Philadelphia University Announces New Cannabis Industry MBA Program

The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia announced last week that it would begin offering a Master of Business Administration degree program focusing on the cannabis industry. The university is currently enrolling students in the Cannabis Industry Option MBA in Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business program and will begin conducting classes online in September.

Founded in 1821 as the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, the first college of pharmacy in North America, the University of the Sciences now offers more than 30 degree programs from bachelor’s through doctoral degrees in the health sciences, bench sciences, and healthcare business and policy fields.

Andrew Peterson, the executive director of the University of the Sciences Substance Use Disorders Institute, said in a press release that the new degree program will help train business professionals for the quickly growing legal cannabis industry.

“There are many unique aspects to the medical cannabis and hemp industries, and those in this new industry have been testing the waters for the last few years,” Peterson said. “This new program will help to formalize those teachings for those currently in the cannabis industry, entering the field, or interested in other fields associated with the industry.”

Teaching the Business of Cannabis

The new cannabis MBA program at the University of the Sciences, which the university says is the first of its kind in the United States, will be offering coursework that includes education in the business of cannabis, hemp, and dispensary operations. The option includes four elective courses that were created in partnership with the Substance Use Disorders Institute with input from cannabis industry professionals.

Coursework in the program will include Introduction to the Medical Cannabis Industry; Finance and Regulation in the Medical Cannabis Industry; Cannabis Marketing and Sales, and a project-based course where students will work to write a business plan or bring a product to market.

Peterson added that as cannabis legalization continues to spread, the new industry will see new opportunities to integrate with more conventional business sectors.

“As the industry grows, and the potential for medical cannabis to converge with the pharmaceutical industry, a specialization in pharmaceutical and healthcare business will be an asset to those in the cannabis industry,” said Peterson. “A combination of healthcare, pharmaceutical, and cannabis business knowledge and expertise will be incredibly valuable as graduates move forward in their career.”

The University of the Sciences MBA program is the second graduate degree program focusing on the cannabis industry to launch recently. In June, the University of Maryland revealed that it was launching a Master of Science in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics degree program.

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Cannabis Church Goes High Tech

A new cannabis-inspired multi-sensory experience in Orlando, Florida is blending music, light, live performers, and theatrical effects with a spiritual message about overcoming life’s obstacles. The production, titled “The Reflections Show,” was created by cannabis advocate and technology artist Joseph Andrew.

As the owner and visionary of “The Reflections Show,” Andrew has set out to create an experience that is both uplifting and cathartic. To do this, he combines his message with an audio-visual production that includes elements such as music, live performances, and state-of-the-art lighting effects.

“I saw there was a void in lighting productions at cannabis churches so I wanted to design something from the heart that had a lot of programming behind it so you could really feel the energy of the technology and our message,” says Andrew. “The main goal is to create a fundamental mind shift in the way people think and treat each other by using mega-church technology.”

Joseph Andrew

Addressing the Stigma Around Cannabis

Andrew believes that the experience has the power to change people’s attitudes about marijuana and how it can be incorporated into a healthy and spiritual lifestyle.

“We are breaking the stigmas surrounding cannabis by creating an all-inclusive haven molded by a new generation of conscious minds,” Andrew says about the mission of the Reflections Ministry.Without a plan, the best ideas are only dreams and at Reflections ministry, it becomes a place of opportunity, guidance, and transformation. There is no intrinsic value that can buy the passion we possess deep within, or our beliefs of the power of plant healing alternatives. Thus, we are using state of an art technology, light, and sound to bring spirituality and plant culture together.”

Joseph Andrew

High Tech Production

Augmenting the sensory experience with massage chairs and 3D glasses, the audience is treated to an artistic mix of intelligent lighting effects, video projection, transcendent music, and live performers including DJs, dancers, and acrobats. Further drama and excitement are built through the use of analog theatrical effects including fog, foam, bubbles, and confetti, adding to the production value. Each show ends with a message of inspiration and personal growth from Andrew for those in attendance to contemplate.

To create the show, Andrew controls the lighting and other effects with advanced software and  high-tech lighting consoles.

“It takes hundreds of hours to execute the programming for a single song,” says

Andrew, “I’ve spent thousands of hours over the years just refining how it all interphases and comes together.”

Joseph Andrew

Ministry Plans to Support Local Community

Andrew already has ideas for the expansion of the Reflections ministry and is seeking sponsors and investors to help fuel its growth. Plans for the future include the construction of a cafe featuring plant-based comfort foods from Jaya Bressack. The venue will also be available to rent for seminars, weddings, video production, and other private events.

Andrew’s ministry also plans to support the local community by hosting fundraisers, food drives, and counseling services. A donation of 5 percent of the revenue raised will be donated to the advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project to support its work fighting for the reform of cannabis laws.

Joseph Andrew

The Creator

Joseph Andrew is not your average tech-head. From a young age, he showed an uncanny aptitude for repairing electronics and seemed to naturally understand computer software and technology, while gravitating towards ambient lighting and electronic music. It wasn’t until later in life he discovered the ability to affect the energy in his environment using lighting and music which he would eventually master and choreography down to the millisecond.

Joseph Andrew

Inspiration from Cannabis

Through his formative years, Joseph was able to connect with his creative side using cannabis, which he feels has been bestowed to us by a higher power. Cannabis provided him the strength needed to get through the hard times and realize his life’s purpose by creating something meant for everyone to enjoy. His favorite strains include Blue Dream, Juicy Fruit, AC/DC, Granddaddy Purple, Durbin Poison, Jack Herer, and White Widow.

Joseph Andrew

Opportunities

With either your ROI investment, a pledge, or sponsorship, Reflections will be given the opportunity to do more than grow, it will blast off into a new dimension of entertainment on par with many of today’s leading productions. But one thing that sets this show apart from any others is its heart and soul, and its message of hope that inspires healing and transcendence. Without a doubt, this is an amazing opportunity for anyone to be involved with, a production that owns its potential to be ‘the next big thing’. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

Joseph Andrew

Jobs

Growing a movement like Reflections will create many wellpaying Jobs in our community.

Videographers, Editors, Audio Engineers, Camera Operators, Lighting Technicians, & front of house personal to name a few.

Reasons to get involved

  1. Reflections consist of over eight years of relentless research and development with 500K in investments.
  2. Years of sweat equity, huge sacrifices, passion for our project and the message it delivers that makes the audience part of the show.
  3. 5% of all donations will go directly to MPP (Marijuana Policy Project) in their efforts to continue changing the laws of prohibition. Also, we want to give back to the community in ways to enrich others and help them on their journey to enlightenment.
  4. We have already test marketed our show to over 300 people, many lives have been changed while also bringing the hope & unity that many are seeking.
  5. Reflections will help to break the stigma on Cannabis allowing more people to indulge in a safer, more educated & responsible way.

Joseph Andrew – 407-731-0767

Click here to donate.

Click here for a virtual tour.

Non Profit EIN
83-1955065 – Reflections Arts & Culture, INC – Florida Sunbiz.org

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Website

Joseph Andrew

The Future

In addition to being a place for finding inspiration, Reflections will open its doors to aerial yoga/meditation, weddings, private parties, filming and photography, musical events/bands, seminars.  There will be a plant-based café run by Jaya Bressack, who has over 15 years cooking experience with a specialty in plant-based comfort food. Also, With an advanced menu for special events.

Continuing to develop as it breaks through its Beta phase, Reflections will expand into a full-blown production with the addition of more lights, a larger theater, more performers and surround sound.

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El cannabis y la salud mental: trastorno bipolar.

Los expertos en salud mental advierten que el cannabis puede no ser un tratamiento adecuado para el trastorno bipolar.

El trastorno bipolar, con la misma probabilidad de afectar a hombres y mujeres, hace que el estado de ánimo, la energía y la claridad mental de una persona varíen enormemente. Tal fluctuación lleva a la persona a experimentar olas de manía y depresión. La mayoría de los pacientes experimentan la aparición del trastorno bipolar alrededor de los 25 años, aunque los adolescentes y los niños pueden desarrollar el trastorno bipolar en menor proporción que los adultos. En total, el 2,6% de la población de EE. UU. Tiene trastorno bipolar.

Existen cuatro tipos de trastorno bipolar, con síntomas que van desde sentirse increíblemente positivo y energizado, hasta deprimido y sin energía. Dependiendo del tipo de bipolar que tenga una persona, los síntomas pueden incluir un aumento de la actividad, problemas para dormir, agitación, pensamiento rápido, patrones de habla rápidos y comportamientos de riesgo. Otros pueden sentirse con poca energía, incapaces de encontrar la felicidad, incapaces de concentrarse, experimentando una pérdida de apetito y posiblemente considerar la autolesión.

Melissa Vitale dirige una empresa de publicidad de cannabis con sede en Nueva York. Después de luchar con sus emociones durante toda su vida, finalmente se le diagnosticó un trastorno bipolar. “Mi estado de ánimo incontrolable a menudo me hacía sentir como si estuviera en la cima del mundo. Yo era la niña más feliz y más útil. Cuando mi estado de ánimo cambió, sin embargo, sentí una pared de emoción que me impedía ver con claridad. Estaría hirviendo de ira y queriendo golpear, patear, golpear o insultar a cualquiera que no me estuviera diciendo que todo estaba bien “.

A los doce años, empezó a autolesionarse, lo que la hizo sospechar que tenía un trastorno bipolar. 

Con millones de personas solo en Estados Unidos que tratan el trastorno bipolar, tanto los pacientes como los médicos siempre están buscando el tratamiento adecuado que pueda ayudar. Algunos recurren a la marihuana para darse un capricho. A menudo, esto se hace por medios ilegales: el trastorno bipolar no es una condición de calificación común para los programas de cannabis medicinal de los estados. A pesar de esto, una parte de las personas que viven con el trastorno bipolar insiste en incluir el cannabis en su tratamiento.

Algunos estudios sugieren que este no es un método viable. Un estudio de junio de 2017 de la Universidad de Washington sobre los efectos de la marihuana en la salud mental descubrió que “el consumo de marihuana y los trastornos por consumo de cannabis son notablemente más frecuentes entre las personas con trastornos del espectro bipolar en comparación con la población general y las personas con alguna enfermedad mental”.

El análisis observó informes que afirmaban lo contrario, su estudio encontró varias asociaciones adversas. Las cuales mencionan:

“Con respecto a los trastornos del espectro bipolar, el uso de la marihuana se asocia con un empeoramiento de los episodios afectivos, síntomas psicóticos, ciclos rápidos, intentos de suicidio, disminución de la remisión a largo plazo, un funcionamiento global más deficiente y una mayor discapacidad. “Los pacientes bipolares que dejan de usar marihuana durante un episodio maníaco / mixto tienen resultados clínicos y funcionales similares a los que nunca lo hacen, mientras que el uso continuo se asocia con un mayor riesgo de recurrencia y un funcionamiento más deficiente”.

El Dr. Paul Song es una autoridad en cannabis medicinal, además de formar parte de la junta nacional de Physicians for Health. Señaló estudios adicionales que sugieren que el consumo de cannabis no se recomienda para personas con trastorno bipolar.

“La investigación ha encontrado que los pacientes con trastorno bipolar que consumen cannabis han aumentado los episodios maníacos y depresivos, los resultados son más deficientes del tratamiento y el cumplimiento, y presentan su primer episodio maníaco a una edad más temprana”, dijo en una respuesta escrita, que también incluyó el estudio vinculado. Aquí.

A pesar de las sugerencias de algunos de los médicos, muchas personas han recurrido al cannabis de todos modos. En algunos casos, las personas comenzaron a consumir cannabis para tratar los síntomas que no descubrirían que eran trastornos bipolares hasta mucho más tarde. En otros, los pacientes recurrieron al cannabis como una opción médica cuando fueron diagnosticados.

Jeff Allen es un paciente de Cannabis de 27 años de Ontario, Canadá. Fue diagnosticado con trastorno bipolar hace nueve años y comenzó a consumir cannabis dos años después, a la edad de 20 años. El intérprete de teatro musical dijo que sus síntomas eran tan graves que no podía interactuar en público durante casi dos años.

En una respuesta escrita, Allen dijo que el cannabis le salvó la vida y cambió su mundo. “Durante los extremos, alto o bajo, es como si mi cerebro fuera un automóvil y el acelerador se empujara al piso. Después de la medicación, es como si ese pedal se cayera del suelo y volviera a poner mi cerebro por debajo del límite de velocidad “.

Vitale se encontró luchando a principios de sus veinte años antes de buscar ayuda por sugerencia de su entonces novio. Incluso entonces, la confirmación de su condición no fue bien recibida. “Fue un camino largo y difícil llegar allí, pero una vez que lo hice a los 22 años, detesté de inmediato el diagnóstico bipolar, olvidando que me había diagnosticado correctamente una década antes. Mi médico, en el día de mi diagnóstico, me dijo que me había automedicado con cannabis durante toda la universidad “.

Ella dijo que su regreso a casa del médico estaba lleno de ira, pero eso cambiaría después de fumar antes de irse a casa para la clase. Ella ya no estaba enojada. “En 10 minutos y en un cuenco lleno, mi estado de ánimo había terminado en 180. Sabía que los médicos y Melissa de 12 años tenían razón: yo era bipolar”.

El defensor del cannabis y paciente Mickey Nulf comenzó a usar cannabis a los 11 años, pero no fue diagnosticado con trastorno bipolar hasta aproximadamente 13 años después. Dicho esto, el joven de 29 años ahora siente que sabía algo sobre sí mismo mucho antes del diagnóstico. “Siento que incluso cuando era tan joven, estaba usando cannabis para ayudar con algo, pero no lo entendía del todo”.

Nulf explicó que durante muchos años, su uso sería un conjunto con medicamentos farmacéuticos prescritos. Sin embargo, él escogería ir solo con cannabis en torno a su diagnóstico.

“He elegido seguir consumiendo cannabis porque las píldoras siempre han sido reparaciones temporales o adormecimiento de la vida donde el cannabis me ha permitido experimentar la vida”. Por primera vez. Estoy más feliz en general. Mis saltos no son tan bajos, y mis subidas no son tan temibles. Soy capaz de regular y disfrutar de lo que me rodea en lugar de dejar que el mundo me pase por alto “.

Olivia Alexander, dueña de un negocio de cannabis, es otra de las que renuncia a los medicamentos. Lo hizo usando CBD.

El fundador de los productos Kush Queen CBD pasó siete años combinando productos farmacéuticos para tratar su trastorno bipolar. Ella dijo que este ciclo dejó su sistema inmunológico disparado. Eventualmente, comenzaría a usar 100 mg de CBD por vía oral cada día. Ella escribió cómo el CDB juega un papel importante en su plan de cuidado. “No fue tan simple como verter CBD en él, pero con la combinación de terapia, dieta, ejercicio y CBD oral / tópico, pude dejar la medicación”.

Mientras Alexander y Nulf decidieron no usar ningún producto farmacéutico, otros optaron por mantener ambos en su plan de tratamiento. Alexander explicó: “Es importante para mí tener en cuenta que, en mi experiencia, dejar los medicamentos no es la mejor opción para todos. He visto a miembros de la familia beneficiarse de el CDB en combinación con medicamentos recetados, supervisados ​​por un médico “.

Ella agregó: “La salud mental no es una talla para todos y tampoco lo es el CDB; sin embargo, funcionó para mí y cambió mi vida en el proceso “.

La conclusión es estar seguro de hablar con los profesionales médicos antes de tomar cualquier decisión. Algunos pueden tener dificultades para encontrar respuestas a través de sus médicos, gracias en gran parte a las regulaciones vigentes de los EE.UU. Este problema puede hacer que una persona no pruebe el cannabis como tratamiento. O bien, podrían terminar intentándolo de una manera poco legal.

“Lo que hago no está sancionado por el estado en el que vivo”, dice Vitale. “Compro todo mi cannabis ilegalmente, pero la forma en que lo consumo no es criminal. Me salvó la vida y me dio la capacidad de ser un ser humano normal “.

Si bien eso puede sonar bien, Vitale también enfatizó que esto no siempre será así. Ella lo llama “una hermosa alegoría para la vida”.

“Hay algunos días en que mi estado de ánimo, no importa lo que haga, se deprimirá. Como a veces, no importa cuánto planifiques, la vida te arroja una mierda a la vez. A veces tienes que atravesar el infierno, pero siempre, siempre mejorará “.

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Thai Lawmakers Reportedly Pushing for Medical Marijuana Research

In Thailand, there is a long cultural tradition of using cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. Like many of its neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, however, Thailand has historically imposed harsh anti-drug laws that strongly penalize cannabis cultivation and use. But late last year, the nation of nearly 70 million people became the first in the region to legalize medical cannabis. And now, Thai lawmakers are pushing to develop policies aimed at creating a robust medical cannabis industry.

In a policy document released July 21 ahead of a key national assembly debate set for Thursday, Thai leaders call for accelerating research and developing technologies to bring marijuana, hemp and other medicinal herbs into the country’s medical industry. The policy document also sets out the unique goal of enabling all Thai citizens to grow and sell cannabis for medical purposes.

Thai Lawmakers Propose Policies to Jumpstart Medical Marijuana Industry

In March 2019, Thailand held its first election since the 2014 military coup d’état that installed coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minster. Following the controversial March elections, Prayuth held on to power to head up Thailand’s civilian government with a ruling coalition of 19 parties. One of the largest parties of that coalition, the Bhumjaithai Party, made developing Thailand’s medical cannabis industry a central part of its agenda. And since the election, the party has been demanding policy action from Thai lawmakers and the prime minister.

One of the leading voices pushing to make medical marijuana a part of the government’s agenda is Bhumjaithai party leader Anutin Charnvirakul. Charnvirakul serves as deputy prime minster and health minister. And in statements to Thai media, Charnvirakul has called for changes to the banned drugs list and new rules to make it easier for hospitals to prescribe drugs containing CBD and THC.

The health minister has also called for highly permissive cultivation laws that would permit all Thais to grow and produce medical cannabis to make money. All of those demands are part of a policy document Reuters obtained Sunday. “The study and technological development of marijuana, hemp and other medicinal herbs should be sped up for the medical industry to create economic opportunity and income for the people,” the policy document said.

Policy Shift Could Position Thailand as Major Regional Cannabis Supplier

Support for a legal medical marijuana industry is widespread across Thailand and backed by the ruling military government. Late last year, the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly approved medical marijuana legalization with a vote of 166 to 0 (13 abstaining). After the vote, the lawmaker in charge of drafting the medical marijuana bill called its passage “a New Year’s gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people.”

Indeed, economic analysts predict a medical marijuana industry in Thailand could be a gift to the whole region. According to Bloomberg, the forecast for the legal cannabis market in Asia is expected to grow to $8.5 billion over the next five years. Those projections are prompting some in Prime Minister Prayuth’s coalition to push for full recreational legalization. It’s a move that has the support of deputy prime minister and health minister Charnvirakul, whose positions in government make it easy for him to change regulations and laws surrounding cannabis cultivation and patient access.

The Thai government is also taking steps to prevent its nascent industry from being overtaken by international cannabis conglomerates. Sopon Mekthon, who heads Thailand’s medical cannabis research efforts with the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, said “we want to be a leader in marijuana. And we have traditional Thai medicine knowledge that’s over 300 years old.”

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Cannabis Infused Creativity at LA’s Puff Pass & Paint Class

It’s a Saturday night in North Hollywood, and I’m about to take a painting class. It’s not just a regular painting class, though. Everyone involved will be at least a little bit stoned. There’s a big sign on the storefront with a cartoon joint and the words “Puff Pass & Paint.” I have a pre-roll in my purse, ready and raring to go. 

Upon entering the studio, I’m welcomed by instructor Austa Martin, whose clothes are endearingly completely covered with paint. Beautiful paintings created by Austa and the other instructors lined the walls of the studio, even the bathroom. Along the tables, easels are set up with canvases, paint palettes, water cups, brushes, and of course, ashtrays. There are also a few completed reference paintings, each one a little different: a version of a cityscape sunset scene. This is the painting we’re going to be creating tonight.

As we wait for more class-goers to roll in, I chat with Austa about how she started teaching these classes. “My friend saw [the job opening] and was like, ‘I think you’d be really good at this!’ and I was like, ‘That sounds like the perfect job.’ I hit it off with the owners and it’s worked out really nicely.” After teaching in Oakland for two years, she moved to LA and now teaches at this North Hollywood location. On top of this more traditional style of painting class, the studio also offers a mixed media collage class, abstract fluid painting (happily taught by Austa, as well, who is primarily an abstract artist). An “X-Rated” figure drawing class is in the works, too, with porn stars as models. 

“Before, for wine and paint classes, you’d smoke in your car before, you know? But now you can [smoke in class] and fuel your creative fire as you go, so it makes it really fun,” she says. “You’ll see…this class is a little different. Cannabis makes you so creative, so people really go off on their own whim a lot. Every painting is gonna turn out different. There’s always someone who goes rogue, who doesn’t paint what I’m painting at all, which is cool. I support that!”

As the other class-goers arrive, joints are being lit, and Austa let’s everyone know her name (“Austa, like pasta”) and offers up a bong for anyone who’d like to use it to smoke their own flower, as the classes are bring-your-own-bud. Once everyone’s settled, she begins to demonstrate at her easel in the front of the class, teaching us how to paint the background of the scene and blend colors to create a beautiful sunset gradient. She ensures us that we don’t have to worry about making our paintings look exactly like hers or any of the other reference paintings–they’re just there for inspiration.

For the most part, I decided to stick to the instructions and try to not mess up too badly. I was very serious about art in high school, and I’ve been wanting to get back into painting, but I always find myself being too critical of my own work, feeling like I need to create something perfect and that nothing I make is ever good enough. 

But in this particular class setting–especially after taking a few hits of my joint–I’m smiling, peacefully running my brush back and forth across the canvas, creating my sunset. Not perfect, but it’ll do. I’m content, painting and creating without judgement. 

Austa came over to check on me and my painting’s progress, and I told her how zen I felt. “It’s almost meditative, right?” she said. I agreed.

Next up, she taught us a couple different methods to create stars in the sky, if we wanted to include them–either making tiny dots with the hard end of our paintbrush or getting a little more daring and using a splatter paint approach. After waiting a little while for the background to dry, she gave us some pointers for how to paint some palm trees, mountains, and buildings. The instructions were broken down simply, step-by-step and we were encouraged to take our time and to add (or not add) whatever we wanted. 

When we were all waiting for our paintings to dry at the end of class, we got to walk around and check out everyone else’s creations. It was clear that, as Austa said, people had “gone rogue.” I couldn’t stop giggling at the accuracy of the prediction. One girl’s canvas was almost half painted black, with plants that looked like they were on fire. One guy decided to add a UFO and a floating phone booth into his scene. An older man had scribbled a motivational quote across his sky. Everyone was happy and smiling, complimenting each others’ masterpieces. I decided there was no other way I’d rather be spending my Saturday evening. This is exactly what I was looking for–a laid back environment that fostered creativity for me to get back into art.

So, who’s behind this awesome class concept? I spoke to founder Heidi Keyes about how Puff Pass and Paint got its start. As a Carthage College Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate, Keyes was doing rather traditional artist things right out of school. “I was selling my work, doing commissions, and a little bit of teaching,” she says. “A friend jokingly suggested I should ‘start weed and painting classes…like those wine and painting classes’ and I started them as something that I thought would be fun. The rest is history. They just took off!”

Took off is an understatement. She joined forces with Colorado Cannabis Tours to create CannabisTours.com (which offers everything from these art classes to farm tours to cannabis infused dinner parties). Now, Puff Pass & Paint has grown to 13 locations, the newest being San Diego. They hope to expand to even more cities as they are “legally able.”

“My favorite part about the classes is the way they bring people of all different ages, backgrounds, and experience levels of cannabis (and painting) together,” Keyes shares. “Cannabis is such a communal thing, and to see strangers laughing together, passing joints, making art, is so amazing and uplifting. As adults, we aren’t really encouraged to make art anymore, and Puff, Pass & Paint (and all of our classes) are about enjoying the process of being creative, instead of making a perfect work of art.”

That was exactly what I got out of the class – a creativity boost and motivation to enjoy the process rather than stress about creating a museum (or Instagram) worthy painting.

Keyes continues, “We want to continue to help remove the stigma of our favorite plant, and encourage people to make art, laugh, get creative, and enjoy themselves, even for just a couple of hours.” 

Mission accomplished.

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Florida’s Largest Police Force Stops Detaining People Over Pot Smell

The tell-tale smell of cannabis smoke has long been law enforcement’s best excuse for questioning and detaining people over suspected cannabis possession. And police often use “marijuana odor” as a pretense for stop-and-frisks and searches, whether they actually detected a smell or not. But in Florida, the mere odor of cannabis will no longer be enough cause to detain and search people suspected of consuming or possessing weed. Not because Florida police departments are relaxing their enforcement of marijuana laws. But instead, because Florida has legalized hemp, and officers don’t have the training or the technology to distinguish cannabis from its non-psychoactive cousin.

Florida’s New Legal Hemp Law Is Changing How Police Enforce Marijuana Laws

After the U.S. federal government legalized hemp late last year, states have been moving to revise their own marijuana laws to carve out space for legal hemp. Under the blanket prohibition of cannabis, many state laws didn’t make a distinction between hemp—now defined as cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC—and the forms of cannabis people consume for recreational and health reasons.

But in light of the lifting of the federal ban on hemp and hemp products, which range from clothing, food and textiles to cannabidiol (CBD) products, states are bringing their own rules in line with the new federal law.

And in Florida, the legalization of hemp is causing an interesting knockdown effect: it’s changing the way police enforce laws against marijuana. So when Florida’s legal hemp law went into effect July 1, 2019, removing hemp and hemp products from the state’s list of controlled substances and therefore making it legal to possess, Florida police departments began instructing officers that the smell of cannabis alone could no longer be just cause for detaining a person or conducting a search.

Despite the major difference between hemp and weed—their respective quantities of THC—the two breeds of cannabis have much in common. In the first place, hemp and weed have virtually the same odor. And to the untrained or inexperienced, the plants can look and feel very similar. Indeed, as far as their legal definitions go, the only difference between marijuana and hemp is which side of the 0.3 percent THC they fall on. Go over, and the law considers that to be an illegal substance. Stay under, and you’ve got legal hemp.

Miami-Dade Police Now Need “Odor Plus” to Detain People for Weed

And it’s exactly because of their similarities, and the apparent difficulty officers have telling the difference, that Florida police departments are changing their enforcement of marijuana laws. Before hemp was legalized, the alleged “smell of marijuana” was enough to stop, search and detain someone. Now, however, smell alone isn’t enough.

Instead, Florida police officers now have to produce “odor plus” in order to stop someone for suspected cannabis possession. And according to a memo sent to the Miami New Times by the Florida Police Legal Bureau, “plus” means additional factors that would lead an officer to suspect the presence of illicit marijuana and not legal hemp. “Accordingly, officers can no longer search a vehicle based solely on the odor of cannabis,” the memo reads.

The memo defines “odor plus” as including factors like signs of impairment, any admissions or statements a suspect might make regarding marijuana or any information or intelligence that suggests illegal activity. If an officer can articulate any of those factors, then they can detain and search a suspect.

Implementation of the policy shift began in sheriff’s departments in Central Florida, according to the Orlando Sentinel. And on July 19, the change was adopted by Florida’s largest police force, the Miami-Dade Police Department. Other police departments across Florida municipalities are following suit.

Will Legal Hemp Make It Harder For Police to Bust People for Weed?

Overall, the new “odor plus” requirements should make it more difficult for officers to stop, detain and even arrest people for suspected marijuana possession. And Florida’s legalization of hemp could introduce further changes to the way police investigate alleged cannabis possession. For example, the Florida Department of Police only tests cannabis samples for the presence of THC, not whether THC quantities go over the 0.3 percent limit, according to the Miami New Times. But now that plants with THC below that amount are legal, police will likely have to adopt new testing procedures.

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Beyond the Streets: Cannabis Isn’t the Only Counter Culture en Vogue

One of the first things that drew me into ‘counter culture’ at a young age was the sense of rebellion it evoked. Part of the ‘cool factor’ of smoking weed was that I wasn’t allowed to do it, and that I’d get in trouble if I got caught… it made me feel like an outlaw. I didn’t realize until years later that part of the reason I was writing my name on everything was because it was evoking similar feelings. I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, but the same feeling of rebellion that lead me to graffiti years earlier was the catalyst for arguably the longest lasting relationship of my life— my relationship with Mary Jane. 

We often don’t think of these two cultures as being particularly intertwined past the questionable legality—likely because graffiti typically involves a lot of running, and weed makes you, well, slow down. But still, the similarities are plentiful. I won’t dig into the minutia, but here’s the 101: both practices began as less-than-legal forms of expression, developed cult-like followings, exploded into major industries, and eventually moved into the cultural zeitgeist. Now, at a time where CBD is available at gas stations around the country, Street Art is maturing at a similar pace—moving from slaps and tags into coveted (and impossible to obtain) art pieces commanding top dollar. 

Last summer I bought three tickets to a show in Los Angeles that I saw on one of my favorite designers Instagrams. It was called Beyond the Streets. None of my friends had heard of it, but it looked interesting, so I managed to entice two of them to go through promises of a hazy trip over, and by buying their tickets. What we experienced was unlike any of the countless other shows I’ve seen since I moved to California – it was raw, it was creative, and it was FUN. From the split cop car, to the original Keith Haring, to the six-foot LA Hands, this show had something for everyone. Needless to say, when I found out they were opening a new show in New York, I had to check it out.

The show, which runs until the end of August, takes place across two floors of a glass-encased building on the edge of Williamsburg. Nestled along the Hudson river in arguably the most gentrified part of Brooklyn, the show juxtaposes the outlaw mentality that fueled street artists for generations against the vogue-like regard their content is held in today. Not only does it beautifully marry two seemingly unrelated frames of being, but the show really embraces it’s New York setting, recruiting the likes of east coast legends like Taki 183, CORNBREAD and SAMO to not only feature work in the exhibit, but to include Easter egg tags around the venue as well. (Try to find all of SAMO’s—they’re worth it, I promise.)

It’s worth mentioning that the show is MASSIVE. Accounting for roughly one full city block, BTS: NYC is packed with loads of new additions for this exhibition, as well as several fan favorites from LA revamped for round two. New elements include a Beastie Boys retrospective, complete with their original beat machines, logo designs, lyric sheets, and even a hilarious note from one of the hotels they stayed in asking them to stop throwing things from their window, a 30-year anniversary gallery celebrating some of Shepard Fairey’s biggest accomplishments, a slew of the ever-popular totems from Faile, and a beautiful collaborative piece tag-teamed by Takashi Murakami, MADSAKI and TENGAone. My personal favorites include the expanded and redesigned Barminski room, the Parla slabs, Risk’s shark, and the rusty can cart, but there wasn’t a single piece in the show that didn’t deserve it’s own spotlight.

After getting to roam the show for a few hours I caught up with Roger Gastman, graffiti historian and lead curator for Beyond the Streets, to chat about how far the culture has come.

High Times: What made you create Beyond the Streets? The irony of taking what used to be illegal and displaying it in beautiful galleries is not lost on me.

Roger Gastman: This show is all about the evolution of the art form of graffiti and street art. We brought together artists who helped shape and expand the landscape: graffiti and street artists operating at the highest levels with dynamic studio practices, as well as major artists inspired by graffiti and street art. Our aim is to celebrate the heights to which the world’s most recognizable modern art movement has risen.

HT: We’ve noticed that cannabis is undergoing a sort of identity crisis as it shifts from the outlaw / rebel culture into something more commonly accepted. Do you see that happening in street art? 

RG: The mural culture has exploded. And while it is awesome to see the display of public art it is often branded as street art. Legal murals done by artists are not street art just because they are outside. There needs to be more education on the movement, its history and its terms. But overall there will always be the next wave of kids who want to go out and write on things and don’t care about the rules.

HT: Do you see these cultures as being intertwined?

RG: Both have an outlaw, just-do-it nature to them that I don’t think will ever go away, no matter how mainstream they become.

HT: How do you feel about the corporatization of street art? Do you think it’s important that this stuff remains underground?

RG: While it has risen to incredible heights, it amazes me how much more can be done to educate audiences on the people and moments that make up this culture. This show is an attempt to highlight this impact, of mark making and rule breaking, and its impact on and intersections with pop culture. Vandalism as contemporary art—in our own way, without the confines or politics of an institution.

We hope this show continues to legitimize this art form, and shines a light on the people who have dedicated and risked their lives for their passion.

HT: What’s the most exciting / innovative thing you’ve seen come from the culture lately? Anything you never would’ve thought possible years ago?

RG: The world of graffiti and street art is MASSIVE. They are entire cultures with many subcultures that have spun off of them. I can’t keep up with how much keeps coming up. I find the most joy in continuing to dig up the history, something that as these cultures continue to explode will become more important.

HT: Is that the same thing that excited you about street art in the beginning?

RG: I’ve spent my life surrounded by graffiti and street art. You could say that I’m obsessed with understanding the culture, its origins, its evolutions, and the way it’s infiltrated culture at large… It’s incredible to me how far this culture has come, how large its impact is, and how diverse the creativity is.

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What’s in Your Stash? Sharon Letts, Producer, and Writer

“I identified as a stoner from the 70s for decades, until I presented with cancer in my 50s; now I’m an Educated Stoner.” – Sharon Letts

The first time I smoked weed was in 1975. I was 16 years old and on my way to high school, stopping in at a gas station bathroom, when one of the girls lit a joint and passed it around.

I was considered a good girl and had been a Girl Scout since Brownies. With Florence Nightingale as my first Shero, I became a Candy Striper in high school. I volunteered at the local hospital and delivered flowers, candy, newspapers and books to patients after school, while earning badges for community service.

Sharon smoking a joint in 1975, next to plants she grew in her mom’s rose garden when she was 16 years old – the year she became a patient, but didn’t know it.

But I was never considered a good student. Failing high school, struggling with an undiagnosed processing problem, the general misconception was that I just wasn’t very bright. 

After a few hits off the joint that morning, that was the first time I was able to focus in school. An assignment of writing one Haiku poem turned into writing ten in rapid concession, and I was first published as a poet at 19. 

Even then, I didn’t understand why it felt right; I was only told it was wrong. For decades I thought I was just a stoner who had to hide my cannabis use; even though it helped me focus and feel better, emotionally and physically.

From Stash to Apothecary

After working as a producer in television in Los Angeles, I was brought up to Humboldt County to produce a news show. While working in media in the cannabis capital of the world, I presented with breast cancer (Lobular carcinoma), and was given cannabis oil by Pearl Moon of the Bud Sisters of Southern Humboldt. 

The first night I took the strong oil (alcohol reduction, aka: RSO, FECO) I didn’t need the sleeping pill I’d taken for years. The next day I didn’t need the painkiller needed for a partially disabled knee. In two and a half weeks upwards of ten prescription medications, and numerous supplements needed for treating combined hormonal symptoms from both thyroid disease and menopause, were no longer needed. In two and a half months the cancer was gone, without surgery or the traditional therapies of chemotherapy or radiation.

I’m now part of a 30-year study on prevention with the American Cancer Society. Its director sent me a personal email thanking me for my participation, promising more cannabis questions in future questionnaires. 

Since then (October, 2012) my stash has turned into my apothecary cupboard, and my work has focused on cannabis as remedy, helping people to get back into the kitchen and make their own remedies from the garden. My stories are mostly all patient profiles, written for many publications around the world; translated into several languages.

Courtesy of Sharon Letts

Cannabis: My Gateway Drug to Other Healing Plants

Cannabis has become my main remedy. It was my gateway drug to other beneficial superfoods, or what I like to call, super plants. Superfoods have a wide range of beneficial compounds, with help for a wide range of ailments and symptom relief. This is why most people feel that the many stories of healing are too good to be true. After all, when taking pharmaceuticals, you need one pill per symptom. 

I was diagnosed with thyroid disease at 40. It’s a disorder of the thyroid gland, located at the base of the neck, distributing hormones throughout the body; keeping all of our systems in check.

According to Thyroid.org, more than 12 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with a thyroid condition; with 20 million diagnosed with thyroid disease; and upwards of 60 percent of the population not realizing they have the condition at all. 

The main red flags of thyroid disease, and subsequent hormonal imbalances, are digestive issues, slow metabolism and weight gain; constipation and bloating. Hormone disruptions are also sleep disruptors, leading to chronic fatigue and depression; with body temperature issues, including night sweats and hot flashes.

Women going into menopause already presenting with thyroid disease are in for a double-whammy of hormonal symptoms, including mood swings and increased empathy that can bring tears at the slightest provocation. 

The good news is that cannabis may help. To keep myself from sliding back into a sea of sadness, pain and cancer, I need to keep the beneficial compounds of cannabis and other super plants in my system on a daily basis, and treat it as though I had a prescription – as if they were farmaceuticals.

Little Stashes Everywhere

My medicating begins in the evening, as I’ve replaced sleeping pills with a cannabis oil capsule I make myself (recipe on my website). This dose covers a lot of territory, as cannabis strengthens the immune system while fighting off infections. It also gives much needed REMs, warding off fatigue and subsequent depression. 

I also take a chamomile oil capsule nightly (same recipe), after finding a study on chamomile treating depression. Chamomile capsules also replaced Valium for me; and I’ll take one, as needed, during the daytime for anxiety and stress (info on chamomile on my website).

If I’m not feeling 100 percent in the morning, I’ll take a capsule with combinations of moringa and guanabana – both superfoods. The moringa is uplifting for daytime use, combatting fatigue. Moringa is getting to be more commonly known; while guanabana is a popular superfood from South America, commonly used in Baja California, Mexico, where I live.

Throughout the day I’ll take one or two hits of flower with one of my favorite bongs, a retro 70s piece from My Bud Vase; or my cobalt blue bong by Jane West, Inc.

Smoking lifts endorphins quickly, easing depression. Taking just a hit or two of cannabis also helps me focus on my work – dealing with my ADD, on the spectrum. I’ve been known to grind chamomile flower up with cannabis for a calming smoking mix. 

Because of my anxiety issues I tend to choose hybrid cultivars that lean Indica to calm, and don’t pay too much mind to the names of flower. I do pay attention to THC counts – preferring them lower, as I’m not in this for the high, I’m medicating for real ailments. I’m honestly just trying to feel alright each day, using plants instead of pharma for diagnosed disorders, illness and cancer prevention.

I’ll also use a homemade tincture, as needed, depending on the symptom. Chamomile to calm or for tummy upset; Stinging Nettles for allergies; and a THCA (non-psychoactive) tincture for infection or pain. My go-to is a cold-gin-infusion, as alcohol infuses in a cold process and doesn’t activate THC.

My body and face lotion is also infused with any number of the superfoods named, as I no longer use retail sunscreen; but do aftercare with plants that have antioxidant compounds, namely cannabis, chamomile, moringa, and guanabana, or combinations thereof; adding rosemary or citrus peel as natural bug repellents.

Courtesy of Sharon Letts

Growing up on the beach in Southern California, then spending many years as a professional gardener, I’ve had my share of skin cancers, with a few removed – but, they typically come back worse. Most skin cancers I’ve been able to treat topically with a stronger cannabis oil salve (whole plant extract).

I also add fresh herbs to my cooking throughout the day, keeping vases of herbs on the kitchen counter for easy access. Most produce loses efficacy if stored in the refrigerator where perfectly good food goes to die. Keeping produce in bowls and vases on the countertop encourages daily and immediate use. 

You might say my own personal stashes come from the garden into just about every room in the house. Whether it’s made in the kitchen, smoked from my tray, or found in my apothecary cupboard – it’s all remedy, all day long. 

Quoting Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” My medicine happens to be in my stash, and my stash happens to be my medicine.

For more information on Sharon Letts and recipes from her Apothecary page, visit www.sharonletts.com

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Sustainable Plastic Packaging Options for Your Cannabis Products

A large part of your company’s brand image depends on the packaging that you use for your cannabis product. The product packaging creates a critical first impression in a potential customer’s mind because it is the first thing they see. While the primary function of any cannabis packaging is to contain, protect and identify your products, it is a reflection of your company in the eyes of the consumer.

For all types of businesses across the US, sustainability has become an important component for success. It is increasingly common for companies to include sustainability efforts in their strategic plan. Are you including a sustainability component in your cannabis business’ growth plan? Are your packaging suppliers also taking sustainability seriously? More and more, consumers are eager to purchase cannabis products that are packaged thoughtfully, with the environment in mind. If you are using or thinking about using plastic bottles and closures for your cannabis products, you now have options that are produced from sustainable and/or renewable resources. Incorporating sustainable elements into your cannabis packaging may not only be good for the environment, but it may also be good for your brand.

Consider Alternative Resins

Traditionally, polyethylene produced from fossil fuels (such as oil or natural gas), has been used to manufacture HDPE (high density polyethylene) bottles and closures. However, polyethylene produced from ethanol made from sustainable sources like sugarcane (commonly known as Bioresin) are becoming more common.

HDPE bottles produced with Bioresin.

Unlike fossil fuel resources which are finite, sustainable resources like sugarcane are renewable – plants can be grown every year. For instance, a benefit of sugarcane is that it captures and fixes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every growth cycle. As a result, production of ethanol-based polyethylene contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional polyethylene made from fossil fuels, while still exhibiting the same chemical and physical properties as conventional polyethylene. Although polyethylene made from sugarcane is not biodegradable, it can be recycled.

Switching to a plastic bottle that is made from ethanol derived from renewable resources is a great way for cannabis companies to take positive climate change action and help reduce their carbon footprint.

For instance, for every one ton of Bioresin used, approximately 3.1 tons of carbon dioxide is captured from the atmosphere on a cradle-to-gate basis. Changing from a petrochemical-derived polyethylene bottle to a bottle using resins made from renewable resources can be as seamless as approving an alternate material – the bottles look the same. Ensure that your plastic bottle manufacturer is using raw materials that pass FDA and ASTM tests. This is one way to help reverse the trend of global warming due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere.

PET bottles derived from 100% recycled post-consumer material.

Another option is to use bottles manufactured with recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate). Consisting of resin derived from 100% recycled post-consumer material, it can be used over and over. This is an excellent choice because it helps keep plastic waste to a minimum. Regardless of the resin you select, look for one that is FDA approved for food contact.

Consider Alternative Manufacturing Processes

Flame Treatment Elimination

When talking about plastic bottle manufacturing, an easy solution to saving fossil fuels is eliminating the flame treatment in the manufacturing process. Historically, this process was required to allow some water-based adhesives, inks, and other coatings to bond with HDPE (high density polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene) bottles. Today, pressure-sensitive and shrink labels make this process unnecessary. Opt out and conserve natural gas. For instance, for every 5 million bottles not flamed approximately 3 metric tons of CO2is eliminated. This is an easy way to reduce the carbon footprint. Ask your cannabis packaging manufacturer if eliminating this process is an option.

Source Reduction (Right-Weighting)

When considering what type and style of bottle you want to use for your cannabis product, keep in mind that the same bottle may be able to be manufactured with less plastic. A bottle with excess plastic may be unnecessary and can result in wasted plastic or added costs. On the other hand, a bottle with too little plastic may be too thin to hold up to filling lines or may deform after product is filled. Why use a bottle that has more plastic than you actually need for your product when a lesser option may be available? This could save you money, avoid problems on your filling lines, and help you save on your bottom line. In addition, this will also help limit the amount of natural resources being used in production.

Convert to Plastic Pallets

If you are purchasing bottles in large quantities and your supplier ships on pallets, consider asking about plastic pallets. Reusable plastic pallets last longer than wood pallets, eliminate pallet moisture and improve safety in handling. They also reduce the use of raw materials in the pallet manufacturing process (natural gas, metal, forests, etc.) aiding in efforts towards Zero Net Deforestation. And, returnable plastic pallets provide savings over the long term.

If You Don’t Know, Ask Your Cannabis Packaging Partner

It is important to find out if your plastic packaging partner offers alternative resins that are produced from renewable sources or recycled plastics. It is also prudent to partner with a company that is concerned about the impact their business has on the planet. Are they committed to sustainability? And, are they eliminating processes that negatively affect their carbon footprint? What services can they provide that help you do your part?

When you opt to use sustainably produced plastic bottles and closures for your cannabis products, you take an important step to help ensure a viable future for the planet. In a competitive market, this can improve the customer’s impression of your brand, increase consumer confidence and help grow your bottom line. Not only will you appeal to the ever-growing number of consumers who are environmentally-conscience, you will rest easy knowing that your company is taking action to ensure a sustainable future.

The post Sustainable Plastic Packaging Options for Your Cannabis Products appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.


Daniel Sloss: Sometimes They’re More Than Just Jokes

Daniel Sloss is backstage at The Largo nursing a bruised foot. He feels like the foot’s broken but can’t remember how or why. Then he leans back in his chair and gleefully admits he’d had a few beverages the night before in Studio City. While the reason behind the pain doesn’t matter, he’d love to be free of podiatry issues, having just kicked off a massive world tour across the US, UK, Europe and Asia. And while it’s not required, telling jokes on two healthy feet is certainly easier.

Growing up in Scotland, what inspired you to get into comedy?

Fuck, I’m not smart enough to do anything else. I’d always enjoyed comedy and my mom and dad are huge stand-up fans. When they lived in London after university, they used to go to a comedy club nearby where all the great British stand-ups legends were starting out. They would watch comedy all the time in the house, so I would watch comedy all the time in the house. And I loved making my family laugh because they would make me laugh. I remember being young and being in my bed and listening to my parents laughing downstairs and just being like, “I have to fucking know what makes my parents laugh so that I can make them laugh.” And I’d go downstairs and my mom and dad were watching Bill Hicks. I wasn’t even listening to what he was saying, I just liked the fact he was swearing and shouting. 

It took me until I was 16 to realize [comedy is] an actual fucking job. I mean, it’s not a real job, but you know, it’s the way some people make a living.

Did that realization coincide with writing for Frankie Boyle?

When I started off, Frankie was kind enough to let me backstage at a few of his gigs and introduce me to people and eventually brought me into The Stand, which is my local sort of comedy club. I think at the start, I was just so happy to be doing it, and then eventually started making money. I still have the first tenner I ever made. Framed. It fucking blew my mind that I made money out of telling dick jokes.

Every time somebody laughs at one of your jokes you go, “Oh good, I’m not alone.” You suddenly go, “I’m not alone in this horrific thought or this insecurity.”

Well, yeah. You’ve sold out shows throughout the world. 

Fucking ridiculous, man. It blows my mind. Anywhere from 400 to 500 seaters to a thousand seaters. It’s the coolest thing in the world. I’m really excited about this current tour because I’m going to a bunch of places I’ve never fucking been to.

In a 2016 New York Times piece, you talked about transitioning your material and “abandoning” your earlier audience. Has that switch made your material more universal?

The set that I do in the UK is very similar to the set I do in America. The only thing that changes is I talk a bit slower because of my accent and I make sure references aren’t so localized that they don’t make sense.

My answer to the “is comedy universal” question is it depends what kind of comedy it is. Fortunately, my comedy is about how much of a cunt I am everywhere I go. So it doesn’t matter.

A cunt in Ethiopia is a cunt in America–

Is cunt is a cunt is a cunt. I never expected to have this fucking reach. I love the fact that I get to do the exact same show I do in Lithuania that I do in Australia, that I do in Sweden, that I do in the UK, that I do in fucking Indianapolis or Texas or Los Angeles or New York or fucking Russia at some point this year. I don’t know why [my material] translates, but it does. I’m glad it does.

But do you think any of the current universality has to do with you switching up your material?

Oh, yeah. Yes, absolutely. Instead of doing what I thought people found funny, instead of just guessing and being like “I think people will find this funny, I think people will find that funny” and then trying to convince them, I started going “no, I know what’s fucking funny, it’s my job to be funny, I’ll tell you what’s funny.” It was nice to be able to start talking about the things that made me laugh, the things I found funny.

I used to go out and be like “okay, what are people talking about now?” They’re talking about this tv show? I’m gonna make fun of this fucking tv show. I would talk about my opinions on it and try and force myself into other people’s worlds. Now, I much prefer to talk about my view on things. Either you agree with what I’m saying, or I hope on the other side of things, you’re sitting there laughing “this is such a stupid opinion to have, only an idiot would believe this.” I like to make sure whenever I sound intelligent on stage, to remind my audience I didn’t go to university and that all of this is rehearsed, I just sound smart.

So you initially were doing jokes for others, but then leaned into yourself and your truth?

Man, when you’re able to do that as a stand-up it really stops you caring when people hate [your material]. Because if people go, “I don’t like your stand-up,” I go, “Cool, that makes sense, I would hate if what I did was universally loved.” I don’t think that’s fucking art. If people are like, “I think your comedy’s shit,” I’m like, “Good, comedy is subjective. You’re absolutely entitled to that opinion.” Sometimes I think my comedy is shit, but these fucking morons still come along and laugh at my jokes. I like [the audience] and they make me laugh as well.

Love or hate, at least your evoking a genuine response.

Yeah, man. Sometimes I forget how powerful comedy can be. Because most of the time, at least what I do, it’s just stupid dick jokes. It’s a man on stage having a fucking laugh. And then sometimes – especially with the success of “Dark” and “Jigsaw” on Netflix – you see how much it has resonated with people, on a profound level sometimes. This [current] level of fame is weird for me, man. I’ve been less famous for most of my career, which has really fucking suit me well. It’s been nice and [people are like] “hey, I love what you do.” Whereas now, with “Jigsaw,” people like to break up with their partners.

I saw you reposting those stats on Instagram.

It’s at like 105 divorces now, 40,000 something break-ups. People meet me after shows and they thank me. To me, it was originally just a joke. It was my truth and it came from an honest place. But just to see it resonate with other people so much that they make positive changes to their lives, it makes me occasionally go “I don’t think you can call them just jokes anymore.”

Sometimes they’re just jokes and sometimes they’re not. You don’t really get to dictate how somebody takes a joke. You can disagree with how they take a joke. If they get offended by it, you can stand by it and say, “I don’t care that you’re offended.” But I think you should just have a little bit of empathy sometimes, and when somebody goes, “I am upset with that,” and work out “why.” See if you care. 

Sometimes I’ve said some things and a fan has said to me, “I didn’t appreciate how you said this.” I’ll think about it and I’ll be like, “You know, actually. I get that.” I don’t care if I intentionally offend people. If I accidentally offend someone, that’s a bit like “Ah, fuck. That wasn’t what I meant to do.” I was attacking this thing and you got caught in the crossfire. I’ll check myself to make sure that doesn’t happen again. But then again, I’ll also sometimes be like, “Yeah, you jumped in front of that fucking bullet. You went out of your way to get offended there. And at this point, I don’t give a shit.” As a comedian, I think you can say and joke about anything.

Do you think you have a “home field advantage” when it comes to the enormous success you’ve enjoyed at the Edinburgh Festival year after year?

Yeah, the Scots are disgustingly supportive of their own. Abso-fucking-lutely. It doesn’t matter what part of Scotland I’m from, I’m Scottish. If you’re a New York comic, you’re popular in New York. If you’re a Los Angeles comic, you’re a Los Angeles comic. There’s no “American” comic. It’s the same [in England] – you’re a London comic or a Liverpool comic. I’m just a Scottish comic. It’s the whole fucking country. Cause we’re small and that’s our identity. But truly, at the festival, it absolutely helps because there’s all these international artists coming from around the world and people want to come out and see one of their own boys.

How did talking about being a self-professed “cunt” blossom into a great body of work?

That’s a Scottish thing. Self-deprecation. We have that sense of humor in Scotland where you make fun of everything and everyone regardless. That’s what our version of equality is. Don’t go around thinking you’re the tits. There’s nothing Scottish people hate more. Like, “Reign it in, cunt. Lose the attitude.” If you get too big for your boots, the Scottish people will bring you back down to your level. While some say it can be toxic, I think a lot of time it’s a great equalizer. I like the fact in Scotland, they still take the fucking piss out of me after shows.

Over here [in the US], people scream and they’re so excited to see you and they’re like, “Oh my god, I love you.” You meet them and you hug them and they shake. Whereas, I walk off stage in Scotland, and they go, “What’s up, cunt.” That’s more real.

In terms of my material, rage fuels me. I know some people have a very bad relationship with anger, in that they’ll let it out in bad ways. I’m filled with rage and things but I just channel it into stand-up. Things that annoy me, things I get annoyed by. And I know me being angry tends to be funny to people. Whatever pisses me off, I can rant for hours. I learned when I was very young I’ve got very firm opinions on things and people don’t like listening to your opinions when you’re yelling. But they will listen to your opinions if you put jokes in them. It was such a great way for people to pay attention to me. If I make you laugh, you’ll listen. There are certain things I’m passionate about and I want to talk about on stage. But the only way to do that is to stick a bunch of jokes in there and make myself look like an idiot.

How is cannabis involved in your creative process?

Weed is illegal in Scotland. There’s not really “pot culture” in the UK. I think I was one of the first ever comedians – one of the first ever people – to openly talk on the BBC about using marijuana. They were like, “We don’t normally do this.” I’m like, “It’s fucking weed, man.” It’s way more common…but in the UK, people aren’t as open about smoking weed and stuff, so it’s not really had the chance to thrive like it has in America, where people have for years been talking about how much weed they smoke.

I’m still giddy when I come to places where it’s legal. I can’t not do it. Sometimes it’s good for writing. Like I’ll write something completely sober and then come back to it stoned and re-write and see what works in different places. But over here [in America], to be able to go into a store like an adult and legally buy marijuana over the counter and not be forced to smoke in a back alley…I’m like a kid in a Willy Wonka chocolate factory.

The way you get drugs in Scotland is you text a guy, “Can I get some weed?” And then an hour later he arrives outside your house and goes, “I’m outside.” You go outside, you get in the back of his fucking car and his six year old son’s there. And you’re like, “Well this is fucking weird.” You go, “Can I have some weed?” He goes, “Yeah, sure. 20 quid.” And you go, “What type of weed is it?” And he goes, “It’s weed, get out of the fucking car.” There’s none of this sativa, indica, hybrid shit. No one knows the names of stuff. But it’s getting better. I have a really good dealer in the UK who makes edibles and vape pens, which are great.

I probably need to smoke a bit less. One of the main reasons I do it is because I do think it’s cool. It’s this illegal thing that you’re not meant to do but everyone does it. There’s absolutely a part of me that’s like, “Cool people smoke weed.” Weed also made me a better person. It made me more introspective. I used to be an angry and shitty teenager and I think smoking weed gave me a healthy level of paranoia. Like, I thought I was the best thing in the world. And then I’d get high and my brain would be like, “Maybe you’re not the best thing in the world.” And I thought, “This is actually a really good paranoia.”

Smoking weed taught me empathy as well. Instead of having visceral, instant reactions to things, I slowed down and processed them. Weed made me genuinely less angry. It allowed me to put myself in other people’s shoes. Even if I disagreed with what they’re saying, it allowed me to understand how they arrived at their conclusions. Before, I would say “This person is stupid and fucking wrong.” But instead, I would ask, “Why are they stupid and why are they wrong?”

I know I’ve arrived at this conclusion because of the experiences I’ve got, so that’s why I think the way I do. Other people think differently because they’ve lived different lives than me, what are their experiences? When you think about other people’s experiences – even if you still disagree with their opinions – you understand how they arrived at them. It makes them less fucking stupid.

The second you understand why someone believes something, it makes it so much easier to have a dialogue with them. It allows you to be like, “Hey. I know why you think this way. I get it. But here are some facts that you might not know, or here’s my experience. I understand where you’re coming from, can you try and understand where I’m coming from?” We’ll not necessarily fucking meet halfway, but we’ll have some level of empathetic communication.

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