The Crimes of Reefer Madness

The post The Crimes of Reefer Madness appeared first on High Times.

Convincing the country that cannabis posed such a danger to society that only prohibition could save it was never going to be easy. Remember that, in the years before the peak reefer-madness era of the 1930s, marijuana was generally considered a benign, medically efficacious substance that was widely available in American pharmacies. However, the nation’s nascent drug warriors in the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics, led by an enterprising propagandist named Harry Anslinger, were able to co-opt a number of sensational crimes and disingenuously tie them to cannabis. With the help of marijuana “experts” like Dr. James C. Munch, the FBN succeeded in creating an anti-cannabis campaign that left an indelible mark on the American psyche, ultimately resulting in pot’s prohibition. In reality, the crimes used in furtherance of Anslinger’s crusade often had little or nothing whatsoever to do with cannabis. These are the true crimes of reefer madness.

“After two puffs on a marijuana cigarette, I was turned into a bat.”

Such was the testimony of Dr. James C. Munch, a marijuana “expert” who was called as a witness in two murder trials in 1938. Munch was a Temple University pharmacologist who’d ingratiated himself with Harry J. Anslinger and became his unconscionable henchman at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics—the predecessor of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Munch had experimented with the reefer on himself, and he explained its allegedly psychosis-inducing effects at the trials of Ethel “Bunny” Sohl and Arthur Friedman. Both were on trial for murder, and both attempted to blame the devil’s weed for their deeds.

“After the first cigarette, I felt as if I had wings,” Munch said of his experience. “I seemed to have great blue wings and I was flying around the world.”

Munch went on to enjoy a successful career fighting the War on Drugs as an expert pharmacologist working for several government agencies. He held various positions at hospitals in Philadelphia and served as the director of pharmacology research at Temple for more than two decades—an impressive résumé that gave him an air of credibility regarding what he painted as a little-understood and frightening narcotic. Munch’s status as a well-respected doctor and scholar aided him in convincing many that marijuana could drive otherwise law-abiding citizens to commit murder. His work greatly assisted Anslinger in demonizing and ultimately prohibiting cannabis in the 1930s.

“Literature surveys and personal contacts have clearly demonstrated the association between the use of marihuana and the commission of various crimes,” wrote Munch in a 1966 paper for the Bulletin on Narcotics, a publication of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

To illustrate his point, Munch included nearly 70 “authenticated case reports” of crimes committed by those who’d smoked cannabis. (Anslinger, who helmed the FBN for more than 30 years, made a habit of collecting salacious stories to illustrate the evils of pot.) “This objective evidence supports published statements of the association between the use of marihuana and various types of crime,” Munch asserted.

The Crimes of Reefer Madness

Marijuana “expert” James C. Munch recorded “cannabis crimes.”

The “Objective” Evidence

The types of crimes that Munch attributed to cannabis use included murder, rape and robbery. Even bigamy fell under his umbrella of pot-induced mayhem: Munch wrote of an unidentified defendant in 1938 that “fter smoking 2 marihuana cigarettes, married waitress, although already married and with 3-year-old child. Everything went blank, and he had no control.”

But perhaps the most notorious of Munch’s tales was one from Tampa, Florida, in 1933. Munch claimed that a man named Victor Licata “urdered his father, mother, sister and two brothers with an ax, while under influence of marihuana. Didn’t know of all this until next morning.”

The story of Victor Licata was widely used to promote the theory of a link between cannabis and violent crime. As previously reported in High Times (April ’13), the 20-year-old Florida man became instrumental in Anslinger’s budding War on Drugs. Licata’s act of murdering his family with an ax was certainly horrific, and thus the perfect case for Anslinger to capitalize on. He insisted that Licata had been smoking pot and was greatly aided by a press eager to play up the killer’s marijuana “addiction.”

There was, of course, no evidence that Licata was driven insane by marijuana. However, the troubled young man was diagnosed with “dementia praecox,” an early psychiatric term for schizophrenia. His family’s well-documented history of mental illness was eventually made known to the public, but not until after Anslinger had gotten what he wanted out of the story that he and Munch created.

A Terrible Crime

“Smoked 2 marihuana cigarettes, then raped his 7-year old daughter… Outcome: Death in gas,” Munch wrote about the case of Oscar Ralph Ashworth in 1938. Despite including the Ashworth crime in his “authenticated” case file, Munch seems to have gotten most of the basic facts wrong.

Ashworth pleaded guilty to kidnapping a 7-year-old girl in Missouri and was sentenced to be executed in the gas chamber. However, Munch’s accusation of marijuana consumption appears to be completely unfounded: There is no evidence that Ashworth ever smoked pot. Also, the girl wasn’t his daughter, and even though Ashworth confessed to committing some kind of assault on her, he was never charged with rape, as Munch asserts—nor did he die in the gas chamber.

Much of the coverage of this case concerned the efforts by Ashworth’s attorneys to intervene in his execution and save his life. But that didn’t stop less scrupulous reports from being published and subsequently used as anti-pot propaganda. According to Courtney Ryley Cooper’s 1939 book Designs in Scarlet: “A newspaper made the statement that was a marihuana fiend and that he had committed his crime while under the influence of the drug. Federal sources reported that as far as could be learned, the whole story originated in the mind of a cub reporter who asked the sex-murderer after he had been sentenced: ‘Why didn’t you tell the court that you smoked marihuana cigarettes?’”

However, Ashworth was no “sex-murderer”: He had previously served time for stealing a hog and for raping a young girl, and he received a death sentence for kidnapping another young girl a year or two after his release from prison on the rape charge. But Cooper himself was no stranger to reefer-madness rantings, having helped Anslinger write the propaganda book Marijuana, Assassin of Youth in 1937.  However, if his account is correct, the Feds continued for years to use Ashworth’s case as an example of marijuana-fueled depravity, despite knowing that cannabis wasn’t a factor in it at all.

Even decades later, Ashworth’s story was invoked by those who wanted to prop up prohibition. The case was reportedly dredged up by the now-defunct International Narcotic Enforcement Officers’ Association to illustrate the dangers of cannabis during a 1965 conference—27 years after the alleged “marihuana fiend” was supposedly spurred by the drug to commit his crime. The following year, Munch also cited Ashworth’s case as representative of the “various crimes committed by individuals after use and while under the influence of marihuana (usually smoked).”

“Killer Confesses in Trunk Murder!”

So blasted the headlines in August of 1937, the same month that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Marihuana Tax Act into law, effectively prohibiting the cannabis trade.

The murder of Oliver George Sinecal by a man named Joseph Ogden came to be known as the “trunk murder.” Ogden had shot Sinecal and stuffed his body into a trunk with the intention of shipping it to Memphis, Tennessee. After lugging it to the Railway Express Agency, Ogden told the clerk that the unusually heavy piece of luggage contained silverware and hurried away. The clerk, moving the trunk on the platform, saw that it left a trail of blood. He promptly notified the authorities.

The story of Joseph Ogden also came to be included in Munch’s case file of violent crimes allegedly linked to cannabis. “While both smoking marihuana cigarettes, shot and killed room-mate G. Sinecal, who wanted to borrow 20 to buy heroin,” Munch wrote. “Put body in trunk, to get rid of it. Arrested that night, had 20 marihuana cigarettes; had been selling in Miami restaurant before crime. Previous criminal record.” According to Munch, Ogden even stated: “I was fearless after smoking marihuana cigarettes but would not have done this without marihuana.”

But as in the case of Oscar Ralph Ashworth, the details about marijuana cigarettes appear to be entirely fabricated.

The story of Ogden’s crime was featured in the Foreign Policy Bulletin, a publication of the nonprofit Foreign Policy Association. The organization, well regarded by wonks of the era, even drew praise from the president: “The is performing a high duty in facilitating the lucid presentation of the facts of world problems and their impact upon the United States,” Roosevelt once wrote.

Among these “facts” was a list of 10 cases “culled at random from the files of the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics” and used to illustrate marijuana’s direct role in violent crime. The list included Ogden and his supposed confession to the trunk murder after smoking marijuana. However, a well-respected psychiatrist at New York’s Bellevue Hospital found no evidence to support the claim.

Ogden “was examined in this clinic,” wrote Walter Bromberg in the Journal of the American Medical Association two years after the crime. “There was no indication in the examination or history of the use of any drug.” According to Bromberg, “The investigation by the probation department failed to indicate use of the drug marihuana.”

Bromberg went on to look for evidence of the link between marijuana use and violent crime that drug warriors like Anslinger insisted on, only to come up empty-handed. His clinic saw some 17,000 criminals over the course of more than six years and found several hundred who had “direct experience with marihuana.” In those individuals, Bromberg noted “the absence of true addiction and the negative connection with major crime… Especially is this noteworthy among sexual offenders and in cases of assault or murder.”

The psychiatrist also delved into court records. In sampling the cases of 1,500 drug offenders, Bromberg found only 135 cannabis consumers. Of those, the majority (about 70 percent) had no previous criminal record. About 20 percent had been charged with other crimes, while others had only drug charges on their records. “Among those with longer records… none showed progression from the use of drugs to other crimes,” he wrote.

Bromberg had hit on an insight that most Americans have slowly come to accept: the relative lack of harm associated with cannabis and the absurdity of its prohibition. “The earlier use of marihuana apparently did not predispose to crime,” he wrote, “even that of using other drugs.”

Bromberg then issued a prescient warning: “The extravagant claims… that crime is caused by addiction to marihuana demands careful scrutiny.”

The Crimes of Reefer Madness

A newspaper clipping depicts Ethel Sohl before and after the “Devil’s Weed.”

Unintended Consequences

In his own eagerness to make the case for marijuana and madness, Munch testified at the trial of Ethel Sohl that her reefer smoking led her to “form the intent” of holding up and murdering a bus driver. Sohl herself testified that the marijuana cigarettes “made wrong things seem right.”

Ironically, it fell to the prosecutor in the case to argue that marijuana had nothing to do with the crime: “If you men open the door to a fantastic defense of this kind, it will be all right for anyone to commit a murder if only he first smokes marijuana.”

Indeed, cannabis was a looming factor in the case and emphasized by the media: “Mrs. Sohl Constantly Smoked Marijuana, Murder Jury Hears,” read one headline. Sohl’s defense attorney argued that pot use had diminished her capacity to tell right from wrong. “Although counsel said that his defense was not insanity, it amounted substantially to that,” observed the judge.

Instead of being sentenced to death, Ethel Sohl got life in prison. Munch’s reefer-madness testimony was having the unintended effect of resulting in lesser sentences for these alleged marijuana-crazed killers.

Harry Anslinger put a stop to this, threatening Munch with the loss of his position at the FBN. As a result, Munch stopped testifying and went on to have a long career advising the federal government on the dangers of reefer.

The Racism of Reefer Madness

By now, the racist underpinnings of Anslinger’s War on Drugs have been well documented. He warned that Mexicans and African-Americans were more disposed to use the drug, which allegedly made them lust after white women. He waged a cruel campaign against Billie Holiday when he learned that the rising black star was addicted to heroin, which included planting drugs on the singer and imprisoning her. (The damning details of Anslinger’s crusade against Holiday are well told in Johann Hari’s book Chasing the Scream.) But when he found out that the white actress Judy Garland was similarly addicted, Anslinger called her into his office for a friendly chat and advised her to take longer vacations.

In the hospital where Billie Holiday passed away, narcotics agents handcuffed her to the bed, interrogated her and threatened to take her back to prison. She died, in 1959, before they could do so. Ten years later, Garland was found dead from a barbiturate overdose in her home.

As one digs deeper into newspaper archives, the reefer-madness headlines take on an increasingly racist tone. “Mexicans Grow Weed and School Students Smoke It, Police Chief Says,” reads one particularly illustrative headline from 1928. Prejudice against brown people? Check. Concern for children? Check. Overreliance on law-enforcement sources? Check. Nearly 90 years later, these themes remain.

Current media consumers will likely be unsurprised by the era’s coverage of “crazed” Mexicans raping and murdering. Take the case of Escrado Valle: “KILLS SIX IN A HOSPITAL. Mexican, Crazed by Marihuana, Runs Amuck With Butcher Knife,” reads a 1925 item from The New York Times. Valle, allegedly driven mad from smoking marijuana, stabbed two workers in the hospital kitchen before running into the ward and killing four patients. “Police say that after he was taken to the jail and quieted he denied all knowledge of the affray,” the Times story continued.

Cases like Valle’s were perfect for the narrative that Anslinger and his men promoted. And, indeed, this case became one of many used as racist anti-pot propaganda when Anslinger came to power.

Academic texts on the beginnings of prohibition in the United States often attribute such lurid coverage to anti-Mexican racism. But this type of coverage was common in Mexico as well. Before reefer madness became a staple of American news, the Mexican press was filled with sensational stories of marijuana-induced insanity, of “addicts” going on murderous rampages.

Between 1854 and 1920, the large majority of references to marijuana in the Mexican press included stories of violence and madness attributed to the use of pot, according to an analysis by historian Isaac Campos. This was partly due to marijuana being associated and confused with other plants (such as peyote, mushrooms and datura) used by Indian shamans. But another key factor in the way the Mexican press portrayed the drug was classism—a close cousin of institutional racism in the United States.

From the beginnings of recreational cannabis use in Mexico, it was “associated with prisons and soldiers’ barracks. That was definitely a class issue,” Campos said. Thanks to its links with criminal types, cannabis “developed a reputation for producing violence.” It wasn’t a far leap in a country where alcohol-fueled violence was rampant. This was a drug consumed by prisoners, soldiers (who were typically marginalized and conscripted) and Mexican Indians (who were viewed by elites as primitive and uncivilized).

“Mexican ideas spread to the US and helped reinforce ideas in the US that marijuana could cause madness and maybe even violence,” Campos explained. “Mexican elites in 1920 had very similar ideas about vice and intoxication as their peers in the US.” Both were “anti-alcohol, anti-vice and very puritanical in their views.”

As Campos writes in his book Home Grown, “the result was a powerful, international prohibitionist alliance between Mexico and the United States. We are still living with the consequences.”

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Pot Prices: October 2017 THMQ

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Market Analysis: Nationwide pot prices on average are slightly lower as THMQ enters the final quarter of 2017. The US Price Index fell below its previous month’s average due to declining prices in the West, where legal cannabis dominates the market. Pre-fall harvest prices in the East were up $3 per ounce from their previous average, while the South held steady at $370 an ounce.

Current US Price Index: $329 (last month: $331, Year-to-Date: $332)
Current Eastern Price Index: $353 (last month: $350, YTD: $354)
Current Southern Price Index: $370 (last month: $370, YTD: $363)
Current Western Price Index: $261 (last month: $256, YTD: $264)

The top five strains (with average price) were: Kush ($335), Cookies ($282), Diesel ($325), Gorilla Glue ($280) and Tangie ($323).

Pot Prices: October 2017 THMQ


(Gorilla Glue #4) “So sticky and stinky. I can’t get enough of this strain.” —New York, NY
(Super Silver Haze) “Not the easiest strain to grow, but well worth the wait.” —Toronto, Canada
(Sour Diesel) “You can’t beat the smell and taste of this classic strain.” —Hoboken, NJ
(Tangie) “The best way to chill after a long day. Tangie gets my head right.” —Salt Lake City, UT

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5 Strains to Celebrate National Coffee Day

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On National Coffee Day, strains that double as a pick me up can help you celebrate. If you weren’t already aware caffeine makes cannabis more enjoyable. Wake and bake with a high-energy sativa strain as you wait for your morning coffee. Start the coffee maker, pack a bowl and get roasted with your coffee. To celebrate everyone’s favorite legal stimulant, check out High Time’s official National Coffee Day strains.


Chocolope is one of the best National Coffee Day strains because it has a coffee-like flavor when smoked. Not to mention, it’s a sativa that will work with, instead of fighting against, the energetic buzz you get from coffee. It’s a great strain for starting your day with or without the coffee on the side. You’ll be euphoric, relieved of stress and ready to take on the day.

Girl Scout Cookies

Who doesn’t enjoy a cookie or biscuit with their morning coffee? The Girl Scout Cookies strain will make you hungry rather than full. GSC is a hybrid strain which is great for coffee. Hybrids provide energy, productivity and calming effects to balance out a caffeine buzz.

Sour Tsunami

Want the energy of a sativa without getting stoned from too much THC?

You can still consume coffee and a strain that won’t add much to the buzz. If anything, a CBD strain like Sour Tsunami will ease your pain and balance you out without getting you high AF. Sour Tsunami is a sativa-dominant hybrid that will make your body feel great. On top of that, you’ll enjoy a head high that is mildly energetic but never overwhelming. The coffee will give you any additional boost that you might need for the day.

Green Crack

Didn’t get much sleep last night? Coffee alone might not do the trick. You’ll want to go for National Coffee Day strains that are high in energy. If you really want a boost to your buzz, give Green Crack a shot. The name comes from the fact that you’ll have the energy of a crackhead after smoking it. Fortunately, it won’t come with all of the life-ruining qualities.

Caramel Kona Coffee Kush

The most fitting National Coffee Day strain is Caramel Kona Coffee Kush. It is an indica-dominant strain. So it’s a good one to balance you out if the caffeine is doing too much. It’s still 30 percent sativa, so you can be creative without falling right asleep. Just don’t smoke too much of it or you might end up locked to the couch. This strain is perfect for pairing with coffee because each pull gives off the taste of sweet caramel and spicy coffee.

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Miley Cyrus Discusses Being High During Concerts

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During an appearance on radio station Apple Music Beats 1 to promote her new album Younger Now, Miley Cyrus recounted her not-so-quite halcyon days during the tour for her 2013 album Bangerz—and how high she was for its entire run.

Cyrus relayed to presenter Zane Lowe how her cannabis consumption contributed creatively to both the tracks on Bangerz and the aesthetics of her performances during that time. The most notable incarnation of this? The giant hot dog Cyrus rode on top of, swinging above her fans, for each concert stop on her Bangerz tour

As she relayed to Lowe, Cyrus likened her life of celebrity to that of the character Truman Burbank, the titular character from The Truman Show, a satirical sci-fi flick in which the main character slowly becomes aware that his entire life is being filmed and watched by TV viewers.

“I was thinking about The Truman Show, thinking about how my life was like The Truman Show…(then I thought) ‘I’m gonna ride a giant hot dog over 20,000 people.’”

Extrapolating on her pot use during the tour, Cyrus added, “It was very scary actually, being very high and high on the hot dog. It was terrifying.”

Final Hit: Miley Cyrus Reminisces on Her Stoner Days

Now, however, Cyrus is approaching the release of her new album—and her new tour—without the artistic influence of marijuana.

“Yes, I’m six months sober this week which is not very fun,” the former Disney star joked.

This isn’t the first time that Miley has discussed her recently-found sobriety—or rather, her drug-hazed days of yesteryear. In another interview with Jimmy Fallon, she chided the late-night host about being stoned as a guest on The Tonight Show during her previous appearances.

“I’ve always been very stoned on your shows,” she said, indicating that this time, at least, she wasn’t.

The singer then went on to explain exactly why she had decided to give up her cannabis consumption almost half a year ago.

“I stopped smoking because to sit here and talk about what I’m doing, I wanted to be clear,” she said at the time. “Because I’m actually the most passionate about what I’m doing with this record than I’ve been—I say this every time, but I loved making this record so, so much. and this record for me at this moment is the most important album that I’ve ever made.”

As a funny aside, it was on one of these prior appearances—where, for all intents and purposes, Cyrus was probably baked AF—that she proceeded to incorrectly answer which states had legalized pot during a trivia game with Fallon.

Miley Cyrus’ latest album Younger Now will be available for purchase and download on Friday.

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What Are SunRocks?

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You’ve probably heard of MoonRocks, but what are SunRocks? The concept is similar to MoonRocks, which are nugs completely coated in oil and rolled in kief. They look like a green version of powdered donut holes or munchkins. However, SunRocks look different and rumor has it they will get you even higher.

MoonRocks vs. SunRocks

As long as buds, kief and oil are involved, you got yourself a MoonRock. Any combination of those three will get you a MoonRock. It doesn’t matter if two different strains or consistencies of wax are used.

SunRocks take things a step further than the moon.

At Big Tray Deee’s SunRocks, only top-shelf OG nugs and extracts are used in the process. A nug run extract is drizzled onto the nugs before a kief coating is introduced. The final product still looks like a nug from the distance. Once you touch it or look up close, you’ll notice the oil coating.

With MoonRocks, you might be getting a crappy nug, hidden under bad wax and coated in the cheapest kief money can buy. The problem with that is you probably wouldn’t know it until you buy it. You’ll have to split one open and smoke it before you realize your money could have been better spent.

It’s easier to tell you’re getting quality before you even smoke with SunRocks. At first glance, every nug should be sparkling.

What are SunRocks potency like compared to MoonRocks? Apparently, the best MoonRocks test at around 60 percent THC. That’s around the same percentage as weaker SunRocks. Big Tray Deee’s claims that their SunRocks test at over 80 percent THC.

How To Smoke A SunRock

Unless you want your grinder consuming a bunch of the kief and oil, your nug is covered with you’ll have to find a safer way to break up your SunRocks. We recommend using scissors to gently cut it into smaller pieces. You can then smoke it out of a pipe, bong or even a blunt wrap. Whatever your preference is, SunRocks are a step above MoonRocks in potency, so treat them that way.

You can probably sprinkle pieces of SunRocks into a blunt full of regular weed and still enhance your experience. MoonRocks were made for people looking for a way to get higher than smoking flowers alone. SunRocks are made for those that want to get higher than they would with MoonRocks, but maybe not as much as doing a fat dab. If you’re an inexperienced cannabis consumer, we recommend taking caution. Snoop Dogg told the Breakfast Club that MoonRocks were too much for him so we can’t imagine what SunRocks would do.

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Colorado’s Ban on Weed Gummy Bears Goes Into Effect This Weekend

The post Colorado’s Ban on Weed Gummy Bears Goes Into Effect This Weekend appeared first on High Times.

Remember how we told you all that Colorado was banning weed gummy bears? Well, that new piece of cannabis legislation goes into effect this weekend. If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, or if you thought all of this talk about banning weed-infused candy was just rumor and hoax, we are about to fill you in.

The Great Gummy Glum-Fest

Last summer, we reported that the great state of Colorado was implementing new measures regarding legal recreational cannabis. It wasn’t a new limitation on how many ounces of flower you could purchase at a time. It wasn’t an all-out elimination of the right to grow your own plants. No, what Colorado governor John Hickenlooper was gunning for was gummies.

House Bill 1436, signed into effect in June 2016, focused on THC-infused gummy candy. Specifically, it was aimed toward THC-infused gummies that looked like regular, wholesome HFCS-infused gummies. Basically, according to the bill, Governor Hickenlooper and concerned parents in the state, weed gummy candy that could potentially attract children is no bueno.

To play Devil’s Advocate, this bill is not totally baseless.

Because kids are, well, kids, they tend to be attracted to brightly colored and whimsically shaped candy. This presents a unique problem in states, like Colorado, with legal recreational cannabis. In short, kids are accidentally eating weed-infused candy and landing themselves in the emergency room because of it.

House Bill 1436 aims to combat this disturbing and dangerous trend. By banning the production and distribution of weed-infused gummies in the shape of humans, animals and fruit, the backers of the bill hope to protect children in their state.

There are some loopholes, however.

The Colorado Department of Revenue will continue to allow cannabis gummies that are made in geometric shapes, like stars and triangles. They will also allow the gummies to have a fruity flavor, as long as they don’t actually depict a fruit. Star-shaped, strawberry-flavored gummies infused with Strawberry Cough, anyone?

Final Hit: Colorado Bans Weed Gummy Bears

House Bill 1436 will take effect this weekend, on October 1st. When it’s completely official, dispensaries will no longer be able to legally sell your favorite creature-shaped candy.

So what are you supposed to do?

If you live in Colorado, we recommend that you stock up now. Call up your dispensary and see if they’re having a “going out of business” sale on soon-to-be illicit treats. Just think of it like all the times you’ve headed over to CVS to buy an obscene amount of half-off candy the day after Halloween. And Valentine’s Day. And Easter.

If you live in Colorado and have a kid or three, we want to stress that this ban does not in any way take the place of your responsibilities as a parent. If you’re a pot-lovin’ parent (nothing wrong with that!), the onus is on you to keep your kids safe and away from your stash. Lock up your gummies and other candy in child-proof containers and keep them safely out of reach. You know, like you would do with laundry detergent pods, which kids are also strangely attracted to. In California, a similar ban on weed-infused gummy bears is also underway. We’ll keep you updated on that one.

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Psychedelicatessen: Jamaican Jerk Chicken

The post Psychedelicatessen: Jamaican Jerk Chicken appeared first on High Times.

You’re definitely going to get invited to a lot more parties if you show up with a platter of herb-boosted jerk chicken. Is there any dish at all better for an outdoor summer gathering? I think not. The smell of spicy jerk chicken grilling away stokes the appetite like no other (even if you don’t eat meat!).

I make sure to buy chicken that was raised in humane and healthy conditions so I can feel good about what I am giving my guests to put into their bodies. You can also grill up some jerk vegetables or serve plain vegetables with the extra barbecue sauce for your vegetarian friends.

Grilled Jerk Chicken with Tamarind Barbecue Sauce 

Serves four (5 mg THC per serving), with leftover barbecue sauce.

Jerk Chicken Ingredients:
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 tbsp. canna oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. jerk seasoning
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
4 organic chicken drumsticks

Tamarind Barbecue Sauce Ingredients:
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 medium red onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup tomato paste
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes (with juices)
3 tbsp. tamarind concentrate
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. molasses
2 tbsp. dark-brown sugar
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, roughly chopped


  1. Marinate the chicken: Whisk the oil, canna oil, garlic, salt and jerk seasoning together in a large bowl. Add the chicken thighs and drumsticks and turn to coat evenly with the mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least eight hours or overnight.
  2. Make the tamarind barbecue sauce: Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown, two to three minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the garlic, ginger, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper, then cook, stirring, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until the paste darkens, about two minutes, then deglaze the pan with ½ cup of water, stirring and scraping any browned bits up from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tamarind concentrate, mustard, honey, molasses and brown sugar. Add the Scotch bonnet pepper and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
  3. Transfer the barbecue sauce to a blender. Carefully pulse once or twice to let off some steam, then blend until smooth. Return to the saucepan and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces a little and thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Pour 1 cup of barbecue sauce into a small bowl (refrigerate the rest of the barbecue sauce for up to two weeks, or freeze 1-cup portions in resealable freezer bags for up to six months).
  4. Make a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium. Grease the grill’s grates using grilling tongs and a paper towel dipped in oil. Set the chicken on the grill, skin-side down, and cook until lightly charred on both sides, 12 to 16 minutes total. Brush the chicken on both sides with the sauce and continue to cook, turning and basting often, until the chicken is cooked through or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 160°F, about eight minutes longer. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Note: Since the chicken probably won’t absorb all of the THC from the canna oil in the marinade, I use 1 tablespoon of the oil for four servings instead of 2 teaspoons. If you like, add some canna oil to the leftover barbecue sauce (2 teaspoons for four servings) and serve it alongside the chicken for dipping.

Reprinted from Cooking With Herb by arrangement with Pam Krauss Books/Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Cedella Marley.


Cooking With Herb presents cannabis cuisine with authentic Jamaican flair, including classic dishes like this jerk-chicken recipe, as well as spicy patties, salt fish, mango salads and other fresh, healthy fare enjoyed by the Marley family. Helpful instructions make it easy to dose your dishes with THC, so all you have to do is sit back and get irie!

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An Inside Look at the ‘Weed Gift’ Loophole in D.C.

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In 2014, weed was legalized recreationally in Washington, D.C., but retail sales are not yet allowed. In the meantime, DC cannabis consumers have turned to a loophole in the law to get their weed arrest-free. Many dealers are taking advantage of the weed gift loophole to make as much money as possible before retail shops open up.

The Weed Gift Loophole

Unlike other places that legalized recreational marijuana, the District of Columbia decided to make the buying and selling of the substance illegal. That’s when the unique Washington, D.C. trading system was born. Many dealers are now legally operating out of storefronts or on websites, like Craigslist, because of the weed gift loophole.

Right now people in DC are allowed to possess weed, but they have no place to legally acquire it. Fortunately, they got creative and made their own “gifting” system.

The only way to transfer weed from one person’s possession to another is by gifting it. It must be made clear with every transaction to avoid any legal repercussions. They usually have some other overpriced item that they’re “selling” and the weed is just an unrelated gift as far as the police are concerned.

You can’t take “donations” for weed.

Nicholas “Kush God” Cunningham had to learn that lesson the hard way late in 2015. He had cards covered in pot leaf decals that he would hand out edibles in exchange for cash donations. If you like your freedom, you’re going to need to be a lot more discreet than that.

Lt. Andrew Struhar of the Narcotics and Special Operations division of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department told Business Insider, “In our estimation, that’s still illegal.”

He also admits that cops are no longer on the hunt for weed, but if you’re flaunting it, they’ll be forced to take action.

For now, weed in DC remains in the grey area.

“I don’t think it’s sustainable,” said city council chairman Phil Mendelson. “We have legal marijuana, but we can’t regulate it. It’s stupid, it’s just stupid.”

How Did This Happen?

So why aren’t retail sales going on in Washington, D.C.?

It’s because it isn’t a state. As a result, the District has a strained relationship with the federal government. All District laws can be vetoed or altered by a congressional committee. In fact, the District has been denied the right to legally sell retail pot.

After the initiative passed, Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican from nearby Maryland, made a change that prevents the District’s government from spending any money on developing a regulatory or taxation system for marijuana sales. He said, “the District of Columbia made a bad decision. I would hope the District comes to its senses and realizes the dangers.” If the district had the rights of a state, the legal retail system would be established.

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Wiz Khalifa Causes Uproar Over Pretend Joint at Pirates Game

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Rap sensation and Pittsburgh native Wiz Khalifa made waves Wednesday evening after throwing out the first pitch during the Pirates’ final home game at PNC Park.

Controversy in Pittsburgh

Wiz Khalifa Causes Uproar Over Pretend Joint at Pirates Game

Khalifa, a noted cannabis advocate, proudly sported a “Legalize It” T-shirt and pretended to smoke a joint on the pitcher’s mound prior to throwing the ceremonial pitch to home plate before the Pirates took the field against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Pirates were forced to deal with the fallout of Khalifa’s faux-puffs after fans and pundits alike took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with the rapper’s controversial message.

However, not everyone shared a similar disdain for Khalifa’s actions. Several Twitter-users chimed in supporting the Pittsburgh native’s progressive views on cannabis legalization.

In the wake of the rapper’s actions, the MLB released a statement via e-mail, calling the situation “unfortunate.”

“Marijuana is a probated substance in all of our drug programs and it is unfortunate this situation occurred,” said MLB spokesman Pat Courtney. “The Pirates have informed us that this should not have happened.”

Final Hit: Wiz Khalifa Causes Uproar Over Pretend Joint at Pirates Game

Wiz Khalifa Causes Uproar Over Pretend Joint at Pirates Game

While it does seem like a somewhat odd venue to promote cannabis legalization, the entire ordeal remains somewhat trite. While recreational cannabis isn’t legal in the state of Pennsylvania yet, medical marijuana is, so Khalifa’s message shouldn’t necessarily strike a chord.

There has been, however, several drug-related incidents in the history of the Pirates organization that could have resulted in the overreaction to Khalifa’s invisible joint.

Back in 1985, several Pirates testified before a grand jury about the distribution and usage of cocaine between players at Three Rivers Stadium.

In 2011, team president Frank Coonelly was arrested on four counts of DUI-related misdemeanors and was sentenced to a mandatory program.

Most recently, third baseman Jung Ho Kang was convicted of a third drunk-driving offense in his native South Korea and has been unable to receive a U.S. work visa, thus rendering him incapable of returning to the Pirates this year. He has missed the entire MLB season.

Manager Clint Hurdle and third baseman David Freese have also admitted to alcohol abuse in the past.

Regardless of the organization’s checkered past with substance-abuse, it’s tough to categorize marijuana in the same realm of the aforementioned drugs. Although cannabis is technically under the umbrella of Schedule I substances, while cocaine is considered a Schedule II drug and alcohol is clearly legal, it still remains undoubtedly the safest, and more importantly, the most medically conducive of the three.

If that doesn’t justify Khalifa’s harmless toking motion, we don’t know what does.

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Pennsylvania Launches MMJ Media Campaign to Prepare for 2018 Rollout

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Before a single seed has been legally sown, a cannabis producer and dispensary operator in Pennsylvania has launched the state’s first ever MMJ media campaign. The goal is to inform people about the state’s soon-to-be-launched medical marijuana program.

Spreading the Word

The company leading the charge is Cresco Yeltrah, which unveiled a nearly $500,000 ad campaign called “Welcome to a State of Relief.” The media blitz, which includes newspapers, magazines, billboards and social media outlets, seeks to introduce would-be participants to the Pennsylvania’s MMJ program.

The campaign is addressing questions about the 17 conditions that qualify for the program. And although medical marijuana is not expected to be available in Pennsylvania until early 2018, drivers in the Keystone State have already started seeing the ads and electronic billboards statewide and along major highways.

“It’s not too early because this is not a product-focused campaign. It’s to let people know about the program,” said Cresco Labs CEO Charlie Bachtell. “You can’t start this early enough.”

Bachtell added that the program’s success will depend on people understanding and determining whether they qualify for medical marijuana and if it is an appropriate treatment for them.

The purpose is also to convince medical professionals to sign up for the registry process that will allow them to recommend cannabis to their patients. Bachtell hopes the media campaign will clear up some of the preconceived and erroneous notions about cannabis.

“The subject matter suffers from preconceived notions,” Bachtell said. He added that advertising and marketing provides a modern look at what the state’s MMJ program can do to help patients.

Pennsylvania’s MMJ Media Campaign

The first phase of the campaign includes several images. In one, a woman sits in a lotus position on a Pennsylvania-shaped yoga mat. The text on the ad reads: “Welcome to a State of Relief.”

Another one features a waffle in the shape of the Keystone State on a plate with the words: “Medical cannabis offers a new way for Pennsylvania residents to seek relief from symptoms of 17 serious medical conditions, like cancer.”

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