How The U.S. And Mexico Plan To Stop The Flow Of Illegal Drugs

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Despite the fact that federal leaders have spent decades unsuccessfully trying to take down their chosen bogeymen of the illegal drug trade, the United States and Mexico now believe they have what it takes to stop what has been called  “transnational criminal organizations” (TCO) from capitalizing on the junkie mentality. Take a look at how the U.S. and Mexico plan to stop the flow of illegal drugs across the border.

It was a laughable scene in Washington, D.C., earlier this week, set up to convince the sheeple of both nations that neighboring governments are working together to open a can of whoop-ass on cartel operations and prevent thousands of people from dying each year from overdoses and gang-related violence. But the new agreement signed between the U.S. and Mexico, enhancing cross-border communications, is really nothing more than a masturbatory ritual designed to show that Trump is serious about preventing a doomsday drug culture.

He’s not. And he can’t. But it sounds good to the 50 or so people who still support his presidency.

“This administration refuses to ignore the problem. The United States will no longer turn the other way or sweep this issue under the rug,” said Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. “That is why President [Donald] Trump has made a commitment to fight the opioid epidemic that has destroyed the lives of so many individuals and families throughout our country.”

It was just a few months ago that the Trump administration finally got off their fat cans and decided it was time to declare the opioid problem a “national health crisis.” The president spewed a lot of ideas over how he plans to “Make American Sober Again,” but he and his opioid commission have stopped short of coming up with anything revolutionary.

Supposedly, part of the plan is to make it easier for people to enter into drug rehab programs.

But research has proven that treatment really only has a 30 percent success rate. So, in order for the other 70 percent to having a fighting chance at getting clean, they will either have to learn to “Just Say No…again,” or rely on the federal governments to stop the flow of drugs.

Realistically, neither is ever going to happen.

One of the major culprits in this new drug war is fentanyl. This super strong opioid is being used with a variety of illegal drugs, including heroin and cocaine.

Just last month, Trump rattled the cage of Chinese officials, calling the country the choke point of fentanyl production. But now, the Department of Justice says this high-powered opioid, which can be up to 100 times stronger than morphine, is also coming up from the south.

“Fentanyl is—originally started mostly from China. It’s being sent in by mail directly to the United States,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters. “A considerable amount has been shipped to Mexico and then enters across the border in some fashion from Mexico.”

“We are also seeing precursor chemicals in Mexico and manufacturing labs begin to develop in Mexico,” he continued. “So one of the priorities I would like to see us do is to nip that in the bud, stay very intensely focused on those laboratories, and make sure that it does not become a big problem in the future.”

But Sessions doesn’t really have a clue how his department will accomplish this. As you can imagine, a brainstorm in this administration is somewhere between a light sprinkle and a drought.

As for Mexico, officials there officered the same vague explanation for how the latest agreement between the U.S. will actually work to prevent death and destruction at the hands of drug cartels.

“Thousands of Americans die due to overdoses. Thousands of Mexicans die due to the violence generated by illegal drug trafficking. And we will only be able to solve this problem by working together,” said Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray.

All that is known, at least according to a letter sent to United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, is the countries have now made a “conscious decision” to stop the flow of drugs. Ah, color us… impressed?

In the mind of President Trump, he still believes crippling the dope slinging operations is as simple as building an enormous wall separating the U.S and Mexico. But the orange-haired goon has been in office for almost a full year and the government still has very little figured out with respect to implementing this ridiculous, multi-billion dollar plan.

The latest word is that the budget will do away with some border security technology to build more physical barriers between the two countries.

Experts argue the wall will have no affect on drug smuggling.

Mexican officials say that despite Trump’s backward agenda, it will not prevent them from working with the U.S. to save the lives of people caught up in illegal drugs.

“There is more that unites us than what divides us. The security of our people is the higher good for both administrations,” said Mexican Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong.

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VA Rolls Out New Medical Marijuana Policy For Vets

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There has always been some disconnect between veterans and medical marijuana.

Although there has been plenty of evidence to suggest cannabis would be beneficial to veterans for a wide array of ailments, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been reluctant to allow their doctors to formally recommend it as a treatment option. However, as the VA rolls out a new medical marijuana policy tor vets, it appears doctors are now permitted to at least discuss potential use with their patients.

A New Medical Marijuana Policy For Vets

No, VA doctors are still not permitted to recommend medicinal cannabis to their veteran patrons. However, under the new guidelines, doctors can discuss the possibility with their patients, who can then get a formal recommendation from another doctor.

Essentially, the VA is saying it will not be responsible for providing veterans with medical marijuana, but it won’t disallow patients from getting medical pot from private practitioners.

“Veterans must not be denied VHA services solely because they are participating in State-approved marijuana programs,” the new policy states.

However, the policy continues the VA’s longstanding “prohibition on recommending, making referrals to or completing forms and registering Veterans for participation in State-approved marijuana programs.”

Under the new set of guidelines, doctors are also required to closely monitor and record their patients’ use of medical marijuana.

“Clinical staff may discuss with Veterans relevant clinical information regarding marijuana and when this is discussed it must be documented in the Veteran’s medical record,” the policy states. “Providers need to make decisions to modify treatment plans based on marijuana use on a case-by-case basis, such decisions need to be made in partnership with the Veteran and must be based on concerns regarding Veteran health and safety.”

Final Hit: VA Rolls Out New Medical Marijuana Policy For Vets

While the new policy urges VA doctors to “discuss with the Veteran marijuana use, due to its clinical relevance to patient care, and discuss marijuana use with any Veterans requesting information about marijuana,” the department claims to still be in compliance with federal law, which still considers cannabis a Schedule I narcotic.

V.A. Secretary David Shulkin reiterated as much during a White House briefing back in May.

“Until time the federal law changes, we are not able to be able to prescribe medical marijuana for conditions that may be helpful,” he said.

However, the VA’s interpretation of the country’s medical marijuana laws could be considered misguided.

According to a 2003 Supreme Court ruling, doctors own the First Amendment right to recommend medical cannabis to patients, as long as they don’t actually give their patients the cannabis themselves. Under the current federal law, doctors are not permitted to prescribe patients marijuana like other drugs, but they are allowed to provide recommendations that allows patients to purchase it themselves at medical dispensaries.

So while Shulkin and the rest of the VA may cite federal law for their staunch policy, in reality, it’s their own doing. The brand new policy is set to run through the end of 2022. Hopefully, by then, veterans will have an even easier time getting their hands on the plant. But for now, this is a step in the right direction.

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Veteran Cannabis Activist Dana Beal Busted—Yet Again

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Dana Beal, a longtime fixture in New York City’s cannabis activist scene, is once again back in the slammer.

In this new misadventure, Beal was popped this past weekend by sheriff’s deputies in Northern California’s Trinity County. He was apparently pulled over near the town of Hayfork and is currently being held in the jail at county seat Weaverville.

Sheriff’s representative Jill Lynn told the New York Daily News, “It was a traffic stop where the K9 alerted to the odor of narcotics.”

She said the vehicle had been swerving and driving about 15 miles under the speed limit and a search turned up 22 pounds of pot. 

High Times’ sources indicate the bust was on Highway 36, near the Humboldt-Trinity county line. This connects with Route 299, the main road that links Humboldt County on the coast to Insterstate 5 in the Central Valley, over the rugged Trinity Alps. 

The quantity Beal was caught with usually results in an “own recognizance” release in Trinity County, meaning no bail. But this time, bail has reportedly been set at a steep $75,000—possibly due to Beal’s notoriety and past record.

Beal is said to face two charges: misdemeanor possession of cannabis for sale and felony attempt to transport marijuana across state lines. His driver was also charged, identified as Michigan resident James Statzer.

Beal and Statzer have been arrested together before—most recently, a year ago this week in Oregon, after a state trooper stopped them for driving outside the line and over the speed limit. A search turned up 55 pounds of marijuana. In June, the Clackamas County district attorney declined to prosecute the case, citing irregularities in the search. 

Before that, the pair were convicted of transporting more than a hundred pounds after being pulled over in Nebraska in 2009. Beal also faced marijuana trafficking charges in Wisconsin in 2011. He served three years on these charges, suffering a heart attack in prison.

Following his release in 2014, Beal had returned to public advocacy, particularly around expanding New York’s medical marijuana program. In his previous arrests, Beal had claimed that he was providing for AIDS and cancer patients. He has also been a crusader for Ibogaine, a psychedelic he believes has the power to break heroin addiction.

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California Rolls Out Licensing For Cannabis Businesses

Last week, the Bureau of Cannabis Control issued the first licenses for California’s new market. The first license went to Moxie, a cannabis distribution company out of Lynwood.

The search feature for the list of licenses issued so far

As of the publication of this article, the Bureau, the state authority tasked with leading the regulation of the industry, has issued 43 temporary licenses. So far, four laboratories have received licenses, along with a number of retailers, distributors, microbusinesses in both medical and adult-use markets.

The labs to receive their temporary licenses so far are pH Solutions, Steep Hill Labs, Pure Analytics and ORCA Cannalytics. Judging by the number of temporary medical and adult-use licenses awarded so far, it appears the Bureau is trying to issue a similar amount for each sector, distributing the number of licenses between the two equitably.

You can find the list of licensees here, and search between the dates of 12/15/17 to 1/2/18 to get the most up-to-date list of licenses awarded. “Last week, we officially launched our online licensing system, and today we’re pleased to issue the first group of temporary licenses to cannabis businesses that fall under the Bureau’s jurisdiction,” says Lori Ajax, Bureau of Cannabis Control Chief. “We plan to issue many more before January 1.”

According to the press release, temporary licenses are only issued to applicants with prior local authorization in the form of a license or permit from the jurisdiction where the business is. Those licenses will become effective on January 1, 2018. The temporary licenses will work for 120 days, or May 1, 2018, after which businesses will need to have a permanent license to continue operating.

More than 1,900 users have registered with the Bureau’s online system, and more than 200 applications have been submitted, according to the press release.

The various regulatory bodies in California have worked diligently for months now to roll out proposed emergency regulations, setting strict requirements for manufacturers, growers, retailers and testing labs. Manufacturing regulations, including specific labeling, packaging and processing requirements, give a good snapshot of how regulators plan to move forward. Testing requirements could also be significantly firmer, with rules for documentation, sample sizes, sampling procedures, storage and transportation.

Yet when the adult-use sales become fully legal on January 1, 2018, those regulations will not be fully implemented.

Donald Land, a UC Davis chemistry professor and chief scientific consultant at Steep Hill Labs Inc., told The Associated Press, “Buyer beware.” There will be a six-month range where existing inventory will be allowed on the shelves, products that might not meet the standards of the new rules. So dispensaries will get half a year of sales before all products have to meet the new, stricter testing requirements.

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Tikun Olam Expands to Washington, D.C.

Today, Tikun Olam announced their expansion into the Washington, D.C. market. Partnering with the cultivator, Alternative Solutions, they will license them to grow, manufacture and distribute Tikun-branded products.

Tikun Olam is an international cannabis company with roots in Israel, where they are working in clinical trials to produce strains targeting a handful of medical conditions. The company has made serious investments in the United States market previously, with operations in Delaware, Washington and Nevada, and has plans to enter the Rhode Island, Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois markets in 2018.

cannabis close up
The Tikun Olam strain Avidekel being grown in Israel.

The five-year licensing deal signed with Alternative Solutions is the latest development in their expansion plans in North America. They also have similar partnerships developing around the world, including in Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and South Africa.

Tikun plans on having their full line of products ready for distribution with Alternative Solutions in the Washington, D.C. market some time in 2018. “Alternative Solutions is thrilled to be Tikun Olam’s exclusive partner in DC,” says Matt Lawson-Baker, chief operating officer of Alternative Solutions. “We look forward to making Tikun’s products available at all DC dispensaries, giving access to these clinically proven strains to the more than 5,600 registered MMJ patients in Washington DC.”

Bernard Sucher, chief executive officer of Tikun Olam, says he is excited to get working with Alternative Solutions. “Its cultivation and manufacturing operations will make it possible for Tikun to serve every single patient in a single jurisdiction–a first for us and something we hope to accomplish within every U.S. state. “

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Bill Nye Buys Weed For Science

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If you had a short list of famous people you’d want to smoke weed with, there’s little doubt Bill Nye wouldn’t at least make the alternate team. And while it doesn’t look like we’ll be catching Bill toking anytime soon, we will, at the very minimum, get to see him up close and personal with some bud during the second season of his new Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves the World, set to be released December 29.

More specifically, we’ll get to watch as Bill Nye walks into a dispensary and buys some weed in the name of science. It’s going to be glorious.

Experimental Reefer: Bill Nye Buys Weed For Science In An Episode Of His Show

Much like the first season of Nye’s Netflix revival, the mainstream scientist will delve into a series of scientific issues that could affect our day to day lives, including overpopulation, gender, climate change, time travel and of course, some good ol’ fashioned reefer.

The first episode of the new season involved Bill researching the pros and cons of medical marijuana, something that is becoming more and more prevalent in mainstream society, with 29 U.S. states currently authorizing the use of the plant for medicinal purposes.

“Cannabis, as a whole, appears to alleviate pain,” Nye proclaims in the season two trailer.

The quirky scientist is then depicted in a Hollywood dispensary, where he awkwardly purchases some cannabis from a budtender.

“I would like to buy some marijuana,” he tells the budtender. “This is for science.”

In an interview with CNET, Nye explained he did not smoke any of the weed during the episode and that his purchase was merely for an experiment in which he plays ultimate frisbee with a bunch of teammates who are actually stoned.

The ‘Science Guy’ admitted he is “not crazy about the smell.”

In the interview, Nye also acknowledged that the process of buying medical marijuana was much easier than he had thought. However, he said doing the experiment only strengthened his current stance on medical marijuana, or more so, cannabis as a whole.

“There is a very strong argument that keeping it as a Schedule I drug, is not based on any science,” Nye explained. “Schedule I means that it’s presumed to be addicting and it’s presumed to have no medical value. But people use marijuana and marijuana extracts for all sorts of medical applications. So you got to think there’s something to it.”

Final Hit: Bill Nye Buys Weed For Science

While Nye’s involvement with cannabis may come as somewhat as a shock to some casual fans, for those following Nye’s career closely, it should come as no surprise.

Nye has been a proponent of medical marijuana for years now and has appeared on various platforms to express his sentiment.

Just this past November, Nye appeared in a “NowThis” video, expressing his belief that cannabis should be legalized, despite his own personal indifference towards the plant.

And back in 2013, Nye infamously mocked fellow scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson, after his colleague gave a long-winded response to Richard Dawkins regarding the concept of consciousness. Nye pretended to take a huge bong hit before mocking Tyson’s trippy response.

As for his newest cannabis endeavor, you can take a look at Nye’s season two trailer below.

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Norway’s Parliament Votes To Decriminalize All Illegal Drugs

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Swiping a crucial chapter out of the good book of Portuguese drug policy, the Norwegians have stood up in favor of decriminalizing all illegal substances.

The overall goal behind this newfound, common sense approach to dealing with the darkness of these addict days, is to replenish the soul of civil society by helping drug users sink their teeth into the treatment they need rather than try to change their ways in prison.

It was late last week when the Norwegian Parliament, often referred to as the Storting, voted in favor of developing legislation that would eventually lead to the decriminalization of all controlled substances. According to a report from the Independent, the majority of the lawmakers agreed that it makes more sense to put ailing addicts into rehab programs, while saving the throes of the criminal justice system for dope slingers and other unsavory characters of the black market drug trade.

The policy change, once it takes effect, will not allow for the creation of a taxed and regulated market of any kind. This is not a call for legalization. Norway has simply taken the first step toward imposing reforms similar to that of Portugal, which decriminalized all illicit substances, including cocaine, heroin and marijuana, back in 2001.

“It is important to emphasize that we do not legalize cannabis and other drugs, but we decriminalize,” said Sveinung Stensland, deputy chairman of the Storting Health Committee. “The change will take some time, but that means a changed vision: those who have a substance abuse problem should be treated as ill, and not as criminals with classical sanctions such as fines and imprisonment.”

A report published earlier this year by the European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Addiction shows there were over 48,000 drug law violations in Norway in 2014. The country, which has a population of more than five million people, experienced almost 300 drug overdose deaths during that time.

The latest plan would give anyone caught in possession of small amounts of illegal drugs the opportunity to enter into a treatment program rather than take their chances in the criminal justice system. The country intends to save its jail space for those offenders trying to capitalize on the distribution and sale of these outlaw substances.

But it could take some time before the law changes.

“It is important for all parties involved in this that it is about large-scale reforms: how to support people and help them out of drug abuse,” said Nicholas Wilkinson, health spokesperson for the Socialist Left party. “The most important thing is that this will be good reform. If we have to wait another year for it to really work, it’s worth it.”

For now, there is no legislation on the table. The move by Parliament simply instructs the government to get serious about crafting Norway’s model of a society where drug use is no longer a crime.

It’s likely that the new system will look a lot like the one that has been proving successful for nearly the past two decades in Portugal.

Since the decriminalization policy was put into place there, the country has experienced fewer overdose deaths, less disease and more people than ever are taking advantage of drug treatment.

It should come as no surprise that decriminalization has been way more effective than the country’s previous attempts to address the issue by running anti-drug campaigns.

But the switch did not happen overnight.

“These social movements take time,” Portugal drug czar, Dr. João Goulão, recently told the Guardian.

He says it is possible the policy would have never gained any traction had the middle and upper class not been affected.

“There was a point when you could not find a single Portuguese family that wasn’t affected,” Goulão said. “Every family had their addict, or addicts. This was universal in a way that the society felt: ‘We have to do something.’”

Last year, Norway rolled out a program that allowed drug addicts to be sentenced to treatment rather than jail. The goal of this new concept was to try and clean up addicts that found themselves in trouble with the law—give them a second chance to exist drug-free within their communities without being forced to see the inside of a prison cell.

But the program failed to some degree. Anyone who violated drug treatment, either by testing positive for drugs or simply not showing up to participate, was immediately thrown in prison for the remainder of his or her sentence.

In Portugal, drug offenders are not forced to enter into treatment as part of their sentence. It’s on them. Because of this, many choose to utilize this resource in hopes of establishing a better quality of life. It is expected that Norway will follow this philosophy when drafting its reform.

It’s unfortunately the United States government cannot seem to wrap its swelled head around this idea. On Capitol Hill, the concensus is that the drug problem is still really only affecting the poor and what’s left of the middle class. But the reality is that drug addiction has now officially gone mainstream. Drugs are more popular than Jesus Christ. It has become a new religion inside the tired veins of a people, white, black, pink and blue, still searching for an American dream that never really existed. Make America Great Again? Good luck.

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Bolivia’s African King Speaks For Coca Growers

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Among the coca-growing peasants of Bolivia’s Yungas region (the country’s prime legal cultivation zone) is a substantial Afro-Bolivian population—descendants of slaves who were brought in by the Spanish colonialists to work in the silver mines and haciendas centuries ago. Some have inter-married with the indigenous Aymara people of the Yungas, forming a distinctive Afro-Aymara culture.

The Guardian recently noted the 10th anniversary of the coronation of the “King of the Afro-Bolivians,” Julio I—said to be South America’s last reigning monarch, although he lives as a cocalero and grocery-shop keeper in the little village of Mururata. His dominion—recognized by the Bolivian government—extends to a few dozen rural villages, as well as some city dwellers who together make up the 25,000-strong Afro-Bolivian community.

A profile last year in Guatemala’s Prensa Libre noted wryly that Julio Pinedo, 75, “is probably the poorest king in the world,” and that he works eight hours a day in his coca fields. Although already regarded as the king of the Afro-Bolivians in the Yungas, he was formally crowned on December 3, 2007, in a ceremony recognized by the national authorities in La Paz.

The African Kingdom In The Coca Zone

Julio was declared king by virtue of his descent from Prince Uchicho, who established an autonomous zone of freed slaves in the Yungas when Bolivia won its freedom from Spain.

This legendary figure arrived in Bolivia from Senegal in 1820, after crossing the ocean on one of the last slave ships to leave West Africa. He was sold to a hacienda in the Yungas.

Bolivia was then in the midst of its war of independence, which was won five years later. Slavery was abolished in the country’s 1826 constitution. Because he had been the son of a Kikongo tribal king in Africa, Uchicho became the leader of liberated slaves of the Yungas and was declared their king in 1832. The community grew as freed slaves from the silver mines of Potosí began joining their kin in the more fertile lands of the Yungas. They learned to grow coca from their Aymara neighbors.

Julio received family lore about his royal descent from his father, a community leader named Bonifacio who in 1932 (the centenary of Uchicho’s coronation) established the Royal House of Afrobolivia and was named the first monarch of the revived kingdom. Bonifacio died in 1954, and Julio succeded him upon reaching adulthood.

“Without doubt the king’s role is important,” Zenaida Pérez of the Afro-Bolivian Language and Culture Institute told The Guardian. “He represents much of what our Mother Africa has left us.”

Bolivia’s 2008 constitution recognizes the autonomy of African descendants, and recent years have seen the first Afro-Bolivian legislators and civil servants. Over the past decade, an Afro-Bolivian cultural renaissance has flowered, with a re-awakening of the people’s identity. In 2016, Julio, his wife Angela and their grandson and crown prince Rolando visited Senegal, Congo and other African countries to try to re-establish contact with their long-lost relatives.

Coca Leaf & Cultural Survival: Bolivia’s African King Speaks For Coca Growers

The coca leaf that is indigenous to the Yungas is now an integral part of Afro-Bolivian culture.

Their people have been growing it for generations, and they are today very much a part of the effort to expand the legal internal market for the leaf in Bolivia, where it is widely used for chewing and máte (herbal tea)—and to decouple the plant from the narco stigma.

As Julio wrote in an autobiographical essay for The Guardian: “We grew citrus, coffee and most of all coca—the ‘sacred’ leaf, as this is what gives us life. Without coca there would be nothing in the Yungas. Coca is our means of support; it allows our children to go to school; it feeds us, dresses us and gives us life. People don’t understand that it is not a drug. We don’t even know how to make cocaine; we have never touched it, seen it or tasted it.”

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10 Best Topicals Of 2017

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Topicals have come a long way since they first gained popularity years ago. You can find them in the form of lotions, bath bombs, sprays and more. Anyone looking to relieve aches and pains on their body without getting high will benefit from the use of topicals. The best topicals of 2017 are easy to use, and they relieve pain fast.

10. Whoopi & Maya Soak

10 Best Topicals Of 2017

Whoopi & Maya products are available all over California and in a few places in Colorado. The legendary Whoopi Goldberg decided to start selling medical cannabis products after teaming up with Maya Elisabeth, the founder of Om Edibles and the best infuser she could find. Maya’s edible company has won seven High Times Cannabis Cup awards since 2008. Together, they’re illustrating that cannabis can help with women’s health.

Pros: Whoopi & Maya’s Medical Cannabis Soak is a medicated Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are made from magnesium and sulfate, two minerals our bodies need. They have naturally occurring healing properties as well as strong detoxifying properties. Combining skin nourishing oils with cannabis offers further healing properties. The bath helps relieve aches, pains and cramping associated with the menstrual cycle.

Cons: You won’t be able to use this outside of a bathtub.

Why We Like It: It’s a great way to unwind after a hard day at work.

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Would You Smoke Out Of This Million Dollar Pipe?

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The Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album was bought and resold for millions of dollars. However, hip-hop isn’t the only modern art form generating works of art valued at a million. We’ve seen bongs sell for well over a hundred thousand dollars. So, it was only a matter of time before we came across a million dollar pipe.

We recently spotted it at the grand opening of a glass gallery in Massachusetts that had the piece priced at “1 million firm.” You’ll have to offer them something close to that to see if it’s genuinely firm.

If you owned a million dollar pipe, would you smoke out of it? Don’t leave it in our office for too long unless you want resin to turn up somewhere.

Where You Can See It

Would You Smoke Out Of This Million Dollar Pipe?

Photo by @bobbyshakes

We came across this gem by the legendary glass artist Kevin Murray while at the grand opening of Milked in Watertown, Massachusetts. For a new shop, they had a lot of rare work from a wide variety of glass artists including New England locals like Danny Camp.

Upon entering, there were glass milk bottles to accompany plates full of cookies. Under the lid of each milk bottle was a colored sticker indicating a prize. You could win merchandise, discounts and more. After grabbing your milk bottle, one of the first works of art you’ll come across is the drunken Humpty Dumpty by Kurt B.

That’s one way to explain his fall.

After marveling over the meaning of the Kurt B piece for long enough, your eyes will eventually be pulled toward the giant glass case displaying an anatomically correct glass skeleton. There were plenty of headies worthy of appreciation in between the two pieces, but we couldn’t help ourselves from skipping straight to the million dollar pipe once it entered our peripherals.

“Earl” is what Milked Glass Gallery is calling their fully-functional, glass skeleton pipe. Earl consists of eight different functioning pieces. It’s something like Megazord from Power Rangers or Exodia from Yu Gi Oh. Several different parts come together to create a perfectly synchronized whole.

Why Is It Worth One Million Dollars?

Would You Smoke Out Of This Million Dollar Pipe?

Photo by @bobbyshakes

Kevin Murray has been on the torch since 2004. He lives and works out of Milwaukie, Oregon, which is just outside of Portland. Kevin has worked with and learned from other mind-blowing glass artists like Robert Michelson, Eusheen, Scott Deppe and more.

His specialty is the fillacello design. Fillacello comes from the reticello technique, which is a type of blown glass that makes crisscross patterns that form grids and various shapes. The fillacello technique makes things more intricate by filling in all the spaces with color.

The glass skeleton is held up by a custom stand that cost thousands of dollars. Colors are worked throughout the entirety of the skeleton’s body. The eyes have the colorful geometric patterns we’ve come to expect from Murray’s mastery of the fillacello technique. Kevin Murray has pendants that look like the eyeballs of this skeleton which sell for thousands of dollars, illustrating the value his glass holds in the community. Furthermore, his solo tubes that require far less time than the skeleton did sell for the tens of thousands.

Kevin spent more than six months crafting every detail of this masterpiece.

He says he’ll never do it again because it was such a long and intense process. On this project, Kevin was able to showcase his incredible sculpting skills on top of his intricate and vibrant pattern-weaving. Looking at a picture of an actual skeleton next to this all-glass replica, you’ll see it is anatomically accurate. The attention to detail is phenomenal. The multi-colored glass flows naturally, and you can spot millies with other subtle workings throughout the skeleton’s body. If all of that wasn’t intricate enough, he also made sure that every piece could be smoked out of.

Of the eight pieces, six are rigs and two are dry pipes. The dry pipes are the arms with push bowls in the wrist. Each leg consists of two rigs, and the head is a rig.

Final Hit: Million Dollar Pipe Dreams

A one-of-a-kind piece that took nearly a year of one of the most renowned glass artist’s time isn’t going to come cheap. Especially when he’s not willing to ever go through the process again. You can catch Earl literally hanging out at Milked in Watertown, Massachusetts. He is a part of glass art history that you won’t want to miss out on.

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