Free Weed: Cloning Tips + an Interview with Legendary Grower Chemdog

Free Weed is back! After a brief two-and-a-half-year break, High Times senior cultivation editor Danny Danko and editor-in-chief Mike Gianakos return with episode 89 of Free Weed.

This episode features a preview of the June and July issues of High Times (6:35), an interview with legendary grower Chemdog (11:15), Strain of the Fortnight (31:25), cloning tips and tricks (36:10) and, as always, we answer listeners’ grow questions (46:05).

Episode 89 of Free Weed is sponsored by BC Northern Lights. Use the code “Danko-Can” and get six months of free nutrients with purchase of a grow box.

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12-Year-Old With Epilepsy Hospitalized After Four Days of Being Deprived of CBD Oil

Paramedics have rushed young Billy Caldwell to the hospital after the boy suffered a series of epileptic seizures. British media is reporting that rescue medications failed to bring 12-year-old Billy out of “a massive intractable epileptic seizure.”

First responders transported Billy to St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington on Thursday night. He is now unconscious and fighting for his life at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.

The U.K. government has the medicine that could save his life, but won’t give it to the sick boy.

“My son is dying. They are letting him die,” said Billy’s mother Charlotte Caldwell. “The only thing that can save him, his anti-epileptic medication, is sitting on a desk in the Home Office out of our reach.”

Since 2016, Billy has used a cannabis oil medicine known as Tilray to treat his severe epilepsy.  The main active ingredient of the medication is CBD. But it also has enough THC to make it a Schedule 1 controlled substance in the U.K. Billy began his treatment in the United States, and then became the first U.K. patient to receive a prescription for medicinal cannabis from the National Health Service last year.

However, last month the British government ended those prescriptions. So, with just one dose of Billy’s medicine left, he and Charlotte flew to Canada for help. Once there, The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto replenished their supply of medicine.

Border Agents Took Boy’s Medicine at Airport

When Charlotte and Billy returned home to the U.K., border officials at Heathrow Airport confiscated the boy’s medicine. Despite Charlotte meeting with Home Office policing Minister Nick Hurd twice to plead Billy’s case, the government has failed to return Billy’s medication to him.

Although Billy had been doing quite well while taking his medicine, without it things quickly changed. Within hours of his first missed dose, Billy had his first seizure in months. A series of several more seizures followed.

When officials confiscated Billy’s medicine at the airport, Charlotte vowed defiance.

“I will just go back to Canada and get more and I will bring it back again because my son has a right to have his anti-epileptic medication in his country, in his own home,” she said.

But with Billy’s condition deteriorating so rapidly, Charlotte is now afraid that she and Billy have run out of options.

“This is beyond cruelty. We’ve now reached the point where Billy is too ill to travel to get his medication, but his medication is stored minutes away from where we’re now living in London,” said Charlotte Caldwell.

Charlotte praised the healthcare professionals who are treating Billy but is afraid that without his medicine, their efforts may be in vain. If that’s case, she made it clear who she will hold responsible.

“Despite the best and honest efforts of the NHS, frontline doctors are fighting Billy’s condition with both hands tied behind their back because the only medication that will be effective is the cannabis oil with CBD and THC. Those meds need to be released immediately. If Billy dies, which is looking increasingly possible, then the Home Office and Nick Hurd will be held completely accountable.”

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Puffing Joints and Wrestling Smacktalk with Comedian Ron Funches

Ron Funches recently realized how far he’s come when someone commented on his Instagram about how he used to host an open mic hoping to make enough money in tips to afford McDonald’s for his son afterward.

Since then Funches, who wears T-shirts with secret positive messages to himself, has worked hard to become a highly sought-after actor (Undateable and Powerless), writer (Kroll Show and The Eric Andre Show), and one of the best stand-up comedians working today (Comedy Central half-hour special, hit comedy album The Funches of Us). His voice is infectious, his comedy is powerfully hilarious, and he gets high whenever possible.

Ron’s taping his first hour-long Comedy Central special at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle June 19th, and all the money from ticket sales go to the homeless shelter Mary’s Place. I’ve watched him perfect this special at clubs all over LA, and it’s safe to say it’s poised to be one of this year’s best hours of stand-up comedy.

We talked over the phone about puffing joints, pro wrestling, raising a son with autism, and why it’s important to be your own leading man (or woman) in your life. And, if his answer to my first question during our interview is any indication, Funches is leading his best life every day.

How’s your day, man?

Good, just got a workout in, did a taping for the show Match Game, and now I’m just hanging out with my friend Marcia [Belsky], watching Golden Girls, getting ready to smoke a joint.

What do you like smoking right now?

I’m really into a strain called Watermelon, and Mega Queso. I love this company called Nameless Genetics, and Gelato 41 from the Cookies Family, but that’s very difficult to find around town. I use a lot of CBD bath bombs after working out or doing wrestling training.

My mom is a 62-year-old breast cancer survivor, and when she was really going through that, she was so sick I eventually pushed it on her to try to help her appetite. She was more into trying something like Rick Simpson Oil and tinctures, and now she smokes a little bit as well. I’m going to take her to Amsterdam this summer.

Do you like joints, a bong, a pipe?

I like a good bong or smoking joints with friends, but a bong is probably my preferred way of smoking. A nice dab if I’m busy, and you’ve got to get it done—a little dab will do ya!

Do you remember the first time you got high?

Yeah. I was at my friend’s mobile home, um, he had a wizard bong. We smoked out of that, and I ate Red Vines for about four hours. They were the most delicious thing I’d ever eaten, and Half Baked was the best movie I’d ever seen at that time. Then I passed out in my shoes and was like, I think I want to do that again.

My first time I ate a whole package of Nutter Butters and watched Labyrinth.

[Laughs] That’s a good start.

You’re taping a new special for Comedy Central on June 19th.

Yeah, at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle. It’s my first hour special for Comedy Central.

Why did you decide to donate all the money from ticket sales to Mary’s Place?

I was very poor when I was younger, and there were times we were very close to going to shelters, and Mary’s Place is a wonderful family shelter in Seattle. A lot of shelters will only take women and this shelter will take women, children and the father as well. Comedy Central was nice enough to donate an extra $10,000. This taping became a cool event where I’m able to donate money to something I care about, hang out with people in an area I like, and weed’s legal, so we’ll have a great time!

Puffing Joints and Wrestling Smacktalk with Comedian Ron Funches

Courtesy of Ron Funches

There are a lot of studies about cannabis helping kids with autism. Is it something you’ve considered for your son?

He was on a small amount of THC pills when he was younger because he had seizures, but his seizures have gone away. We’ve weaned him off of it, and he’s not on anything currently. There was a time where he was sleeping about three hours a day and [THC pills] with Melatonin really helped his sleeping habits. It’s a very helpful thing for a child especially under the supervision of a doctor. Now he’s in a regular high school, and he’s the fastest kid in his class.

The response from the crowd when you talk about him in your act is amazing.

I get so many emails or people talking to me after shows. They’ve cried with me, and told me how much it means to them. Whether they learn later that someone in their family was diagnosed with autism, or they have been dealing with it for awhile, my message is all about hope. It’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean your life is worse. It just means your life is different, and you just have to embrace that and enjoy it. So I try to do that, and spread that message.

I saw your tweet about hosting a Bar Rescue spin-off for dispensaries.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are a few dispensaries that are not run well and not classy. I’ve run into some of these places, and they’ve got giant mushroom decals and big wizards everywhere. I’m an adult. I want to go to a nice upscale adult dispensary, and buy things I like. So I want to go in there, and rescue their dispensary. Turn them around, make it real funny, smoke, and have a good time.

When you starting working with a trainer was your goal to be a professional wrestler?

No, I just wanted to get healthy. At my heaviest, I was 360 pounds, and I had a friend who passed away suddenly. That put a lot of things into perspective as far as life being finite. I wanted to make sure I didn’t have any regrets, and the two biggest things I wanted to do since I was a kid was be a comedian and a pro wrestler. So I’ve been training since January with the Santino Brothers down in Bell Gardens. It’s really fun.

I think it’s actually helped my weight loss, and my acting as far as knowing where my body begins and ends, and being aware of what my body is capable of, and pushing it.

You sound like you’ve become very honest with yourself.

A lot of times you either fool yourself, and say you just don’t want things because they seem hard, or you say you want them, but you’re not willing to make the changes, so I just made an effort to run towards things that scare me.

When I was doing Undateable, and then the show Powerless, it was basically the same character, and then that was canceled, and they gave me the opportunity to be on another show which was that same character again, and I felt like, I could probably do this for a while, but I’m not growing. I’m not showing them what I feel like I could do. I want to work towards being like a Billy Crystal, like an awkward leading man.

Fuck yes.

But, they’re not gonna let you. I have to show them. I have to change my body. I have to write my own things to show them that I’m more than just this quirky character, because eventually if I go down that path they’ll pay me too much money, I’ll get cranky, I’ll become too accustomed to it. Next thing I know they’re firing me for some younger person that looks like me.

I started to see commercials and other shows with characters that were doing my schtick. I was like, oh okay, you guys think you know what I am, and you don’t know what I am because I don’t even know what I am so I’m just going to keep evolving this character, and my own real life because you’re not going to tell me what I am, and you’re not going to copy me, and then make a low budget version of me. That doesn’t work for me.

Puffing Joints and Wrestling Smacktalk with Comedian Ron Funches

Rebecca Pimm

Is there a mantra you’re trying to live by right now?

My mantra right now is: Legitimately, nothing is ever as hard as I made it out to be in my head. That’s been a consistent truth to me, so I tell myself that whenever I get frustrated or feel like I want to give up. If I fail, that’s fine too. You gotta be willing to set these goals, and say out loud that you want these things, because that’s what I found—a lot of times when I would overeat or when I would have negative habits, I wasn’t believing in myself. But now I believe in me.

I even changed my Twitter to say: Father – Entertainer – Leading Man. Treat yourself like a leading man, and that means a lot of things. It means exercise. Treat your body right. Treat your time right, and be selfish if you have to. It also means being nice to people because if you’re not nice to people, you’re not going to be a leading man for long.


Favorite wrestler of all time, and current?

All-time Ric Flair. Current, Kevin Owens.

What video games are you playing right now?

Overwatch, Fortnite, and Yakuza 6.

What music are you listening to right now?

Bobby Darin. And the Pusha T album was really good. Bobby Darin and Pusha T [giggles] that’s what I’m listening to, girl.

Are there any TV shows you’re loving?

Barry on HBO. It’s a great show. I worked with Bill Hader on a movie recently, and saw how much work he was putting in, and how focused he was. It really taught me a lot about the type of focus I need to have.

What’s your favorite pair of sneakers you own?

My Adidas UltraBoosts. I have a pair of numbered Jordan 1 Homage to Home. My Wotherspoons, but I’m wearing them out. They’re my favorite. It’s so weird, you’d think they wouldn’t go with anything, but they go with everything.

Do people try to hug you a lot?

Yeah, a lot. I’m into it usually when they ask. Usually, women ask, but some guys just come up and do it. I’m not into that. Not that I’m not into hugging guys. I’m an equal opportunity hugger, but please just come up and go, “May I hug?” That’s all I ask.

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Ganja Yoga: All the Best Places to Get High and Zen Out

Does “relaxed, yet engaged, with a unification of mind, body, and spirit” describe a yoga class or a hit of Afghan Kush? Trick question—it’s both. Yoga and weed complement each other so perfectly that everyone from spiritualists to exhausted rat racers is flocking to the legal states for cannabis-inspired yoga retreats that promise to restore, rejuvenate and enlighten world-weary pilgrims. Has your zen gotten away from you? You’ll have a good chance of finding it at one of these upcoming getaways.

LunaGanja Yoga Retreat for Women

As the name implies, this three-day, two-night escape to California’s Joshua Tree is reserved exclusively for female tokers/yogi. Yin, Hatha, and restorative yoga combine with meditation, mindfulness and the medicinal plant that’s legal in the Golden State even when it’s not medicinal.

Edibles, vape pens, and infused tea are all included in the $285 per person price tag, although you’re free to bring your own goodies if you like. Vegetarian/vegan breakfast and lunch are all part of the package, as is a goddess sound bath meditation and a cannabis ceremony that aims to both educate and enlighten. The Oct. 12-14 retreat is filling up fast, but if you miss it, don’t worry—they’re bringing it back in March.

Couples Cannabis Yoga Getaway

Reconnect with yourself and your squeeze at a three-day couples excursion to the PuraVida Float & Retreat on the banks of the mighty McKenzie River in Vida, Ore. Ganja yoga and cannabis cooking sessions are plentiful, but your senses will also be heightened through float and light therapy, sound healing, hot tubs, bonfires, and immediate access to the river’s waterfalls and hot springs.

Yoga glamping in its highest form, the retreat costs $1,200 per couple. The fee covers the cost of not just great bud and kundalini yoga, but a sense of intimacy with each other and the group. There’s even a happy hour with a good, old-fashioned joint-passing session.

420 Yoga Retreat

From August 3-5, a tiny sliver of the majestic Colorado Rockies becomes an oasis of laughter, music, meditation, pot and yoga. The 420 Yoga Retreat rejuvenates with DJ’d freeflow meditation, six healthy meals prepared according to your dietary likings and a 420 goodie bag that lets you take a little piece of your adventure home with you.

But the real draw is retreat leader and ganja yoga guru Yogi D himself. Yogi D’s funky, friendly vibe is infused into the retreat, which costs $395-$645, depending on your choice of accommodations. Mobile devices? No. Shiatsu, Thai and therapeutic acro massage? You bet—and if that’s not enough, opening day closes out with a classic campfire smoke and s’mores session.

Ganja Yoga: All the Best Places to Get High and Zen Out

Courtesy of Ganja Goddess Getaway

Ganja Goddess Getaway

The Ganja Goddess Getaway mission statement is “to help connect women to each other and to the plant.” The purpose of this overnight retreat for ladies is the introduction — or reconfirmation — of cannabis as a therapeutic tool for meditation, creativity, and spirituality. Yoga plays a starring role in the retreat, but it’s by no means the only game in town. Other body-mind unifying movements like qigong, swimming and belly dancing are all available for anyone looking to expand their repertoires.

Toking, edibles and a dab bar are there to help participating goddesses reach their highest inner plateaus. Tickets cost $210—that’s $420 for two if arithmetic isn’t your thing—and dates are scheduled through the summer, fall, and winter in places like Coachella Valley, Calif., Lake Selmac, Ore. and Trinity, Calif.

Elevate and Align

Denver-based Twisted Sister is a ganja yoga pioneer that hosts a range of cannabis-based retreats, and this July it’s Elevate and Align. Like so many great pot-based-anything retreats, Elevate and Align is backdropped by the postcard scenery of the Rockies. Daily yoga sessions are heightened by the thin air and judgment-free space where you can meditate, medicate, and decompress.

Start your days with sunrise asana and meditation in the mountain forests, then enjoy some nature yoga before exploring your inner dharma. Along the way, you’ll develop your own life mission statement to keep you on the righteous path when you venture back to reality, but not before you get in the zone with mindful coloring in a sacred spaces workshop.

Women’s Ganja Yoga and Spa Retreat

Unlike so many back-to-nature ganja retreats where accommodations are intentionally Spartan, home sweet home at the Twisted Sister Women’s Ganja Yoga and Spa Retreat is a modernist-inspired, mid-century luxury home equipped with wifi. The structure is secluded on 90 acres and boasts sleeping quarters with names like Lakshmi, Shakti, Saraswati, Parvati, and Kali.

The second day includes an afternoon at nearby Devil’s Thumb Ranch, where you’ll find an 18,000-square-foot spa that soothes weary bodies and minds with rejuvenating treatments and soaring views of the Continental Divide. The cost is $675-$800 and includes daily massages, yoga sessions, healthy meals, goodie bags and, of course, some of the finest weed in Colorado.

Ganja Yoga: All the Best Places to Get High and Zen Out

Courtesy of Ganja Yoga

Ganja Yoga’s Harvest Renewal Retreat

Ganja Yoga founder Dee Dussault personally cultivates the topicals, edibles, smokeables, CBD and vaporizers you’ll indulge in when you reach Seattle for the Harvest Renewal Retreat, although you’re of course welcome to BYO. Drinks of choice are terpene mocktails by night and CBD iced tea by day. Farm-to-table meals are followed by fresh low-dose desserts.

An impressive range of weed-enhanced yoga variations are on the menu, and each class is paired with a carefully selected cannabis product. You’ll get acquainted with self-massage yoga, upbeat Hatha, restorative yin-style yoga and Dussault’s specialty, tantra yoga. Depending on accommodations, tickets cost between $474-$1,289.

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Everything You Need to Know About Quartz Bangers

It’s 2018, weed is slowly legalizing, and the list of contraptions to get you high grows more impressive each day—and the quartz banger is a big one. One of the most popular nails (pieces of glass or metal used for dabbing) on the market today, a quartz banger vaporizes concentrates by connecting a necked bucket to a glass joint. Nails mainly come in two different sizes (10 and 14 millimeters), since dab rigs are usually smaller than bongs.

Quave Club, a handmade banger company from Seattle, started slinging gear in 2010 and has since inspired multiple designs and provided the groundwork for countless knock-offs. These nails provide a long lasting vaporizing experience at low temperatures so that the terpenes and cannabinoids from hash can be fully enjoyed. Though not too many people are sold on (or have even heard of) the quartz banger, there are quite a few reasons to give it a shot.

Long Lasting

When properly maintained with things like cotton swabs and glass cleaning solution, quartz bangers will last for a while. After taking a low-temperature dab, wiping up the residual oil and lipids with a cotton swab will clean the nail without much of an effort.

When dealing with a scorched banger, glass cleaning solutions and eventual reheating of the quartz will completely remove the residue. It’s best to use the torch as the last resort though because burning the oil away will eventually create oxidation and get the nail dirty.

Retaining Heat

One of the first things people look for in a nail is the amount of oil that it can handle at once. Depending on the design, quartz bangers are the perfect choice for taking a huge hit. Some types have large chunks of quartz on the bottom or a thermal bucket design so that the heat gets retained and more of the hash is vaporized off in the end.

Since the end goal is to find the lowest temperature without wasting a bunch of oil, having a bunch of heat retention is conducive to dabbing at low temperatures.

Carb Cap Compatibility

A great nail is only one part of having an enjoyable experience with concentrates. Using a piece of glass (also known as a carb cap) to cover the nail will create the perfect conditions to vaporize what’s dropped into the dish.

Bubble caps, for example, are spherically shaped pieces of glass with little tubes to direct air on the top and bottom, intended to toss the oil around a flat banger.

Directional airflow caps are intended for the same thing, but with a flat design that fits inside and locks in with the bucket.

Everything You Need to Know About Quartz Bangers

Hollyhoodbambam/ Instagram


Heat-Handling Joints

When putting a nail into expensive glass work, it’s important to be assured that it won’t do the piece any harm. Once heated, titanium nails can expand in the joint and crack the surrounding glass, which will completely break the rig.

One of the great things about quartz is that after being torched, the heat won’t spread across the entire piece of glass, but instead only stay hot where the concentrates are vaporized.

There’s no need to have a dropdown or glass converter to act as a buffer from the borosilicate to the quartz.

Design Based on Preference

Depending on what purpose you seek, there’s certainly a style that suits your nail preferences. Someone that wants to take a low-temperature dab with an electric nail would be happy with a standard 20mm bucket, while anyone looking to take fat dabs using a torch would find the Toro Core Reactor to be a better fit.

The option to have a flat top or angled bucket comes down to whether you want to use a bubble or directional airflow carb cap, but also has to do with visual aesthetics as well. Truly, the choice is yours.

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How to Throw a Cannabis Dinner Party

If you don’t live in one of the many cities that have been hosting pop-up cannabis dinners and supper clubs, or you just haven’t made it out to one yet, recreating the experience at home with a few friends can be an easy task as long as you have a solid plan.

The most important decision you’ll have to make is exactly how you plan to incorporate cannabis into your dinner party. You can infuse the food or drinks with oil, butter or tinctures for a crowd that is more partial to edibles, or you can pair your dishes with strains that complement their flavor profile, and smoke everybody out between courses. You’ll also be in charge of making sure that everyone has a pleasant, but not overwhelming, experience. This means being deliberate about pacing cannabis consumption throughout the evening, whether it’s pre-portioned amounts of low-dose guacamole, or throwing in a CBD strain to help keep the buzz balanced. Whatever you choose, don’t just wing it. Let your guests know ahead of time what to expect.

If you’re interested in putting together your own gathering, here are some guidelines to get you started.

Figure Out the Flow

It’s up to you to curate the experience, and that means making a plan for how you want the evening to pan out. Do you want to welcome your guests in with an introductory sesh or a fresh cannabis mocktail? Can everyone just smoke willy-nilly throughout the night, or do you want to wait until the lull between courses? Is it family style, buffet style or will you be serving plated courses? You can choose how casual or formal you want to be, but have some sort of game plan in mind for your soiree.

Design the Menu

You have a lot of space to be as creative as you want with the menu. There are plenty of cannabis cookbooks that have recipes for everything from appetizers and entrees to desserts and drinks. You can find all kinds of options to suit your mood, but be mindful of the dietary preferences of your guests. Trying to cook up a vegan menu? Start with deviled lentils followed by spicy sensi potatoes and herbed couscous with an easy blueberry haze mug cake (using vegan cannabutter) for dessert. Seafood lovers can serve cannabis crab cakes for an appetizer, sativa shrimp and ganja grits for the entree and finish off with a laced lemon tart.

Whether you plan to infuse your food or smoke before, during and after courses, do some research on how to pair strains with certain ingredients based on their terpene profile so you’re not just haphazardly mixing flavors, but enhancing them.

Know Your Doses

If you incorporate cannabis into your dinner party with infused foods, do everyone a big favor and get familiar with the dosage in each dish, so that guests can eat responsibly and have a good experience. There’s a lot of information floating around to take the guesswork out of home-infused foods, but here’s a quick formula that will help you calculate approximately how much THC is in the dishes you’re making.

Skip the Alcohol

Although some people might do just fine with a glass of wine or a cocktail while consuming cannabis, it’s really just a good idea to leave it off of the menu for the evening and let the focus be on cannabis. Instead of booze, opt for mocktails or other cannabis-infused drinks like bubble tea and make sure there’s plenty of water readily available to soothe cottonmouth and keep everyone hydrated.

Set the Mood with a 4/20 Playlist

Whether you choose to go for no-brainer picks like Snoop, Wiz Khalifa, and Bob Marley or get creative with your own picks, having a solid playlist is the cherry on top of the experience. It really depends on the vibe of the night. If the dinner party is high-energy, come up with your own sativa-inspired playlist with upbeat jams, whether that’s hip-hop, EDM or rock. Or keep it smooth with a chill, indica-inspired mix with R&B, reggae or oldies. You can also search on streaming services to find playlists based on genres and moods that fit your vision.

Thankfully, there’s nothing that brings people together like a good meal or a good smoke sesh, so you won’t have to try too hard to make it a memorable night after you take care of the key elements. It’s all about the mood, the food, and the company. Once the details are squared away, your dream of hosting your own Snoop and Martha-style get-together can become a reality.

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20 Taco Bell Foods, Ranked After Smoking 10 Joints

I love Taco Bell, mostly when I’m high which is mostly most of the time. It’s my favorite thing to eat, but even I haven’t experienced the entire menu. At least I hadn’t experienced it, until I threw down on a bunch of pre-rolls from PUFF (my favorite is Balance), dropped $50 on Taco Bell—which buys you a ton of Taco Bell!—and hired professional photographer Joel Flora to capture me at “work.” I thought I knew what Taco Bell menu item would win. I thought I knew myself. I was wrong.

Joel Flora/High Times

20. Cinnabon Delights

Disgusting. I expected to bite into a sugary sweet Cinnabon filled with gooey frosting. Instead, I bit into a lump of dense dough that had soaked up all the icing like a sponge so when I bit into it nothing poured out except my own disappointment.

19. Spicy Tostada

Points for being a vegetarian option, but it’s just taco condiments piled on a hard taco shell – lettuce, tomato, cheese, and some top sauce slapped on a smear of beans – that’s lame. If I have a dollar I’m spending it on a soda or a Swisher, not this.

Joel Flora/High Times

18. Chipotle Chicken Loaded Griller

Nope. It tastes like they grilled strips of a yellow rubber chicken instead of a real bird.

17. Spicy Potato Soft Taco

It’s fine. Get it if you want. You’ll take a bite, and go, “It’s fine.”

Joel Flora/High Times

16. Mexican Pizza

Now we’re talking! One of the sexiest cheese pulls in the game, but a tad too expensive to crack my Top 15.

Joel Flora/High Times

15. Cinnamon Twists

If Taco Bell teamed up with Costco to sell these in bulk they’d do Black Friday level sales. I usually buy two bags so I can house one on the drive home.

14. Beefy Nacho Griller

It’s good, but it’s a Frito Burrito with off-brand chips. That’s like buying a box of cereal called Fortune Trinkets because Lucky Charms is a bit more expensive—you’re gonna wish you got the Lucky Charms.

Joel Flora/High Times

13. 3 -Layer Nachos

The chips are dank: thin, crispy, salty, and honestly I was so inspired I did something I’ve never done before and covered them in a trifecta of hot sauces. It was an excellent move I can’t recommend enough.

TIED 11. Crunchy Taco & Soft Taco

Both $1.49
Reliable, iconic, and delicious. These would be ranked higher, but Taco Bell has some wild concoctions on their menu right now, so this is where these belong.

Joel Flora/High Times

10. Frito Burrito

When Taco Bell retires Frito Burritos they’re gonna wind up in the Hall of Tacos (HOT).
PS: You’re welcome, Taco Bell, I just came up with the name of your Hall of Fame.

9. Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito

Simply the best vegetarian option you can buy on their menu for less than $3.00.

Joel Flora/High Times

8. XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito

If Taco Bell had celebrities this is an A-lister: beef, guac, sour cream, ranch, beans, rice, pico, and cheese! C’mon, that’s the total package like Dua Lipa wrapped in a tortilla.

7. Quesarito

It’s a stoners’ two favorite things: A burrito swaddled in a quesadilla. Perfect.

Joel Flora/High Times

6. Nacho Cheese Dorito Locos Taco

Game changer. This OG opened the door for Taco Bell to make so many other ‘foods as taco shells’ like Elvis for say, the Chainsmokers.

5. Caramel Apple Empanada

You may be thinking, “What is this doing in the Top Five?”, but this empanada is like a dab—until I tried it I didn’t think it was anything special. Then realized I was wrong.

Joel Flora/High Times

4. Wild Naked Chicken Chalupa

Reminds me of Alice in Resident Evil because this is the next step in Taco Bell’s evolution. I was ready to hate eating a taco shell made from chicken, but it was diabolically good.

Joel Flora/High Times

3. Double Decker Taco

An all-timer. Its munchie-culture legacy is undeniable.

2. Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Putting a cheese-filled Gordita around a hard taco is like Mario finding a star. It makes it invincible.

Joel Flora/High Times

1. Crunchwrap Supreme

It’s perfect. Easy to eat on the go, crunchy, creamy, cheesy, spicy, and it looks like a UFO. That’s everything I want when I’m high.

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Talking “Gay Weed” with Drag Queen Activist Laganja Estranja

Laganja Estranja is a triple threat, just not in the traditional sense—then again, there’s not very much that’s traditional about her—working as a choreographer/cannabis activist/drag queen. She’s currently breaking boundaries as the first professional drag queen on So You Think You Can Dance and, in doing so, is barreling into the mainstream with a hefty load of taboo on her shoulders. Yet she’s still able to handle it with grace, intelligence, and strength. living by the credo that “drag chose me, I did not choose drag.” We chatted about weed, drag, dance, and being your true self.

First off, Happy Pride.

Thank you!

What’s your origin story? How did Laganja Estranja come to be?

I definitely knew that I wanted my name to rhyme, and I knew I wanted to involve marijuana ‘cause marijuana was such a huge part of my college upbringing when I created the character first. I grew up in Texas where it was very illegal and very hush-hush, so it wasn’t until I moved to California—and, unfortunately, hurt my back—that I got fully exposed to marijuana and it changed my life. So I wanted it to be what I would have behind me as a drag queen because I believe every good drag queen should have a platform in which they represent and stand upon.

It’s not just about representing the LGBT community, it’s about bringing an important issue to the forefront and I think specifically here in California with the Compassionate [Use] Act, people often forget about the LGBT people that fought for Prop 215. So it’s been really cool to come full circle with that and bring some recognition to what I believe is the original community of at least why California has marijuana.

We met you on RuPaul’s Drag Race a couple years ago, and you’re currently back in the spotlight with So You Think You Can Dance, which is amazing, congratulations, you’re a vision on the show.

Thank you, I appreciate that.

You’re the first drag queen on the show, right?

As far as I know. I think there have been some other queer figures on the show, but I definitely am the first professional drag queen that’s been on the show.

I saw you mentioned in 2015 on Hey Qween that you weren’t going to do reality TV again. What do you think changed?

Well, I live in Los Angeles and bills are very expensive. I think what I meant by that statement on Hey Qween was that I probably most likely would never do RuPaul’s Drag Race again, meaning All-Stars. In that moment, that’s probably what I meant because So You Think You Can Dance has always been a dream of mine; I grew up watching Season 1, you know? This was more about me making a statement than me being on a reality competition show.

When I did Drag Race, that was a very specific goal of mine: to win. Whereas with this show, it’s always been about representing the community, and as a queer person who’s watched So You Think You Can Dance for many seasons and seen the queer people get negative comments and Nigel has been very public about when—he doesn’t like it when men dance effeminate. So this was more about making a statement and showing people that you can be your true self and you can still shine.

I couldn’t help but notice you’re going by Miss Estranja on the show.

Yes, so everyone has been up in arms about that, #SayMyName, which is so funny…but you know, at the end of the day, I’ll be very transparent: I chose that, as an artist. I didn’t want to give them any reason to not show me.

Yeah, I get that.

To me, it’s not that big a deal. It’s so funny to me that so many people feel that they censored me, but at the end of the day, I censored myself. And not because I don’t love the cannabis community or because I don’t want to support it, but because for the last five years, I’ve been known as a drug addict, a pothead, and I’m trying to change that image. And so that’s part of my rebranding: dropping that initial part of myself that makes people sometimes turn away from me.

Because I believe the more mainstream I make myself, allow myself to become, then I can really educate people on marijuana and it won’t be this shock value that I went for before. So that’s my hope at least because cannabis is never going to leave me, that’s always going to be my platform and what I believe in and fight for, but we have to give it a different image. It’s part of my whole stance on recreational versus medical.

Like I really wish we went medical first across the board federally before we started doing all this recreational. Because I believe that until we change the stigma, it’s never going to get better, we’re never going to get the proper research that we need on this plant to see what it can really cure and do, because now, unfortunately, dumb people are going out and getting too stoned and doing stupid things.

I’m all about education. So that’s why I didn’t want to go on a family-friendly show and hurt my chances. I don’t know if they would have censored me, I could have gone in there and said my name and who knows, but I just didn’t want to give them any little thing for them to be like “Oh, we can’t show her.”

Talking "Gay Weed" with Drag Queen Activist Laganja Estranja

Chris Desabota/ Instagram

What’s the hardest part of walking that line of being a cannabis activist  – which obviously is still taboo in some places – while still remaining accessible?

I’d say what’s been most difficult for me is that I teach children, I teach children dance. So a lot of times I try to keep my personal life as separate as I can from my business life. Well, my business life involves cannabis. Even yesterday, I was filming my show on World of Wonder called Puff Puff Sessions where we basically have a special guest on, we medicate, and we play games.

It’s really silly, it’s fun, it’s great, but I posted yesterday for the first time since So You Think You Can Dance about cannabis, and I was nervous. And I did, of course, see a lot of negative reactions from new followers—“What is this? I don’t understand,” and that’s where the education is going to come in. Hopefully, because they will have fallen in love with me, I can educate them.

I think it’s gonna bring up a conversation, and even though like I said I chose to modify my name for the show, I’m still very much an activist, I’m just doing it in a new way.

You’ve been super candid about saying that cannabis is medicinal for you – have you found that people are responding to you differently with the rise of dispensary culture and legalization?

Of course. Everyone’s hoppin’ on the green train. Now everyone’s looking for someone who’s “gay weed.” Because now money’s involved, and people know that gay people have money.

I’ve always known this day would come, I’m super grateful this day has come, obviously it’s something I’ve waited for quite some time and worked for quite some time, so I’m hopeful that I’m going to be able to really get these awesome, cool jobs that I’ve always believed I should have in the first place, but because I was LGBT, and because I was in drag, and because I was cannabis, it made it very difficult.

I think we’re finally getting to that point of “Age of Aquarius” where we’re gonna accept everyone for who they are, and hopefully a lot more people will start medicating, and everyone will be a lot nicer and happier. At least that’s the world I dream of.

You tour a lot. Have you ever found yourself in places where you suddenly can’t smoke?

Unfortunately, I was caught by TSA for carrying cannabis back with me from Mexico, and since then, I have been placed on a list where I am searched every time I fly internationally. This has made it quite hard to travel because obviously I am not allowed to bring any medication.

I am fortunate enough that my name has created a support base of people who generally smoke, so usually, I am able to find adequate medication while I travel. That being said, you never really know and it’s always a gamble.

I have gotten so used to the freedom that California offers for cannabis smokers, so it makes it hard when I have to find dealers or do anything that isn’t 100% legal to get my medication. #WhiteGirlStonerProblems.

What’s your favorite strain?

Tangie. I’m a sativa girl.

Are you a CBD girl?

I do love CBD. I super believe in it. My facialist who goes by Nina Face, who I’ve been seeing for over a year now because obviously all the intense makeup that I wear, she has developed her own line of CBD facial cream and it is incredible. I swear by it. I think it’s gonna be the new La Mer.

And I also use a lot of CBD rubs, particularly the ones by Papa & Barkley. My favorite product of theirs has CBD and THC – it’s a bath salt. I think it’s incredible, and I’m a big believer in the entourage effect, so I like to have CBD and THC, because as someone with my tolerance, when you isolate CBD by itself, it’s not as effective to me as it is when it’s the whole plant experience.

What’s your favorite way to get high?

My favorite way to medicate would probably be dabbing. I’m a big dab girl, I’m always on the go, so I love that it’s so cost effective, time efficient, it’s clean. I definitely prefer a rosin over a BHO, although I think a BHO is much more tasty, but I love a rosin.

I used to live with someone who had a press. So we would press our own flower and that was probably my favorite way of smoking ever.

Do you have any crazy weed stories?

I mean, sure, don’t we all? I’ve gotten so high I thought my arm was gonna fall off. That was ages ago, that was back in high school. Crazy weed stories…no. I don’t think weed is crazy, that’s what I’m saying. To me, it is medicinal and it calms me down. I’m so hyperactive, I really need something to calm me down, to focus, to tune into my creativity, so any time I’ve used cannabis, it’s been great.

It’s only when I’ve crossfaded and mixed it with alcohol—I’m two years sober from everything but weed—those were crazy times. But now, pretty much it’s always a good time. Everyone I meet in the industry is great, the shows I’m involved with—I just went on Doug Benson’s show Getting Doug With High, that was super fun – but I would never describe it as crazy. The craziest thing is when I’m in drag at these clubs at midnight, that’s crazy, but marijuana isn’t crazy.

It’s an awesome plant. It’s hard to answer that one. People always want that, they’re like “what’s a funny weed story?” and I’m like “I don’t know, I’m not a douchebag. I don’t have a funny weed story, go ask the straight bros that, like, staple their butt when they’re high.” I don’t know. I don’t do stupid shit when I’m stoned; I’m a normal person…weed stories, I wish I had em, but I don’t!

Ha, incredible. How are you celebrating Pride?

Well, I’m celebrating pride by doing what I do best, and that is working. I’m headed to El Paso this weekend, I was just in Tulsa for their Pride, I’m doing Los Angeles tomorrow, headed to Hawaii the following week, Denver Pride, I’m doing San Francisco Pride, so I’m hitting them all up—that is how I celebrate Pride, by going, performing, thanking my community and letting them know that you can be yourself.

It’s definitely a special thing. I’ve been involved in Prides since I came out – I was about 16 years old – so to go from being an onlooker to being in the parades now, running events, and being the star that they bring in – it’s incredible.

I’m so thankful and I would not be where I am today without the LGBT community, so that’s why it’s such an honor to represent them not only in the cannabis community but now in the dance community with So You Think. It’s pretty spectacular.

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Resolution Calls for Congress to Admit to Drug War Failures

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives that would acknowledge the war on drugs has failed. Watson Coleman filed the measure, House Resolution 933, on Tuesday. More than two dozen additional Representatives have also added their names as sponsors of the legislation.

Watson Coleman noted that the government is addressing the current opioid crisis differently than previous drug issues.

“The War on Drugs didn’t just fail to stem the damage of addiction, its very declaration failed to meet the values of equality and justice our nation was founded on,” she said in a release. “Congress has rightly decided to tackle the opioid epidemic with evidence-based policies that seek to solve the issue of addiction. But for years, we criminalized addiction in ways that caused irreparable harm not just to users, but their families, neighborhoods, and communities. As we offer up funding and resources to address the disease of addiction among overwhelmingly White users, we must acknowledge our failures to do the same with victims of color.”

The resolution specifically calls on Congress to admit the War on Drugs has failed to reduce drug use. It also offers an apology to victims of the failed policy.

“To acknowledge that the War on Drugs has been a failed policy in achieving the goal of reducing drug use, and for the House of Representatives to apologize to the individuals and communities that were victimized by this policy,” it reads.

Resolution Details Racial Bias

Rep. Watson Coleman’s resolution also details racial bias and propaganda that have fueled drug prohibition. It notes that in 1937, Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger was openly racist in congressional testimony.

“I wish I could show you what a small marijuana cigarette can do to one of our degenerate Spanish speaking residents. That’s why our problem is so great; the greatest percentage of our population is composed of Spanish-speaking persons, most of who are low mentally, because of social and racial conditions,” he said.

H. Res. 933 also notes the racial and political motives behind President Richard Nixon’s policies. Nixon formally declared the War on Drugs in 1971, saying drug abuse was “public enemy number one.”

But in 1994, Nixon aide John Ehrlichman admitted that the policy was really an effort to control liberals and blacks.

“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did,” he said.

The resolution also notes that the War on Drugs created conditions that exacerbated the opioid epidemic. The policy has also led to “racially-charged mass incarceration of millions” of people, according to the resolution.

The resolution calls for changes in drug policy and its creation in the future. It seeks to treat addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal justice matter. The measure also supports a review of War on Drugs-era laws and replacing them with evidence-based statutes. Groups including the Drug Policy Alliance and Amnesty International have expressed support for Watson Coleman’s resolution.

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Meet the Mother Teresa for Pot Prisoners

Beth Curtis used to fill her days playing tennis with friends and attending community board meetings in her rural home of Zanesville, Ohio, a small coal country city on the outskirts of Appalachia. But in the past decade, the social calendar of the 76-year-old widow and mother of three has all but disappeared. Instead, she spends her time corresponding with incarcerated people, sending mailers to cannabis companies, talking to the media, and updating her website,—all exercises dedicated to advocating for nonviolent offenders serving life sentences without the possibility of parole on marijuana convictions. Called the “Mother Teresa for Pot Prisoners,” Curtis is lauded as a crucial voice in criminal justice circles for her work calling attention to those who remain incarcerated on marijuana charges as the plant becomes legal across the country.

Meet the Mother Teresa for Pot Prisoners

Courtesy of Beth Curtis

Curtis, who worked briefly as a social worker in the 1960s, spent the majority of her life raising her three sons and volunteering on various boards. That changed when her brother, John Knock, was given two life sentences plus 20 years without the possibility of parole for his involvement with a marijuana distribution ring. During the 1970s and early ‘80s, Knock, who had moved to San Francisco, spent most of his time out of the country as part of a group that imported marijuana into Europe, Canada, and the northwest.

He left the group in the late ‘80s to spend time with his family and son, moving to Hawaii. Knock was indicted in 1994, picked up in Paris in 1996, and extradited to the United States in 1999, where he stood trial at a federal district court in Florida. He was convicted of conspiracy to import and distribute marijuana and money laundering. Nine years later, when Knock’s legal team had exhausted all of his appeals, his loved ones were left in disbelief of the future that awaited him.

“Our family was shocked because we really didn’t understand the justice system and thought it couldn’t be right,” said Curtis.

“The people who are serving life sentences, egregiously long sentences, are really stunned people are making millions of dollars off the product they’re in federal prison for life for,” Curtis said.

Curtis, who was 66 at the time, had honed her skills on the internet investing in small pension plans in the early ‘90s. She started searching government websites looking for people who had similar sentences for marijuana. She looked for cases that appeared to involve people who were incarcerated solely for marijuana offenses and wrote letters to them in prison in hopes they’d be willing to share more.

“It wasn’t that easy, at that time there weren’t a lot of people who were advocating for them,” Curtis said. “When a stranger writes to you in federal prison I think it’s very logical they were afraid it would be someone who would be an outside confidential informant trying to get information about them that would do harm.”

Once she earned their trust, Curtis drew on the conversations to write profiles for her entirely self-funded website in a bid to raise awareness for people like her brother who were condemned to spend the rest of their lives behind bars for marijuana.

“It’s pretty satisfying to be able to give them some kind of the story on the outside,” she said. “Every story is a tragedy.”

Eventually, word spread among prisoners, who started contacting Curtis with names of other inmates for her to profile. Curtis said she believes in clemency for all nonviolent drug offenders but she wanted her website to specifically focus on people who just had marijuana convictions. To maintain these standards, she committed to an arduous vetting process that involved trudging through court documents to double check backgrounds and weed out anyone who had unrelated convictions.

Curtis’ reputation has grown over the years and with that, she’s become a regular source for media navigating the sometimes intricate world of marijuana lifers and commutations. She regularly offers her expertise for articles, helps reporters fact check confusing court documents, and connects them with incarcerated people for interviews.

Curtis doesn’t know how many nonviolent drug offenders are now serving life sentences for marijuana but says there aren’t as many as people would expect. The website currently lists 29 people, separated into age categories of “inmates over 62” and “inmates under 62.”

One man in the latter category, Andy Cox, was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and sentenced to life without parole in 2009 for growing plants in Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest using a landscaping business as a cover. The 54-year-old former firefighter and father of three is incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary Big Sandy in Kentucky, a high-security facility known for numerous violent incidents. In an email to High Times, he praised Curtis as an “angel for myself and other pot lifers.”

“She has helped me to keep strong and never lose hope,” he wrote. “Her personality and strong will keep a smile and love in my heart. She’s my angel.”

Amy Povah, a formerly incarcerated person and founder of the CAN-DO Foundation, an organization that advocates for clemency for all nonviolent drug offenders, christened Curtis as the “Mother Teresa for Pot Prisoners,” alluding to the Roman Catholic Saint known for her charitable work. CAN-DO works closely with Life For Pot and has taken over some advocacy work for pot lifers in recent years. Povah credited Curtis’ work vetting cases as a boon to many other advocates as “many people, myself included, have benefited from her body of work.”

At least five pot lifers who Curtis has advocated for have received commutations, but Cox and Knock were among the more than 3,000 cases denied commutations or pardons by former president Barack Obama before he left office in January 2017. Curtis had been helping families of pot lifers prepare complicated clemency petitions to be processed through Obama’s Clemency Project 2014, or CP14, which then Attorney General Eric Holder said could shorten the sentences of more than 10,000 incarcerated people behind bars for nonviolent offenses.

“It was pretty devastating. I honestly could not believe it,” Curtis said. “It was all very hard because everybody who didn’t receive mercy contacted me and they needed reassurance there’s still hope and frankly there still is.”

Meet the Mother Teresa for Pot Prisoners

Curtis, left; her brother John, center; her former sister-in-law Naomi, right; Courtesy of Beth Curtis

Curtis recalled being interviewed by a reporter the day after her brother and other pot lifers learned they wouldn’t be getting out. After being asked if she was discouraged that Obama was gone and Trump had taken his place, she told him that surprisingly, she was not, she recounted to High Times.

“My brother has been in prison through the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations and so I don’t see hope backwards, hope has to be forward.”

Her optimism may not be displaced as the president has reportedly become obsessed with his power to grant mercy, revealing on June 8 that he is reviewing a list of 3,000 people “that have been treated unfairly or where their sentence is far too long.”

Curtis pointed out that clemency is now especially relevant as marijuana is increasingly decriminalized and legalized while a bill to end the federal ban is gaining momentum.

But the policy shifts are bittersweet for those still behind bars for their own roles in harvesting and distributing the plant. In an effort to build support from people benefiting from the new regulations, Curtis has amassed a database of cannabis business enterprises, conglomerates, and venture capitalists to whom she sends mailings urging them to advocate for those serving life sentences for cannabis. There aren’t many in the industry doing so, Curtis said—a surprising revelation, given that the plant is now part of a $9 billion industry projected to employ 292,000 people by 2021.

Curtis talks to her brother a few times a week but has passed on work like communicating regularly with pot prisoners to other advocacy groups such as CAN-Do and Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), whose president, Kevin Ring, heralded her as an inspiration.

“When advocates say, ‘When a person goes to prison, the whole family serves the time,’ you just have to look at Beth’s life. I don’t think she’s breathed a free breath since her brother went to prison,” he said.

She still spends every day on for LifeForPot, however, working from home on her 13-acre piece of land just outside of Zanesville’s city center. Her husband passed away three years ago and although they had different interests, she called him her “biggest cheerleader.” Curtis admitted she’s neglected many of her friends over the past decade but said they’re all tolerant of her mission. Spending the last 10 years fighting for pot prisoners hasn’t taken a toll on her physically, however, as youthful-looking Curtis joked that she wants more wrinkles to match her age. What she does have, she said, are a pair of personality traits she credits as the tools that drive her work.

“Obviously I’m a very obsessive-compulsive person and I’m pathologically optimistic.”

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