has to do with home delivery. More specifically, the Bureau today made explicitly clear that California law allows for home cannabis deliveries in every single jurisdiction.

As a result, home deliveries can be made in locations where retail operations are allowed to operate, as well as locations where retail operations are banned.

Under California’s cannabis laws, local county or city governments have the ability to regulate marijuana-related activity. And that includes deciding whether or not to allow dispensaries to open.

Since recreational retail went online at the beginning of 2018, there have been many jurisdictions that have chosen to ban retail shops from opening.

But confusion has remained over how those bans impact home deliveries. On the one hand, local governments typically advocate for increased control over cannabis. And many places want the right to decide how to handle home deliveries.

On the other hand, many consumers and cannabis advocacy groups insisted that home deliveries were legal statewide.

Either way, today’s actions from the Bureau of Cannabis Control could help put an end to the confusion. As reported by local news sources, officials with the agency cited a California law that says local governments “shall not prevent delivery of cannabis or cannabis products on public roads.”

Officials reportedly interpret that to mean that no local jurisdictions have the right to prohibit home delivery of marijuana. And that includes localities that have chosen to block retail cannabis sales.

Ongoing Controversy

According to the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the agency is not creating a new rule. Rather, officials at the Bureau said they are simply reiterating laws that already exist.

Regardless, the agency’s endorsement of statewide home delivery is already creating controversy. As local media reports, police chiefs and other critics throughout the state, including the League of California Cities, are opposing the rule.

In general, these groups argue that the rule undermines local control over cannabis activity. Further, cops in the state argue that home delivery could open the door to unregulated marijuana sales and distribution.

But for many in the state, the bureau’s clarification is being celebrated. In particular, consumers who live in locations where retail sales have been blocked see home delivery as their only reliable way to access legal cannabis.

That is especially true for medical marijuana patients. In many places that have blocked dispensaries, patients struggle to access cannabis. But home deliveries could be a viable way for them to obtain their medication.

Local media reports that the controversy could end up going to court. Alternatively, it could spark future legislative considerations.

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New Bill Would Allow Medical Marijuana in New Mexico Schools

A new bill introduced in the New Mexico state Senate would allow for the use of medical marijuana in schools. The measure, Senate Bill 204, is sponsored by Sen. Candace Gould, a Republican from Albuquerque.

If the bill is passed, it would allow students with a medical marijuana certification and a treatment plan to use cannabis medications at school. The treatment plan would be agreed upon by the school principal and the child’s legal guardian. Cannabis would be administered by designated school personnel or legal guardians only. Students would not be permitted to administer cannabis medications to themselves or store them on school grounds. The use of cannabis medications would not be permitted to cause “disruption to the educational environment or cause other students to be exposed to medical cannabis,” the bill says. School districts that were able to prove that they have lost or would lose federal funds by implementing the policy would be allowed an exception.

Parents of Patients Support Bill

Lindsay Sledge moved from Utah to New Mexico so she could have access to cannabis medications for her five-year-old daughter Paloma, who has a seizure disorder. The mother of three says that cannabis is the only medicine that helps her daughter’s condition but New Mexico’s medical marijuana laws are impacting Paloma’s ability to go to school. She hopes that Gould’s bill will be noticed in other states.

“If it does pass, it’s going to be a huge precedent for other states also dealing with this issue,” Sledge said.

Sledge added that she hopes that officials at Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) will support the measure.

“I’m hopeful APS will implement this if it gets passed, because they would be setting the standard for every other district in the state,” said Sledge. “If the law is changed, I’m hopeful it will be an easy transition.”

David Peercy, the APS Board of Education President, has not yet considered the proposed legislation.

“We have not discussed this bill or the issue in general, so there is no board position at this time. Our government relations staff will keep us informed on this bill, as well as all education-related bills. As this bill progresses, the board and administration may decide to take a position,” he wrote.

Sledge urged lawmakers to pass SB 204 in a written statement.

“Children in New Mexico who rely on medical cannabis to treat their debilitating conditions are being denied an education,” she wrote. “I’m hopeful lawmakers will hear the stories from these families and vote yes on bill 204. The current Lynn & Erin Compassionate act discriminates against children who are medical cannabis patients and needs to be changed. There are currently six other states that have comprehensive laws that allow medical cannabis at school. I’m hopeful New Mexico will be next and that my daughter will soon be able to attend school with the life-saving medicine she needs.”

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DC Lawmaker Aims to Get Green Light for Recreational Cannabis Sales

It has been nearly five years since residents of Washington, D.C., voted on Initiative 71, effectively legalizing low-level cannabis possession and home growing of the plant. However, recreational sales remain stunted in the nation’s capital.

The core part of the problem? D.C. was prohibited from using local tax dollars to establish a tax-and-regulate scheme by Congress. Under Republican control, the legislative body attached a provision in federal budgets each year since 2014 that’s left D.C. in limbo when it comes to recreational marijuana sales.

One D.C. lawmaker, however, is determined to change that. With Democrats now in the majority in the House of Representatives, where the rider on federal budgets originates, D.C. At-Large Councilmember David Grosso sees an opportunity to get the District out of this limbo once and for all.

“This status quo has led to a confusing and problematic state of affairs with residents and businesses unclear on what is legal, what is not, and wondering how it can be that it is legal to possess marijuana but not to buy or sell it,” Grosso, who is an Independent, said in a press release. “We need to fix this. The new reality on Capitol Hill means that chances of D.C. legalizing marijuana sales are greater than ever.”

Grosso credits the passage of Initiative 71 with keeping District residents away from “needless involvement in the judicial system.”

“Since D.C. voters approved Initiative 71 to decriminalize recreational cannabis, we have seen marijuana-related arrests plummet, representing thousands of District residents who were spared needless involvement in the judicial system,” Grosso said. “The logical next step, to continue to reduce arrests and to bring marijuana totally out of the shadows, is to set up a strong tax and regulatory system.”

Grosso introduced a form of his cannabis sales legislation in every council period since 2013. In the latest version of the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act, he included new provisions aimed at rectifying the wrongs of the failed War on Drugs.

“The War on Drugs was a failure — it was increasing our mass incarceration problem and not helping with our drug dependency problem,” he said. “Further, the data also has consistently shown that the War on Drugs has been racist in its implementation. It’s a racial justice issue. It’s not enough that we change these policies, we also have to proactively heal the communities most negatively impacted.”

At-Large Councilmembers Anita Bonds and Robert White, and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, signed on as co-introducers of the legislation.

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Wisconsin Governor Announces He Will Make “First Step” Toward Legalizing Cannabis

Wisconsin’s new Democratic governor, Tony Evers, announced Tuesday his plans to include the initial steps of cannabis legalization in his state budget proposal for 2019. Speaking before Wisconsin Technology Council board members, Gov. Evers responded to a question about his views on cannabis. Evers said he personally favors adult use legalization, echoing Minnesota’s new governor, Tim Walz.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers “Personally Would Sign” a Cannabis Legalization Bill

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers supports cannabis legalization. At the same time, he doesn’t want to rush the process. In response to a question about his views on marijuana, Evers expressed an interest in taking incremental steps toward a full adult-use industry in Wisconsin.

Evers said his first steps would be to work toward medical cannabis legalization. That’s something that Wisconsin can accomplish legislatively, and Gov. Evers could kickstart that process by including medical legalization in his two-year budget proposal. Taking a longer view, Evers said his administration would push for a statewide voter referendum on full legalization. Wispolitics.com reports Evers told Technology Council board members that he “personally would sign that bill,” but just wants “to make sure we do it correctly.”

“Correctly,” of course, has meant different things to different legislatures and offices of the governor around the country. For Gov. Evers, correctly appears to mean, with an emphasis on small businesses and social justice.

Gov. Evers Wants to Avoid Corporate Takeover of Cannabis in Wisconsin

A followup question from Milwaukee lawyer Alexander Pendleton prompted the governor to reveal more of his views on the “right way” to legalize cannabis. Pendleton posed the question of legalization from criminal justice and budgetary perspectives. And in response, Evers agreed that “marijuana connects all the dots.”

Evers went on to share his observations on other adult-use states. He pointed to Washington, where “hundreds of mom and pop” cannabis shops have been replaced by large cannabis companies. He pointed to Colorado, where “very few people are actually making money” in the industry because of the state’s tax structure. Evers said he wanted to avoid taking Wisconsin’s cannabis industry down the same path. “I think the last thing the people of Wisconsin want as it relates to marijuana is it eventually devolves into Pfizer running things.”

Evers’ emphasis on the importance of small businesses in the cannabis industry strikes a different chord than many of the legalization discussions around the country. It signals Evers wants to shift priorities from corporation-friendly tax rates to cannabis policy that works for the people of Wisconsin. “I want it to be set up in a way that people in the state of Wisconsin feel comfortable that they can make some money by doing this work without having to essentially go broke,” Evers said.

Gov. Evers Takes First Step on Long Road

But all of that is something Evers plans on tackling farther down the road. For now, the immediate objective is to legalized medical cannabis. And that will likely mean inclusion in Evers’ budget plan. There are however, different views on how committed the governor actually is to a budget proposal for legal medical cannabis. The governor’s budget proposal initiates debate in the legislature, where medical legalization is likely to face opposition. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a Republican, has a record of opposing medical cannabis.

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Governor of New York Presents Plan to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York presented his plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state on Tuesday. The governor outlined highlights of his proposal in a written message that was distributed to lawmakers as part of his State of the State address.

Under Cuomo’s plan, a state Office of Cannabis Management would be created to regulate the recreational cannabis industry. The new agency would also be tasked with developing a plan to review and seal past convictions for marijuana offenses.

Cuomo’s plan would include licenses for cannabis cultivators, distributors, and retailers. Marijuana cultivators would not be allowed to own retail dispensaries. A twenty percent state tax and 2 percent local tax would be imposed on transactions from wholesalers to retailers and cultivators would be assessed taxes on a per-gram basis. The governor said that the tax rates of neighboring states were a factor in determining the rates for New York.

“The how is something that we’re talking about right now,” Cuomo said. “I think you have to look at New Jersey and you have to look at Massachusetts. They are natural competitors in the marketplace.”

State taxes in Massachusetts on recreational pot total 17 percent and local governments can add up to 3 percent more. New Jersey has not yet legalized recreational marijuana but is also developing a plan to do so.

Big Money in Pot Taxes

Cuomo said that projections show that up to $300 million dollars a year could be raised from taxes on legal cannabis. The legalization plan is part of the state budget, which earmarks those funds for regulatory costs, substance abuse prevention programs, a small business development plan, and traffic safety measures. The final budget is expected to be approved by the legislature before the start of the new fiscal year on April 1, giving a potential timeline for legislative action. Democratic lawmakers, who largely support cannabis legalization, now control both the state Senate and Assembly.

Sales of recreational marijuana would only be permitted to adults age 21 and over. Counties and cities would be permitted to prohibit pot sales within their jurisdictions.

Just two years ago, Cuomo referred to cannabis as a gateway drug but then changed his position during a primary challenge to his reelection in 2018. Cuomo was reelected in November and last month said he would make legalizing cannabis a priority of his new term. Since then, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for the state’s legalization plan to create an industry based on small businesses.

Kevin Sabet, the president of the anti-pot group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said that legalizing cannabis does not generate the tax dollars anticipated and vowed that his group would oppose Cuomo’s plan.

“No matter how many states try, pot does not bring the promised ‘windfall’ of revenue,” said Sabet. “This fight is far from over. We will be making our voices heard.”

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Amir K. Went All-In on His Dreams and is Now One of L.A.’s Adored Comedians

A black snap-back hat and a black hooded sweatshirt are part of Amir K’s signature style and current wardrobe as he welcomes me into his home office. Outfitted with acoustic foam and haphazard recording equipment, he’s appropriately named the space “placebo studios.” The outside rain makes it surprisingly cozy.  [Laughs] “We got a candle, we got some ambiance.” We waste no time getting settled. With nightly spots at the local clubs and headlining road gigs almost every weekend, Amir is a tough guy to pin down. Fortunately, we were able to kick back, have a chat, and hit a vape with him while pondering the depths of risk taking, making pipes out Legos, and pursuing your dreams.

One thing a lot of people struggle with is listening to their own true calling. What helped you listen to your inner compass, leave the security of a nine-to-five, and feel confident pursuing a career in comedy?

I think comedy was always there, man. My goal was to always have a career in comedy, I just didn’t know how I was going to get there.

You saw stand-up as an option for a career but never took it seriously.

When I was younger I was always the class clown, but the idea of being a comedian was pushed so far out of my mind because I was raised by immigrant parents. Their expectation, of course, was that I’d become a doctor or a lawyer.

But it’s not just immigrants. A lot of people can relate to thinking a career in the arts isn’t an option, isn’t for them, despite having aspirations to pursue one.

When you’re young, it’s such a far away dream. You don’t think it’s for you. You think other people do that. That’s sort of the mentality when you’re a kid. Coupled with parents who moved here from another country, it was just a far away thought early on. But it’s just bullshit you say to yourself growing up. I would lie to myself going to school saying “I gotta do this for my parents,” but knowing what I know now, there’s no other option. You only get one life. Why waste it unhappy, trying to appease your parents?

What helped you overcome your fear of going against what your parents wanted for you?

It was more the fear of failing. I did a couple open mics when I was 18-years-old and after I put my foot in and tested the water, I realized how awesome a career in stand-up could be. But to take the leap of going all-in was so scary. Because it’s like, “what if I’m not good enough?” and then “now what?” If I go all the way in and I’m not good enough at this, now what?

So it was knowing the alternative was something you didn’t want to do, which helped push you forward.

When the market tanked in 2007, it was a blessing in disguise for me. It pushed me to go all-in on stand-up. It was my “now or never” moment. I could try and re-up my real estate business, or I could say “fuck it,” move up to LA and go all-in. So that’s what I did in 2008. I left everything behind and moved to LA.

It’s one little thing you think sucks at the time, but it makes you go. I’m so glad I had that experience. I was 27. And you could always say “I wish I started when I was younger” but everybody has their own way. The good thing was, I came into comedy with a bunch of stuff to pull from and a bunch of life experience to talk about. So I wasn’t just an 18-year-old kid talking about jacking off.

Let’s talk about your creative process.

Usually, I’ll have a seed of an idea or character, then I’ll work with it on stage and see what comes out. And then find the beats and refine it from there. I should be a little bit more meticulous about writing my jokes down, but a lot of times I’ll just have them in my head. And when that blends with some riff and it lands, it’s dope. Ultimately, it comes down to owning your point of view and delivering it in a confident manner. When I’m all the way in my bag, it’s stream of consciousness.

When did you first smoke weed?

Weed’s been a part of my life for a minute. The first time I got high was with my cousin Ben. We weren’t related by blood, but when you’re Iranian, close friends are considered family. We would skate together all the time and one day he brought some weed. I was in fifth or sixth grade and he was a few years older. We smoked out of a pipe made of Legos. We were young and dumb. We put a tinfoil screen on the end and poked holes in it. A mixture of dirt weed, melting plastic and aluminum foil, what could be better?

I’m sure the makers of legos and your parents never thought that’s what Legos would be used for.

[Laughs] For sure. They say necessity is the mother of invention. We needed a pipe, and at that time, Legos were what we had.

What city outside Los Angeles has great pot?

Everyone thinks they have the best herb, but from my experience, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Denver, those places are good.

Do you have a favorite strain?

I tend to like sativas or sativa-dominant hybrids. I don’t stick to any one strain in particular. Anything that stimulates my brain and keeps me active, I like.

What role does cannabis play in your life today?

I smoke on a pretty regular basis. It helps me deal with anxiety and focus on the creative. I think there’s always been a cool crossover between cannabis and stand-up comedy culture. I love having friends in both industries. Like last night, I’m in the greenroom at the Comedy Store and my homies at ABX – AbsoluteXtracts – came through and laced everybody up. For the most part, we all share the same good vibe.

You can be in any city and an audience member’s going to come out with a joint after the show and ask if you want to smoke. I love that.

Follow @amircomedy and check out his site for tickets and tour dates.

The post Amir K. Went All-In on His Dreams and is Now One of L.A.’s Adored Comedians appeared first on High Times.

Oklahoma Students May Now Use Medical Marijuana in Schools, But School Staff May Not

One Oklahoma public school district is taking steps to ensure students can access medical cannabis treatments while at school. On Monday, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education voted to approve a policy protecting students, staff and caregivers who have a medical cannabis license. The Board’s action marks progress on an issue that has prompted ongoing controversy and debate since Oklahoma voters legalized medical cannabis last June.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Approve Medical Cannabis Policy for Students

Last June, Oklahoma voters roundly rejected the state government’s prohibition-oriented policy by approving State Question 788 to broadly legalize medical cannabis. Immediately after the referendum passed, however, state lawmakers and officials began pushing back with measures aimed at restricting the program. Public opposition to those efforts eventually forced then-Gov. Mary Fallin to back down. But just as those restrictions fell, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma announced policies banning access to medical cannabis on campus.

The state’s two biggest public universities banning medical cannabis prompted intense public debate about whether schools should accommodate medical cannabis patients and if so, how. The question has been a vexed one nationwide, with school districts adopting a variety of policies to both shield students from potential risk or distraction while also ensuring all students have access to needed medication.

The policy adopted by the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education on Monday takes its own approach to the common issue. In the first place, it shields any public school employee from adverse action should they hold a medical cannabis license. In other words, you won’t lose your job or the chance at a promotion because you consume cannabis for medical reasons. But teachers, administrators and all other staff cannot possess or consume medical cannabis at school or during school hours, regardless of whether or not they hold a license.

Students, on the other hand, can use medical cannabis while attending Oklahoma City public schools. At all times, they must follow Oklahoma state law. And furthermore, caregivers must be present to administer any medical cannabis treatments. This means students cannot bring medicine to school with them or take it themselves. Instead, their caregiver must arrive to school with the medicine, immediately administer it, and promptly remove any cannabis from the premises.

Oklahoma City Could Provide a Model for Other Cities Looking to Allow Medical Cannabis at School

Oklahoma Public Schools is implementing its new medical cannabis policy immediately. And that’s good news for the more than 30,000 medical cannabis patients with licenses from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. Not all of them will work or study at an Oklahoma City public school, of course. But the board’s common sense approach to allowing medical cannabis access could serve as a model for other school districts hoping to adopt similar policies.

Importantly, Oklahoma City is showing other school administrators that concerns about losing federal funding are not valid reasons to prevent students from accessing legal medicine. Indeed, concerns that federal regulators would withhold federal education funding from schools that adopt cannabis policies are often the primary reason school administrators ban medical cannabis. But Oklahoma City’s new school policy found a smart way around this concern. The policy states that if the federal government actually declares that funds for Oklahoma City schools are in jeopardy, the board will suspend the policy immediately.

So far, the federal government has not restricted or denied funding for any school over medical cannabis policies.

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