Dear Danko: Expert Grow Advice on Plant Stages, Strains, and More

High Times’ cultivation specialist Danny Danko answers all your burning questions about being the best grower you can be. But first, some quick tips from the expert himself:

  1. Calibrate your pH and PPM meters monthly in order to ensure they’re working properly.
  2. Use a timer to turn off CO2 supplementation equipment when your lights are off.
  3. Intake fans for fresh air should be installed low in your room, and, because heat rises, exhaust fans should be installed near the top.

Subject: Vegetative Stage
From: Martha M.

How do I know when plants are in the vegetative stage? I’m new and I don’t understand all the growing terms. Thank you!

Dear Martha,

There are two main stages of cannabis plant growth: the vegetative stage and the flowering stage. These stages represent the different growth patterns of annuals from spring into summer and then into fall, when the plants reach maturity. When a seedling sprouts, it enters the vegetative stage, during which it grows branches and leaves. Outdoors, as summer ends and light begins to diminish, the plant enters the flowering stage, during which it slows branch and leaf growth while focusing its energy on producing male or female flowers in order to fill up with seeds before it dies with the first frost of winter.

Indoors, we re-create these seasons using a timer into which we plug our grow lights. For vegetative growth, we provide our plants with 18 or more hours of light per day. When we decide to induce flowering, we cut the light cycle to 12 hours on and 12 hours off per day. The plant will then transition from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage and begin its march to harvest.

A cellular cutting is suspended in agar in the tissue culture lab at House of Cultivar in Seattle/ House of Cultivar

Subject: Preserving
a Strain
From: Charles T.

My question is in regard to the preservation of a strain that has been reduced over time from environmental or genetic drift by using colloidal silver to produce feminized seeds. I’m talking about an incredible strain that I obtained through clippings when it had already been cloned many times and has since been cloned many more times. My biggest concern comes from the difficulty I’m lately having getting this strain to root during the cloning phase. I’m waiting on a shipment of 120 PPM colloidal silver; once it arrives, I plan to begin my first feminized-seed project. I would like to know what I should expect from the seeds produced. Will they also have difficulty rooting, or should the genetic blueprint be completely restored? Thanks for any help you can give me!

Dear Charles,

You are embarking on an interesting but difficult breeding project. You’re planning to spray colloidal silver on your female flowers in order to force them to show hermaphroditic tendencies and induce “male” flowers to form within them.

The pollen from these flowers contains no male genes, so this should result in females or hermaphrodites. When this pollen is spread onto the same female flowers, it’s called “selfing,” or creating an S1. If all goes well, the resulting seeds will be similar or identical to the original clone-only plant.

A different way to bring back the vigor of the original hybrid is to use a tissue-culture technique. This is similar to cloning, but on a smaller, cellular level. Once a plant has been duplicated with tissue culture, the resulting cuttings will be free of any pests, pathogens, diseases or other issues that result from stress, such as difficulty rooting or a general lack of vigor or potency.

Two seedlings emerge from one bean/ UP Grower

Subject: Twins!
From: UP Grower

Hi! We love reading your expert grow advice in High Times. We’ve been growing in Michigan for about six years and have used both seeds and clones. We recently purchased some feminized Gelato seeds, one of which sprouted twins! (Included is a photo you can publish to show what we mean.) We’ve never seen this mentioned in High Times. Is it a rare occurrence?

Dear UP,

Thanks for the kind words! Your plants are exhibiting a common mutation called polyembryony, in which two or more embryos exist inside one seed. Thus, like identical human twins, the seedlings that emerge will be exact copies of each other.

Subject: No-Till Tent
From: Giggle Grassachusetts

Greetings again! I’ve been wanting to create a no-till living soil (teeming with worms and microbes and using soil blended
with compost). I have a 2′ x 2′ and a 2′ x 4′ tent. Is this possible?

If so, do you have any recommendations as to what to use to hold the soil? I have found a few fabric containers, but they have compartments. Do I need to build my own container? I’d prefer to use fabric instead of wood. Also, would it be a bad idea to bury compostable kitchen scraps in the soil? Thanks for the awesome podcast!

Dear Giggle,

No-till farming is a very interesting growing concept in which soil is left undisturbed and organic material is added on top. Compost and other natural soil enhancers are piled on, and cover crops such as clover are grown and gently mixed into the top layer of soil in order to avoid destroying the beneficial mycelia that permeate the medium.

No-till growing can be accomplished in beds, boxes or fabric containers in even the smallest of spaces, but the important thing is to avoid adding any nonorganic or toxic nutrients or pesticides to your soil mix. It’s better to put your kitchen scraps into your compost bin or pile in order for them to heat up, break down and cure, rather than adding them directly into your soil. Thanks for your support of the Free Weed With Danny Danko podcast!

Subject: Don’t
From: Peter G.

Remember the good times from three years ago on the 420/710 catamaran cruise? This is Pete, who was disgusted with the Amsterdam
Cup the previous year. You said you remembered me, but I don’t know how because you obviously come into contact with many people.

Anyhow, I’m happy to report I’m four weeks into flowering a spectacular Acapulco Gold grown in coco under LED and fluorescent lighting to limit my power footprint. She’s looking great despite the lighting limitations. I’m alternating nutes and water every fourth day, and it seems to be working great. This way I’m not overwatering or overfeeding.

I switched to a 10/14-hour light/dark photoperiod from a 12/12 cycle a week ago as advised by Jorge Cervantes in his Cannabis Encyclopedia. The branches have just started to sag from the bud weight, and I’m now staking the plant to relieve any stress. Maybe next time I’ll just go with SOG netting, but it didn’t seem feasible to go that route in a closet. I really don’t have a
question, I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for all the great advice you give in your column.

Dear Pete,

Wow! Thanks for reaching out and thanks for the tips on properly feeding your plants. Overfeeding and overwatering are the two biggest mistakes made by beginner growers, and it’s always best to err on the side of caution as you describe. I’ll have to do a bit more research on the 10/14-hour photoperiod you mentioned because I haven’t heard of that being used before, unless it’s to save money on electricity or to reduce heat at the canopy level.

Subject: Wet and Dry Cycles
From: Humdrum Bum

I’m about to start a RDWC (recirculating deep-water culture) six-bucket system, which does not allow the plant’s roots to receive a dry period. Is the dry period important, or will plants thrive
with the proper amount of oxygen?

Dear Humdrum,

The wet/dry period relates to growing in a soil or coco-based mix. With most types of hydroponics, the nutrient solution is so well oxygenated that the roots can handle not drying out; in fact, they must remain moist at all times.

Deep-water culture relies on the roots dangling into an aerated solution so they have access to water, food and oxygen at all times. This mist feeds the roots and allows the plants to exhibit explosive growth rates. The important thing is to always keep the solution at the right temperature, pH level and PPM levels of nutrient salts in order for the plants to thrive.

Subject: Wick System
From: A. Cabrera

I am currently in the process of setting up a hydroponic grow. I have chosen to go with wick hydroponics, since this will be my first run of growing. I have built a frame for a box that will be 4″
tall, 4′ long and 20″ wide. The walls will be wood sealed with caulking then covered with Mylar. I am going to use a 120-volt 4-foot T8 ballast with two 16-volt LED bulbs until the plants are about 1 to 1½ feet tall in the vegetation stage, and from that point I will change to an LED grow lamp. I’m planning on using 5-gallon
buckets as reservoirs with rope leading up to either a 3-gallon bucket or a 1-gallon nursery pot. I am at a loss on which grow medium I should transfer the plants to once they are out of the seedling stage. I currently have the plants outdoors in Sunshine brand seedling mix. I water once or twice daily. I have two
questions: What is a good material to use as a wick that will not rot? And what grow medium can you recommend?

Dear A.,

A wick system uses capillary action to suck up water from a reservoir as plants need it. Cotton ropes are easy to find and use as a wick, but they are also prone to rot when exposed to water over time. Nylon rope will last longer, and it’s the best material to use for a wick system as long as you’re not opposed to using something acrylic and unnatural.

You can continue to use the Sunshine mix or transplant your plants into a different soilless mix such as ProMix, which is peat-based, or coco coir, which is made from the recycled husks of coconuts. Your roots will suck up whatever they desire, but you must be sure your reservoir buckets contain nutrient solution.

Subject: Mixed-Up
From: Uncle Buck

Hi, Danny—please help! I’ve accidentally mixed my seeds, both autos and feminized. I have managed to separate them by size.
Now I have three normal-size and nine small grey ones, and I have no idea which are which. Additionally, I don’t know how many of each I originally had. Cheers from Australia!

Dear Uncle Buck,

The size of the seeds will not tell you which are auto-flowering and which are feminized. You must plant them and grow them out to determine which are which. The ones that begin to flower regardless of the amount of light they receive are the autos. The others will be the feminized ones. Good luck!

Send your cannabis-cultivation questions

This feature was published in the March 2019 issue of High Times magazine. Subscribe right here.

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High Folks: Lisette Barajas on Healing Herself Through Henna and Marijuana

Cannabis encourages us to express our vulnerabilities. For those of us, who, through trauma and pain, have hidden from ourselves and the world, the plant has encouraged us to dive deep into ourselves and heal the pain that we’ve run from most of our lives. When Lisette Barajas, better known as Mehndi420 on Instagram, first started smoking in 2009, she didn’t know that the plant would help her heal from childhood sexual assault and allow her space to discover her passion for art therapy through henna.

“Unfortunately, I was sexually molested by my neighbor when I was 5-years-old,” Barajas shared with High Times. “That experience created a lot of shame and confusion.”

Courtesy of Lisette Barajas

When she was younger, Barajas attended therapy but it was to address the domestic violence issues she was experiencing at home. “I never addressed the molestation because my brain created a defense mechanism known as childhood amnesia,” she said.  

In 2009 while working on obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from California State University, Los Angeles, Baraja’s began to use cannabis recreationally. Around this time she was also taking a sociology course, which forced her to accept that her molestation was real. 

“Although I started using cannabis recreationally, it transcended into something more than that. Through cannabis, I have been able to cope with and process childhood trauma.” she said. “Smoking helped me deal with some of the emotions and triggers that come with working through abuse. I decided to become a social worker and now [I’m] transitioning into [art] therapy because of my lived experience.”

Courtesy of Lisette Barajas

It wasn’t until 2018 when cannabis became legal in California that Barajas began to take her henna hobby seriously and design cannabis motifs.  

“I have always doodled and loved to draw on myself. Henna allowed me to do just that minus the toxic chemicals of a [marker]. I first began by making my own paste, then I practiced elements, then [I] developed my own design style. My style is unique [because] I use the cannabis leaf as a motif and that isn’t common in the henna community,” said Barajas. “I began to apply henna designs with paint onto my personal smoking accessories. I started with a lighter, then a bubbler, and now I’m doing bongs.” 

She hopes that her work will help break the stigma of the plant and usher in more feminine energy into an industry that is heavily dominated by men. The cannabis industry is a boys club, and artists like Barajas want to shift the aesthetic to one that celebrates the feminine energy of the plant and the women who also indulge in marijuana’s goodness. 

“The [cannabis] industry is heavily dominated by men. Due to this, a lot of smoking accessories aren’t very appealing, some even look like penises. I want to smoke out of a piece that is pretty and that makes me feel good. Most pipes and bongs are just for function, and I want function and aesthetic,” she shared with High Times

Scrolling through her Instagram you will see her feminine designs grace the curves of bongs and women.  “I want to feminize the cannabis industry and make it more female-friendly. Whether that be through designing bongs or doing lingerie-style henna on influencers. I want to bring out the creativity that cannabis inspires in women,” she wrote over email. 

Through her relationship with cannabis, Barajas has become aware of herself in so many ways. Her henna designs exemplify so much. She uses the traditional henna art form on cannabis accessories to illustrate how, if we all continue to search, we can find various ways to explore our vulnerabilities and heal our pains.

Courtesy of Lisette Barajas

“Cannabis has helped me cope with the triggers that come with abuse. It has helped me relax and reflect on my trauma, thus helping me connect with other people with similar experience,” shares Barajas. “Combining cannabis and henna to practice mindful meditation through art therapy has helped me heal and I want to share that with others.”

She is preparing to go back and get her masters in Art Therapy, and she plans to incorporate all forms of cannabis and plant medicine into her her future work. Currently, she is working on collaborations with MAV Glass and Functional China.

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NYC to Seal Marijuana Misdemeanor Records for Roughly 350 People

In a decision that attorneys say could open the door to other class-action lawsuits, a petition has been approved to seal the criminal records of 350 people with marijuana misdemeanors in Manhattan.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. worked with nonprofit and pro-bono lawyers from groups like the Legal Aid Society to make the mass record sealing a reality. The move was set into motion by a change to New York’s Raise the Age Act. That 2017 legislation stated that people with two or less nonviolent offenses would be eligible to have their records sealed after a decade if they had no new offenses on their record.

But as good as that provision sounded, it has been difficult for individuals to access on their own. 1,200 people have managed to get their records wiped clean, out of the estimated 600,000 who are eligible for the program. That’s due to barriers that stand in the way of average citizens, who may not be aware of the policy change, or have issues navigating the bureaucracy that is obligatory to claim the record sealing.

New York has taken a singular approach to marijuana policy over the past year, a period that began with Governor Andrew Cuomo pledging to legalize recreational cannabis during his reelection campaign. After much hype, the plan ran aground over issues of social justice and tax structure. But a few weeks ago, legislators somewhat resuscitated the state’s desire to change marijuana policy when they passed a bill that decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis, reducing penalties to $50 for one ounce and $200 for amounts between one and two ounces.

But while policy debates raged in Albany, local jurisdictions in New York were also considering measures that would dismantle harmful Drug War policies. In April, the New York City Council considered a bill to ban many employers from instituting mandatory drug tests for employees. It ended up being passed by a vote of 40 to 4, and will apply even to companies whose headquarters are located outside of New York state. The council also passed a bill that bans people on probation from being tested for marijuana, a common parole and probation violation that can have disastrous effects on a person’s job and housing prospects.

Much of the push to remove marijuana offenses from the state’s criminal justice system is based on the growing acceptance of the fact that much of the war on drugs was racially motivated. Although usage rates have largely been shown to be consistent across racial groups, Black and Latino individuals have consistently been arrested and convicted at higher rates than whites. That disparity led one group of Black lawmakers to threaten to oppose Cuomo’s legalization plans if they did not include sufficient plans to correct past marijuana-related racial injustice.

The Wall Street Journal article announcing the mass record sealing quoted a 43-year-old single father named Devin whose two 1997 marijuana possession misdemeanors were proving prohibitive in his job search. “I feel vindicated and grateful,” he said. “Everyone in my family had good jobs, and I’m trying to follow in their footsteps. If I can get a job with the city, I’ll be doing even better than I’m doing now.”

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10 comestibles de cannabis extremadamente potentes

¿Eres un conocedor de cannabis que busca llevar su experiencia al siguiente nivel? Hemos compilado una lista de algunos comestibles de hierba altamente potentes.

En la vida de todos los amantes del cannabis, llega el momento de explorar las fronteras de la tolerancia hacia los comestibles de marihuana. Ser capaz de perfeccionar un nivel ideal de dosificación de THC, medido en miligramos, es un conocimiento útil para cualquier persona que guste del cannabis, pero honestamente no conocía el mío, aparte de saber que era “mucho”. Me propuse empujar a propósito esos límites y descubrí cuán alto podría llegar.

Determinando tu dosis

La última vez que me sentí incómodamente alto fue durante un juicio para una competencia de comestibles para High Times Cannabis Cup hace años , mucho antes de que los resultados de laboratorio en las etiquetas fueran la regla y no la excepción. Entendiendo que tengo una tolerancia extremadamente alta, descubrí mi rango de dosificación efectivo a través del proceso de investigación de este artículo, pero no voy a compartir ese número con usted. Ese es mi numero. Es probable que su dosis efectiva sea muy diferente de la mía. ¡Lo que me eleva es probable que difiera de la persona promedio en 100 miligramos o más!

El consumo de cannabis no es un concurso para determinar quién puede ingerir más, por lo que es mucho más importante que determine su rango ideal que compararlo con el de otra persona. No existe una dosis estándar de marihuana *, o incluso un rango de dosis, que se adapte a todas las personas. El tipo de cuerpo, el peso, la dieta y el metabolismo juegan un papel importante en la forma en que las diferentes personas experimentan los comestibles de marihuana. La cantidad que una persona puede consumir cómodamente podría hacer que otra se ponga paranoica, desorientada y con náuseas.

(* El Estado de Colorado define “1 dosis” como igual a 10 miligramos de THC, una cantidad relativamente pequeña destinada a guiar a los nuevos usuarios recreativos. Editor)

Si bien exagerar con los comestibles de hierba no suele ser peligroso y nunca ha sido fatal, puede ser muy incómodo. Cuando experimente con dosis altas de comestibles, siempre es una buena idea tener algo de CBD a mano, ya que este cannabinoide actúa como un antídoto para aquellos que han consumido demasiado THC. 

Más importante aún, no sobre medicarse en primer lugar. Comience con poco y vaya despacio, consumiendo solo 10 mg. o incluso menos si te consideras un peso ligero o estás comiendo cannabis por primera vez. Espere al menos 4 horas para ver cómo se siente antes de comer más, ya que el cannabis tarda un tiempo en digerirse por completo, especialmente si ha comido una comida grande ese día. Intente aumentar la dosis de 5 a 10 mg. cada día, continúa subiendo hasta encontrar un lugar donde te sientas cómodo. Recuerde, ¡siempre puede comer más, pero no puede comer menos!

Los beneficios de los comestibles megadosificados

Los comestibles de alta dosis de marihuana tienen una base de admiradores pequeña pero dedicada, y estos pacientes tienden a comprar comestibles con más frecuencia que el usuario casual promedio. No es sorprendente que estos consumidores incluyan pacientes gravemente enfermos que luchan contra los estragos del cáncer y otras enfermedades debilitantes junto con aquellos que padecen dolor crónico intenso. Varios expertos señalaron que las dosis altas de comestibles de hierba son populares entre los insomnes y otras personas que buscan ayuda para dormir.

Sorprendentemente, un grupo demográfico particular está comprando muchos comestibles en dosis altas, pero no por la razón que podría pensar. Aaron Justis, propietario del Colectivo Buds and Roses, explica que las personas mayores son, por mucho, los mayores consumidores de comestibles de alta dosis, pero están utilizando estos potentes productos para microdosificar durante todo el día.

“Nuestra clientela no está comprando comestibles en dosis altas para llegar a estar súper alto”, afirma Justis. “Están comiendo solo un poco a la vez y, por lo general, hacen que los comestibles duren una semana o más”.

Tiene sentido porque no solo es mucho menos costoso comprar un producto comestible de dosis alta en lugar de 10 productos de dosis moderada o baja, sino que el paciente también puede comer menos para lograr los mismos resultados. Cuando se trata de la mayoría de los comestibles de marihuana, significa menos ingesta de ingredientes poco saludables como azúcares y grasas.

Muchos de los consumidores de altas dosis de comestibles con los que hablé, especialmente las mujeres, prefieren esta opción debido al deseo de comer menos y mantenerse en forma. “No quiero desperdiciar mis calorías comiendo una gran galleta medicada o brownie que nunca tendrá un sabor tan bueno como uno no medicado”, explica la abogada Mara Felsen. “Quiero algo que entregue una dosis poderosa en un bocado o dos”.

Ninguno de los comestibles en este artículo están destinados a ser consumido en una sola sesión; ¡especialmente no los brownies de 1000 miligramos! Para la mayoría de las personas, comer tanto THC te hará sentir enfermo. (O puede que solo duermas de 12 a 24 horas).

La prueba

Para ser lo más justo posible, probé estos comestibles de hierba en las mismas condiciones, a la misma hora del día, con el estómago casi vacío. También dejé un mínimo de cuatro días de recuperación entre probar otro comestible. Al hacerlo, aprendí:

  • No todas las afirmaciones de las etiquetas y los resultados de las pruebas de laboratorio fueron precisos, a juzgar por la fuerza de los efectos. Por ejemplo, un 175 mg. Cheeba Chew me puso sobre el borde “esto ya no es divertido”, mientras que un 200 mg. Starr gomoso me puso agradablemente emocionado.
  • Algunas veces hubo variaciones de dosificación dentro de un solo producto. Esto podría deberse a que el producto no se mezcló adecuadamente, o también podría ser que los bordes de una sartén de productos horneados descarboxilan más que el interior (un amigo productor de comestibles una vez probó sus brownies en el laboratorio y confirmó que este fenómeno puede ocurrir) . Incluso podría deberse a diferencias en mi metabolismo ese día. Sin embargo, es posible experimentar pequeñas variaciones dentro de un solo comestible dividido en porciones más pequeñas.

Por lo tanto, abastezca su refrigerador con muchos refrigerios saludables y sin medicamentos para combatir los bocadillos, tenga a mano mucha agua helada en caso de boca de algodón y prepárese para viajar más allá de los brotes. Comenzando con 175 miligramos de Cheeba Chew y trabajando hasta el comestible más psicodélico jamás creado: 1000 mg. brownie: exploremos algunos de los productos de dosis altas más populares de California.

Cheeba Chews Deca Dose |
175 milligrams of THC

Es sorprendente que 175 mg. de THC esten empacados en una sola pieza de chicloso masticable del tamaño de un bocado, y este comestible se presenta fuerte y rápido. Vienen empaquetados uno a una caja, pero no sería demasiado difícil cortar en trozos más pequeños; y recomiendo hacer eso. El sabor es indudablemente herbáceo, sin dejar dudas de que estás consumiendo una marihuana comestible muy fuertemente dosificada. ¡Afortunadamente, no tienes que comer mucho! Con una reputación estelar de consistencia, puede estar seguro de que cada vez que obtenga un Cheeba Chew, tendrá una experiencia predecible.

Hashman Infused Sativa Dark Chocolate |
200 mg. of THC

Es bueno poder elegir entre variedades sativas e índicas al elegir comestibles, y Hashman’s no decepciona. Este chocolate sativa inspira un subidón vivo perfecto para el trabajo creativo nocturno. El empaque recientemente rediseñado facilita la comprensión de cuánto consume, con una rueda de chocolate ingeniosamente dividida en 10 segmentos de 20 mg. THC cada uno. Con un ligero matiz de cannabis, este chocolate es de alta calidad y sabroso, ¡adecuado para cuando quieras darte un capricho!

Starr 1 Purple Star Gummies | Twitter: @starr1redstar
200 mg. of THC

A diferencia de muchos caramelos gomosos infundidos con THC, el medicamento que contienen se incorpora al caramelo, no se rocía sobre él. El sabor es aceptable, no demasiado dulce, con el único indicio de que el sabor del cannabis es un ligero matiz amargo. La dosis, que reclama 200 mg. por gominola, no parece exacta. Estas gominolas son fuertes, comí un dulce pequeño y estuve agradablemente high durante horas, pero 200 mg. normalmente me habría hecho correr por el spray de CBD, y no fueron necesarias tales medidas de rescate.

Punch Bars |
225 mg. of THC

Cuando vi por primera vez esta caja de chocolate en miniatura que decía contener 225 mg. THC, era escéptico, pero Punch hace honor a su nombre. Dividido incrementalmente en nueve piezas pequeñas de 25 mg. cada uno, es fácil suspender una dosis que tenga sentido para usted. Con una agradable textura cremosa, el chocolate tiene un fuerte sabor a cannabis, pero la cantidad que necesita comer es tan pequeña que, de todos modos, apenas importa. La dosificación también parece consistente en toda la barra, como de barra en barra. La variedad de chocolate con leche y mantequilla de maní tiene algunos sabores dulces y salados.

Topanga Harvest Mini Muffins | Instagram: @topangaharvestco
280 mg. of THC

¡Mi nuevo comestible favorito! Me gustó todo acerca de estos pequeños bocados de exquisitez medicada. Con un agradable sabor afrutado, la variedad de arándanos no es demasiado dulce y apenas sabe a cannabis. Ocho panecillos del tamaño de un bocado que contienen 35 mg. vienen en el paquete para una dosis total de THC de 280 mg. Es fácil valorar su dosis comiendo solo algunas de estas pequeñas magdalenas, ¡pero saben tan bien que se sentirá tentado a comer más! El zumbido del THC llegó rápidamente y me dejó relajado todo el día.

Waska Medical Cannabis Cookies and Cream Hemp Milk |
300 mg. of THC

El personal de Buds and Roses afirma que este es uno de sus comestibles de marihuana de alta dosis más populares, especialmente para personas con problemas de sueño. La botella pequeña de 2 onzas contiene 300 mg. de THC en unos sorbos de leche de cáñamo vegana, sin gluten y sin OGM. Quería que me gustara este producto, ¡realmente lo hice! Está bien hecho, bien etiquetado, es razonablemente saludable y está hecho de cáñamo, pero el sabor era empalagosamente dulce y extremadamente herbal. Sin embargo, es potente y dormí bien. Intente diluirlo con té o agregarlo a un batido para una sensación de sabor más agradable.

Day Dreamers |
Dreamcatcher 360 Chocolate
360 mg. of THC

Un líder de la industria, este chocolate de dosis alta se divide en seis segmentos envasados individualmente de 60 mg. THC cada uno, lo que hace que sea muy fácil valorar su dosis, ¡incluso si el caramelo se derrite! Si bien hay un poco de sabor a cannabis, este producto es muy efectivo y parece estar dosificado de manera confiable para una experiencia constante cada vez.

Voodoo Sours Gummy Ribbons | Instagram: @voodoosours
375 mg. of THC

Este paquete de dulces de cinta gomosa afirma contener 375 mg. de THC, pero después de comer la mitad de la bolsa, apenas sentí nada. En general, el dulce sabe bien, pero algunas cintas tenían un fuerte sabor a cannabis, mientras que otras no tenían ninguno, lo que significa que incluso dentro del paquete el producto no se dosifica de manera consistente. Incluso al elegir una bolsa para comprar en un colectivo local, el presupuesto comentó que los paquetes de Voodoo Sours a menudo se vuelven bastante aceitosos en el interior, por lo que parece que estos fueron medicados con aceite agregado.

Venice Cookie Company |
The 4.20 Brownie – Cookies & Cream
1,000 mg. of THC

Yowza, 1,000 mg. de THC en un solo brownie de tamaño normal! Si bien hablé con muchas personas que pensaban que tal noción era absurda, en realidad estos brownies son bastante convenientes para guardar en el congelador. Como obtienes tantas dosis de una sola barra, también terminan siendo una buena ganga para aquellos con un presupuesto limitado. Este brownie cuenta con una textura rica y cremosa que te permite cortarlo en porciones adecuadas con un mínimo desmoronamiento, además de que el cannabis se distribuyó uniformemente en todo el producto horneado. Teniendo en cuenta la inmensa dosis, el sabor a hierbas era fuerte pero no abrumador.

Korova Black Bar Brownie|
1,000 mg. of THC

Casi tan bueno como el brownie de Venice Cookie Company 4:20, este producto es un poco más seco y un poco más desmenuzable …. Un aroma picante generalmente presagia un fuerte sabor a hierbas, pero afortunadamente el aroma de este brownie fue más fuerte que su sabor. Es importante administrar una dosis fuerte en pequeños bocados, pero noté ligeras variaciones en los efectos de pieza a pieza, lo que significa que el cannabis debe incorporarse de manera más consistente en la masa general.

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Billy Hayes: Riding the Midnight Express

Billy Hayes likes to say he’s been in the cannabis industry for the past 50 years, and is amazed at the progress made in the new world order of weed.

“I recently visited every dispensary in Las Vegas,” he shared. “As I walk in each door, I can’t believe that this exists. I was like a kid in a candy shop! It’s absolutely mind-blowing to see all the products out there now from this one amazing plant that’s sustained humankind for thousands of years.”

Recently, he hit the pavement in his hometown of Las Vegas to promote his one-man play, “Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes.”  The play has him reliving his experience, while telling the truth of his time in a Turkish prison for smuggling 2.5 kilos or a little more than four pounds of hash out of Istanbul, Turkey. The show plays one night only in Las Vegas on Saturday, August 17th at 8 p.m. at the Big Springs Theater. 

“The movie, Midnight Express, was loosely based on my book, but had a lot of misnomers – specifically of my speaking out in court against the Turkish people. I love Turkey and its people. At the time I went into court I had been practicing the Zen of yoga – I was into love and light, and there’s no way I would have screamed out my hatred for the Turkish people – that just didn’t happen.”

The riff with Turkey has long since been settled, and he’s been welcomed back since. The other fallacy from the film was that the arrest was the first time he had smuggled hash out of Istanbul.

Billy Hayes at his trial; Courtesy of Billy Hayes

“I had done it three times prior, with no issues,” he explained. “It was a common thing to do back then. I was in my senior year of college in Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to become a journalist, when a friend who had just returned from Istanbul shared some hash with me, and that’s when everything changed. “

His friend conveyed how cheap the hash was in Turkey, that you could buy it on the street, and they didn’t check baggage or frisk you before boarding the plane. But in the late 1960s, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and its army began blowing things up, leading to a crack-down on security, and he was searched. Hayes was one of the hash smuggling victims, if you will, from another country’s war.

The irony of his arrest and subsequent prison sentence (reduced from life to 30 years), is that on his very first night in prison he was handed a hash pipe. This trend would continue, as hash was commonly enjoyed in Turkey and in prison. In fact, of the tourists in prison with him, most of them were there for smuggling hash. Offers continued upon his escape, rowing 17 miles to Greece and freedom, with offers to buy hash at each turn. 

“For me, to be able to walk into a dispensary today and purchase whatever product I want with cannabis, concentrates—hash—is bittersweet. There are still people sitting in prison all over the world for selling weed, and here I am enjoying the bounty in the now legal state of Nevada. It’s surreal, to say the least.”

Hayes, who was just 14 hours shy of receiving a degree in journalism upon his arrest, said he wanted to travel to see the world, to be able to tell stories. But, he never imagined a lifelong gig of being the guy who escaped a Turkish prison for smuggling hash.

His escape in 1975, after five years in prison, was indeed a story. The book, Midnight Express, is named after what they call an escape. It was published in 1977 and quickly optioned for a film of the same title, written by Oliver Stone. By 1978 he was at the Cannes Film Festival, where the film won awards and received accolades. But the real prize was meeting his wife, Wendy. The couple are still together today after 39 years of marriage.

In his backpack during his arrest was a book on yoga, Light on Yoga, by B.K.S. Iyengar, and he credits his continued practice on helping him get through prison and the aftermath of fame to follow.

“Yoga saved my life in prison and it still does every day,” he said. “I’d get up before dawn every morning, spread a blanket and do my yoga. I was so lucky to discover yoga when I did. Yoga keeps me healthy, but more importantly, it keeps me emotionally balanced. It keeps me reasonably sane and I’ll take reasonably sane any day of the week!”

Hayes doesn’t consider himself a cannabis patient, sticking to smoking flower of sativa from a glass pipe, in lieu of dabs or concentrates.

“I like to be high,” he laughed. “The first time I smoked I was in college – it was 1966 when I was passed my first joint. We were in an attic, sitting in a circle and I took a hit. My friends said not to take in too much, but I took a really big hit, held it in for as long as I could. As the smoke flowed out of me, my whole body tingled. I really, really liked it and knew it was for me.”

He’s proud to say he’s smoked weed just about every day of his life since. Rather than call him a criminal for smuggling hash out of Turkey to the U.S., you could say he was meeting supply and demand. In light of legalization spreading across the world today, that’s not a stretch.

Hayes has performed his one-man show, “Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes,” hundreds of times around the world. He’s happy to share the story in this new age of cannabis and hemp acceptance. 

 “In visiting dispensaries in Vegas to promote my show, I’ve loved the energy of the young people I’ve met,” he shared. “They are healing the world, and I’m happy to be a small part of that healing 50 years later.”

Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes
Saturday, August 17, 2019
8:00 p.m.
Big Springs Theater
333 South Valley View Blvd., Las VegasFor more information visit,

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Flashback Friday: The Deep Dark Secrets of Chocolate

Each Friday, we’re republishing an article from the High Times archives. This week, we’re bringing you an article by Robert Lemmo, published in the October/November, 1975 issue.

Nineteenth-century America has oft been called “a dope fiend’s paradise,” owing to the fact that opium, morphine, cocaine, cannabis extract, nitrous oxide and various other neo-taboo highs were then freely and cheaply available to all comers. Modern dopers are apt to clench their nostrils in abject jealousy at the thought of their forebears sauntering down to the village greengrocer or corner apothecary to pick up an ounce of pure coke for $2.50—the price in New York at the turn of the century. The bubble burst in 1914 when the passage of the Harrison Act—a measure designed to keep the gentle weeds and helpful powders from the populace—drove thrill seekers to the street and prices to the ceiling. Luckily, chocolate slipped through the traps.

Chocolate, you ask? That treat for tots, that lozenge for lovers, that morsel for Mom? The very one. For, throughout its long history, chocolate has been looked upon as a delicious temptress, used not only as a food but also as a homicidal stimulant, a summoner of Satan and a devastating aphrodisiac. In “The Song of Right and Wrong,” G.K. Chesterton wrote:

Tea, although an Oriental,
Is a gentleman, at least;
Cocoa is a cad and a coward,
Cocoa is a vulgar beast.

For all its vulgarity, chocolate is an immensely popular beast. World cocoa production in 1973—74 was estimated at 1.45 million tons; in the United States alone, chocolate is a $2.1-billion-a-year industry. And far from being confined to the mundane rectangular chocolate bar, cocoa today manifests itself in a spectrum of chocolate imagery rivaled only by the chopped chicken liver sculptures of the New York bar mitzvah catering renaissance.

The present-day chocoholic may, for example, chew chocolate-flavored gum, smoke tobacco mixed with chocolate, roll joints with chocolate-flavored papers, drink cocoa wine and liquers, sniff choco incense or stink with chocolate perfume and massage oils, scarf down chocolate psychedelics (the so-called chocolate mescaline), stash away chocolate space sticks (a dried “energy food”), smear on a film of cocoa butter, crunch chocolate-coated ants, snort a dash of chocolate snuff, masturbate over chocolate nudes from Düsseldorf, even lick chocolate-sprayed genitalia. True chocolate addicts will even attempt to spend chocolate coins, write with chocolate pencils and ignite chocolate cigars. The great mystery is how this potent drug, once as psychoactive as any mushroom on the Mazatec menu, has come to be an economic and dietary staple in and out of Christendom.

Chocolate is a product of the cocoa bean, the seed of the evergreen Theobroma cacao, as the Swedish botanist Linnaeus named it in the early eighteenth century. Theobroma is Greek for “food of the gods,” which is how the ancient Aztecs referred to cocoa, their favorite aphrodisiac; cacao refers to the tree itself. Cocoa is the bean that springs therefrom, and chocolate is the product made by mixing cocoa butter with ground cocoa beans to make a smooth paste. The word “cocoa” sprang from European confusion between the cacao tree and the cocoanut palm, and like many errors, it stuck. Modern heads wishfully confuse cocoa with coca, the source of cocaine. Although cocaine comes from Erythroxylon coca, a totally different plant, these two gifts of nature do have one essential link: both produce an alkaloid that gets you off.

Cocoa beans are 2 per cent theobromine, a central nervous system stimulant that dilates the blood vessels of the brain and heart, dilates the bronchii of the lungs, stimulates the production of digestive juices and acts as a diuretic on the kidneys. In county jails, the prisoners’ commissary is delivered on Friday afternoon, and so much chocolate is eaten by cons at that time that no one can sleep on Friday night.

To varying degrees, chocolate shares these physiological effects with cocaine, caffeine and theine, the active component of tea. Cocoa’s advantage over the other common ingestible alkaloid plantstuffs is taste. Of chocolate, coffee, tea, coca leaves and let’s include betel nuts, chocolate surely has the richest taste. The sensation of the mouth being inundated with flavor, familiar to the chocolate hound, is caused by the strong stimulation of many taste buds, foremost among them a nerve called Krause’s end—a bulbous little nodule, extraordinarily sensitive to all kinds of stimuli, that is located mainly in the lips, mouth and penis or clitoris. Thus the oral attractiveness of chocolate is decidedly sexual.

In addition to this physiological link, the psychology of chocolate is bound to the concept of pleasure. Chocolate is one of the commonest reward-and-punishment devices used by parents who, otherwise careful to keep coffee and tea away from their tykes, blithely charge up young neurosystems with theobromine as a way of teaching their child the difference between right and wrong. And who among us does not recall Peter Paul’s Mounds candy bar commercial? Eight or ten times a day during our childhood TV addictions, we watched chocolate sensuously poured over the bar’s two breastlike almonds. Who, more recently, relished Ann-Margaret in Tommy, humping her hot-dog pillow after being sprayed with chocolate from her smashed television tube?

This kind of pleasure association gives chocolate that extraspecial kick of habituation—chocolate lovers will feel a genuine need for chocolate that nothing else can satisfy. In this sense, chocolate is as addicting to a large number of people—millions, probably—as are sex, cigarettes, roulette, cocaine, what have you.

And, to top it off, chocolate is good food. About 90 per cent of the cocoa bean can be digested, comprising 40 per cent carbohydrates, 22 per cent fat and 18 per cent protein. So chocolate, a cocoa product combined with sugar, is a quickly assimilated nourishing energy food—something which the Allies in World War II took full advantage of, plying fresh-faced recruits with bars of chocolate to ensure a high level of homicidal energy in combat. In America, chocolate became an essential wartime industry; manufacturers were given priorities on plant construction materials, equipment and supplies for making chocolate. And we won.

As with most of life’s basic pleasures, the precise origin of cocoa is unknown. The Aztecs, Mayans and Toltecs were busily cultivating the cacao plant over 3,000 years ago, however, and the Indians of South America still revere the ancient god of the air and high places, Quetzalcoatl, who brought cacao seeds to Earth from Paradise. Quetzalcoatl’s mythic deed seems to parallel the Promethean introduction of fire to the ancient Greeks. Just as Prometheus had incurred the ill will of Olympus, Quetzalcoatl’s generosity angered his fellow deities in the Aztec pantheon. They flayed him alive in punishment and sent forth what was left of him to wander the world as a disembodied ghost.

Quetzalcoatl promised to return, a myth that gave Cortez a brief advantage many years later, when the credulous and worshipful Aztec peasantry mistook him for their long-lost benefactor. But by that time Quetzalcoatl, for all his esteem in the imagination of the lower orders, had slipped somewhat in the regard of the ruling class: the great Aztec Montezuma and his court took their chocolate pretty much for granted and drank it mainly in homage to Xochiquetzal, the goddess of love. Among other things, it was this decadent state of affairs among the Aztec leadership that made the subjection of the Mesoamericans a pushover.

Bernal Diaz del Castillo, in his classic True History of the Conquest of New Spain, writes of Montezuma’s meals: “From time to time they brought him, in cup-shaped vessels of pure gold, a certain drink made from cacao, which he took when he was going to visit his wives.” In fact, Montezuma drank none other than chocolatl, a bitter cacao product that he considered ‘‘ambrosia for the gods.” Chocolatl was prepared by drying, roasting and grinding cocoa beans, which were then pressed into cakes after being inflamed with such spices as red peppers and chili, with perhaps a little maize thrown in. To serve, these cakes were mixed with water—latl was the Aztecan word for water, and choco described the sound made as the cocoa was whipped in a bowl. The finished product had the consistency of honey, and would be sipped and held in the mouth for a few seconds until it dissolved.

High Times

The Aztec court was so fond of this concoction that its daily intake was well in excess of 2,000 cups, with Montezuma himself accounting for 50-odd chalicefuls. Quetzalcoatl knows, he needed the energy to service his multiple wives and estimated 700 mistresses, whose demands were so strong by nature that Montezuma apparently forbade them to partake of the erethistic liquid themselves. Subsequent authorities disagree, however, as to the precise motivation of this policy: was Montezuma merely being a nasty male chauvinist pig, or was there already a fatal imbalance in the Aztec boy-girl ratio that led to an overpopulation of sexually demanding females? Were the annual mass sacrifices of virgins attempts to abate this trend? Or was Monte merely being coy, preferring to sweeten the aphrodisiacal effects of the potation with the psychological spice of the forbidden? At any rate, the women of the court did obtain their chocolatl, though not without resorting to intrigue and subterfuge. Ultimately, it was a Mexican princess named Donna Marina—”of fine figure, frank manners, prompt genius and intrepid spirit” [Diaz]—who spread the secret of cocoa to Europe.

The daughter of the prince of Painala, Donna Marina was captured by Mayan Indians and kept as a slave, until Hernando Cortez and his soldiers arrived just west of the Yucatan to begin their conquests of Mexico (or New Spain, as they called it). When the Mayas succumbed to the Europeans, Donna Marina was handed over as a spoil of war. Cortez first presented her to a lieutenant, but later took her for his own and had a son by her. Because she knew not only Mayan but also Aztec dialects, and quickly picked up Spanish, Donna Marina was invaluable to Cortez. She acted as an interpreter to both the highest royalty and the lowliest chattel.

Among the wondrous things she told him was that cocoa was valued especially highly—in fact, it was money. Cocoa beans were honored as currency throughout the markets of Mexico, and continued to be for 250 years after the conquest. Modern-day Ecuadorians still call the beans pepe de oro, “seeds of gold.” In Cortez’s day, ten beans would buy a good rabbit, a hundred a slave, and according to Bishop de Landa, chaplain to Cortez’s entourage, “He who wants a Mayan public woman for his lustful use can have one for eight to ten cocoa beans.” There was even a problem with counterfeiters who would fill hollowed-out beans with dirt and pass them off on the pre-Columbian rubes. What’s more, winked Donna Marina, cacao was the “food of the gods,” a little bit of which could make a conquistador drop his sword for a bit. Cortez wasn’t interested, though, and neither was the court of King Ferdinand, who had a look at some cocoa beans brought back by Columbus and saw in them a monumental lack of potential.

It wasn’t until Cortez entered the capital city as Montezuma’s guest in 1519 that he tried some. Sipping from golden cups in the potentate’s gilded palace, most of the Spaniards pronounced the beverage to be rank. Joseph de Acosta commented: “The chief use of this cocoa is in a drincke which they call chocolatl, whereof they make great account, foolishly and without reason, for it is loathesome to such as are not acquainted with it, having a skumme or frothe that is very unpleasant to taste.” When Cortez returned to Spain in 1521, he brought back cocoa samples, which were not immediately popular, although much of the nobility choked down the beverage for its priapic benefits. When European pirates captured a Spanish ship, though, they persisted in throwing the chocolate overboard, calling it cacuro de carnero (sheep shit).

People began to bad-mouth chocolate for reasons other than its repugnant taste. Witness Marradon, writing at the beginning of the seventeenth century: “Every kind of intercourse was prohibited between Indian women and the ladies of New Spain. The latter were accused of learning sorcery from the former, who being taught by the devil, committed an infinite number of crimes under the influence of chocolate, of which they were great mistresses.” Besides its inflammatory properties, chocolate was often cited as the medium through which Mexican witches contacted Satan.

Ironically, it was a group of nuns in a cloister at Chiapas, near the Yucatan, who changed the course of chocolate history sometime around 1550, when they mixed sugar—another new commodity—and vanilla with some powdered cocoa.

Only a few years later, the drink had become so popular locally that a bishop found himself with a congregation of women on his hands who would “pretend much weakness and squeamishness of the stomach” and thus could not sit through a Mass without a cup of the chocolate elixir. At first the bishop let these indiscretions pass, but as the habit became omnipresent, he banned chocolate outright in the cathedral. Harsh words erupted from the congregation, swords were drawn and most of the worshipers switched over to the cloister church. Soon after this, the bishop was found dead, apparently from having ingested a cup of poisoned chocolate.

The Church seemed to retain its dim view of chocolate for quite a while. Joan Fran Rauch wrote a treatise in 1624 damning chocolate as “a violent inflamer of the passions,” explaining that if certain monks had been denied chocolate “the scandal with which that holy order had been branded might have proved groundless.” As late as 1748, churchmen were arguing whether the use of chocolate violated dietary laws for pious Christians. But the work of the nuns of Chiapas could not be undone. Sweet, rich, seductive chocolate was already on its way to becoming an international habit.

The Spaniards were able to keep chocolate a secret until 1606, when an Italian named Antonio Carlette brought cocoa home from Mexico. Louis XIII of France picked up a taste for chocolate, and when his son, Louis XIV, married Maria Theresa, Infanta of Spain and a real chocolate freak, the drink became the most fashionable in the licentious French court. A contemporary writer tells us that “Maria Theresa had only two passions: the King and chocolate.”

Madame DuBarry, the lustful lady of Louis XV’s court who used everything from truffled sweetbreads to cinnamon bark to enflame the old roi, resorted to ambergris-soaked chocolate bon-bons to enable an Arabian sheik to deflower 160 maidens in a fortnight. (This feat in itself is worthy of serious consideration.)

In 1657, chocolate came to England in a big way. While not the first, the Cocoa Tree became the most famous chocolate house in England, and when it gradually became a social club, it was the foremost in England. Among its devotees were Jonathan Swift, Gibbon, and Addison and Steele, who in a 1712 issue of the Spectator, advised young ladies who wished to remain chaste to “to be careful how you meddle with romance, chocolates, novels, and the like inflamers.”

Inflamers indeed. Nearly 150 years later, the French psychiatrist, hashishin, and pioneer of psychopharmacology Jacques-Joseph Moreau, known to scholars as Moreau of Tours, described this seance of the Marquis de Sade: “M. de Sade gave a ball, to which he invited a numerous company. A splendid supper was served at midnight; now the marquis had mixed with the dessert a profusion of chocolate, flavored with vanilla, which was found delicious and of which everybody freely partook….All at once the guests, both men and women, were seized with a burning sensation of lustful ardor; the cavaliers attacked the ladies without any concealment…excess carried to the most fatal extremity; pleasure became murderous; blood owed upon the floor, and the women only smiled at the horrible effects of their uterine rage.”

That sage of the satyrs, Casanova, very often writes of employing chocolates in seduction, but he used chocolate more as a love stimulant, like champagne, rather than a chemical to produce a roomful of hemorrhaging rutters. Old Dr. Bushwhacker, a fictional rock of wisdom whose books sold widely in mid-nineteenth-century America, tells a compatriot at one point: “Tea, my learned friend, inspires scandal and sentiment; coffee excites the imagination; but chocolate, sir, is an aphrodisiac.” And only a few years back Cosmopolitan itself dubbed chocolate one of the “top ten aphrodisiacs.” So while liquor is perhaps quicker, don’t forget that candy, if chocolate, is definitely dandy.

Cosmo’s rating aside, it’s doubtful that Helen Gurley Brown or anyone else today would attribute the quality of their sex lives to the powers of chocolate. What is the difference between the killer chocolate of Montezuma’s day and the tame variety of our own? Maybe you could call it the process of civilization.

The botanical origin of Theobroma cacao is in dispute: the Amazon Basin of Brazil, the Orinoco Valley in Surinam and various other places in Central America all claim to be the birthplace of the plant. But the subsequent spread of cacao cultivation and consumption is a tale of wind and tide, luck and disaster, plunder and exploitation—in short, the history of modern economics.

Since some cocoa beans proved more psychoactive than others, our sober ancestors simply chose to breed the less potent strains. And even the civilized bean marketed today must undergo lengthy processing before it is “fit to eat.” However, current chocolate research is still trying to sort out what really happens to the many chemical components of the cacao bean during the production of commercial candy, and Dr. Philip G. Keeney of Pennsylvania State University has revealed that there are more than 300 chemical compounds in the fragrance of chocolate alone.

Theobroma is an evergreen tree cultivated not more than 20 degrees north or south of the Equator, although there are a number of flowering trees grown under controlled conditions in temperate climates. As a matter of fact, a cacao tree grows in Brooklyn—in the Botanical Gardens.

To the uninitiated, the cacao tree looks bizarrely artificial. The leaves, red when small, turn glossy green; the delicate flowers and pods grow directly from the trunk or main limbs and look as if they were tied on with No. 12 wire. The trees present a myriad of colors to the eye. Since the growth cycle is continuous, at any one time the tree will be covered with leaves, blossoms, flowers and pods of many different sizes and colors—with colorful clinging mosses, and, in some areas, small orchids and lichens completing the rainbow.

Each of the pods has 30 or 40 beans imbedded in a foul-smelling mucilaginous scum, each bean encased in a pulpy shield. The cocoa beans at this point are ivory colored and will remain so until they are harvested.

Sweet things with sweet teeth lounge inside this 12-foot-wide chocolate-filled heart. Created in 1974 for the late Warhol Superstar Candy Darling, the box was scheduled to appear in the world’s first commercial motion hologram, but it was never used / John Stevens

The job of picking ripe cacao pods is strictly a hand operation. The tumbadors, or pickers, employ mitten-shaped steel knives attached to long poles with which they neatly snip off the pods, taking care not to wound the tree. Once collected, the pods are split with machetes and their contents emptied out with wooden spatulas to prevent irritation from the slightly acidic pulp. As soon as the pods are split, the beans begin to oxidize to a lavender or purple hue. It is not until the beans are fermented that they acquire their characteristic chocolate richness of color and aroma.

Fermentation, or curing, serves the vital purpose of separating the bean from its adhering pulp. But in early cocoa days in Nigeria, farmers’ helpers discovered that the drippings from fermenting beans made an extremely intoxicating drink. To this day, it is no uncommon sight to see cocoa workers in Africa stretched out on the ground after a day’s work, their state not entirely attributable to exhaustion.

The curing process also reduces the bitterness of the cocoa bean and hardens the seed skin to a shell that can be easily split in the factory. Once cured, the beans must be dried. In some places the beans are polished before drying. Although polishing is usually done by machines, the cocoa workers of Trinidad still dance on cocoa beans with their bare feet to effect this extra touch. “Dancing the cocoa” is a graceful, rhythmic dance done to Calypso verses improvised around the theme of cocoa and cocoa drying.

Today, diesel-driven mechanical dryers have virtually taken over. This is unfortunate, since sun-drying is the most direct, convenient and effective method if the harvest takes place during the dry season. Before mechanization, all cocoa beans were dried in the sun, spread out on palm leaves or large wooden trays that could be covered in the event of rain, to prevent moisture from rotting the beans. The lyrical Trinidadians have a saying, “Ah ent got cocoa in the sun, so ah ent lookin’ for rain.” Which means, approximately, “I don’t give a fuck.” Modern international chocolate cartels have a less colorful respect for so unstable an economic force as rain. Time marches on.

Eighty per cent of global chocolate output comes from the “Big Five”: Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, the Ivory Coast and Cameroon. The growing countries generally keep no more than 10 per cent of their crop for home use, usually less. The five giant processing countries—the United States, West Germany, the Netherlands, the U.S.S.R. and Great Britain—account for over half the cocoa processed worldwide, with western Europe and North America consuming a full 70 per cent of the annual cocoa product. In recent years, the biggest forward strides in cocoa consumption have been taken by the communist countries and Japan because of liberalization of government import restrictions. In 1960, the Soviets consumed 74,000 tons of cocoa beans, compared to the 215,000 tons scarfed down in the U.S. By 1970, the figures accelerated to 182,000 tons and 261,000 tons respectively. Japan now consumes five times the amount of cocoa it did in 1960 and has recently introduced chocolate-flavored honey into the world market.

American chocolate production and consumption figures are not revealed to the public, for whatever stealthy reason. We know that the U.S. processes 261,000 tons of cocoa beans annually, most of which we consume ourselves. But cocoa beans are included in thousands of products in varying concentrations, so it is hard to extrapolate from these figures exactly how much chocolate Americans eat.

We do know that confection sales by U.S. candy manufacturers top $2 billion yearly, and spokesmen for the confectionary industry report that chocolate products account for 60 per cent of this total. The average American consumes 18.7 pounds of candy per year, and, applying the same 60 per cent proportion for chocolate, we can readily approximate that 3.4 ounces of chocolate are eaten by each person in the U.S. weekly. This is hunger somewhat below the European average of four ounces a week. The Swiss probably take the chocolate-eating cake, yodeling down over five and a half ounces weekly per capita. Although consumption figures are not available for the U.S.S.R., one new Moscow factory is turning out 32,000 tons of chocolate annually, and many more tons are imported.

A personal survey of candy wholesalers revealed the top-selling chocolate candies in the U.S. to be, in no particular order, O. Henry, Hershey’s Milk, Peter Paul Mounds, Chunky, M & M Plain, Three Musketeers, Nestle’s Crunch, Kit Kat, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s Rally Bar. Two former biggies, Clark Bars and Baby Ruths, are dying on the east coast. And perhaps due to inflation, boxed candy and miniatures, too, have been falling off in sales.

Dropping in sales, perhaps, but dropping out of fashion? Never. A visit to a chi-chi chocolatier will reveal a cornucopia of tasty miniatures, from a half-pound of Bartons for $1.50 to a custom-made velvet box containing a pound of chocolate for which bidding opens at a cool $100. If your taste runs to crystal goblets, double that figure. But if the packaging matters not, New York’s best boxed chocolate, including Godiva, Krön, Corne de la Toison d’or of Belgium and Le Notre of France, can be had for a scant $9 per pound.

If this seems a little steep, the neophyte chocophile can keep it simple and start with the proletarian chocolate bar. The first decision, of course, is which brand. Harry Levene, of London might be of some help—he’s known as the Chocolate Wrapper Collector, and as of the end of December 1974, his collection held 30,174 wrappers from different chocolate bars made all over the world.

After that, it’s a fairly simple matter to choose among milk, dark, Swiss, Dutch, semisweet, bittersweet, or extrabittersweet; of course, some may choose to suck on unsweetened, or baker’s chocolate, but that is entirely optional. All that remains to be done is to select from hazelnut, raspberry cream almonds, mint, walnut, truffle cream, peanut, rice, freeze-dried strawberry, orange peel, chocolate cream and about 40 other possible mates for King Chocolate bar form.

Once we leave the modest bar, the fillings become yet more exotic. Every kind of fruit and nut center is obtainable. The booze hound can revel in the taste of chocolate rum, sherry, cognac, and creme de menthe cordials. The true cirrhosis fancier can purchase martini olives, a martini-flavored liquid center encased in chocolate and covered with a thick, olive-colored shell. Ants, shredded coconut, hashish, marshmallow, bees—it’s likely that someone has at some time covered dirt with chocolate and found it tasty.

If you prefer form over content, chocolate can be molded into the shapes of chrysanthemums, shrimp, apples, hearts, “kisses,” scallops, “lace,” bunnies, turtles, and thousands of equally cuddly configurations. Bloomingdale’s department store in New York sells a two-foot oval cameo of pure chocolate, complete with candy-drop earring, for $12.50. Droste, the Dutch chocolatier, exports solid chocolate initials, which lowlands lovers traditionally exchange on December 5, St. Nicholas’s Day.

There are a number of chocolate specialists who will mold chocolate into any shape for a price. If that shape involves producing a new mold, the price is well over $1,000. However, a new process has been developed for those seeking the personal touch at a reasonable price. Now, for under $20, you can have any photograph or piece of art reproduced in dark chocolate on a white chocolate disk similar in appearance to a lollipop. (White chocolate, incidentally, has no cocoa butter and is therefore not really chocolate. Vegetable oils are the flavorings used to produce its chocolatelike flavor.)

Most custom molding is done for commercial promotion gimmicks— chocolate jumbo jets, pianos, clocks, baseball bats—but there survive a few true chocolate artists. Richard Mack, food coordinator at a Dallas luxury hotel, uses no special tools, just sharp kitchen knives, to turn out his masterpieces. They have included eight prancing reindeer for a Christmas party, a five-inch fawn, numerous busts of French notables of the Louis XIV period, a Mack truck and a five-foot Easter egg. Current holder of the First Prize for Chocolate Work at the Annual Salon of Culinary Art and Exhibition of New York City is Guy Lucas, whose four-foot chocolate Mickey Mouse beams out the window of an exclusive Manhattan chocolatier.

In 1975, chocolate has been tamed. Its alkaloids no longer convulse nunneries, intoxicate maidens or reinforce limp polygamists. The trickle of chocolated orgy making has become a mighty river of middle-class tooth decay; the chocolate of today melts in our mouths, not in our minds. Chocolate, which once made men mad, has gone soft from prudish breeding, industrial conditioning, commercial packaging and easy living. Perhaps, of all the fabled psychedelic alkaloids of the world’s remote lotus-eaters—the caffeine, the theine, the theobromine, beside which the distilled juices of the grape and the potato once paled— only cocaine remains, toxic, mesmeric, incandescent, waiting to be brought into the fold and onto the supermarket shelf in the form of coca bars, coca yogurt, coca liquers, coca bathroom disinfectant and all the rest. . . . Only time will tell.

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Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency Introduces Tier-Based Fee System

Regulators in Michigan announced on Thursday that license fees for legal medical marijuana businesses in the state will be transitioning to a tier-based system beginning on October 1. Under the plan, most businesses would see a reduction in fees or no change, although some companies will end up paying more.

Andrew Brisbo, the director of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, said that medical marijuana companies will now pay license fees based on their size.

“We want to make the fees reasonably related to the size of the operation, so businesses are paying an equitable share,” said Brisbo.

Under the regulations currently in place, small cultivation operations can apply for a Class A license, which carries a fee of $10,000 once the grower has been approved by the state. Other medical marijuana businesses pay $66,000, up from the original $48,000 fee that went into effect in July 2018. Cannabis testing labs are not required to pay a license fee.

Under the new tiered system that goes into effect on October 1, the Class A growers license fee of $10,000 will not change. Other businesses will pay fees based on a three-tier system. New licensees will pay the middle-tier fee when they are initially approved by the state.

Class B growers will pay license fees of $24,000, $30,000, or $36,000 based the size of the operation. Class C growers and processors will pay $45,000, $56,000, or $67,000. Provisioning centers (dispensaries) and secure transporters will pay $36,000, $44,000, or $52,000.

Brisbo said that the new fees were set to cover the costs of regulating the state’s medical marijuana industry.

“We try to set the fees simply to offset the fees of our agency and the other costs built in from the MMFLA (Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act),” Brisbo said.

Recreational Pot License Fees Lower

State regulators have also released the license fees for businesses to participate in Michigan’s legal recreational pot marketplace, which launches later this year. Those license fees will actually be lower than the fees for medical marijuana businesses. For example, medical marijuana provisioning centers will pay $36,000 to $52,000 to renew their license while a similar license for a recreational cannabis shop will cost $20,000 to $30,000 to renew.

Brisbo said that the discrepancy in fees for recreational cannabis and medical marijuana businesses is due to state rules that require some medical marijuana licensing fees to be diverted to external programs. The funds go to the state health department to support substance abuse programs, to the Michigan State Police for standard field sobriety testing and police training, and to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for licensing substance use disorder programs.

The Marijuana Regulatory Authority will begin accepting license applications for recreational cannabis businesses on November 1.

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1969: A Look Back

They say if you can remember the sixties, you weren’t there. Still, it’s hard to imagine that anyone living in 1960s America could ever forget 1969, especially with all the reminders a half-century later. This year, the golden anniversary of the moon landing is commemorated with an Apollo 11-themed butter sculpture at the Ohio State Fair and a limited-edition Budweiser that’s brewed by a female U.S. Air Force Captain from a 1969 recipe.

The 50th anniversary of the Manson murders, meanwhile, is being revisited with an exhibit of Charles Manson’s artworks, and while there won’t be a 50th anniversary concert at Woodstock, the festival is officially the namesake of a fully-licensed brand of cannabis, thanks to the ruling of a judge. Those aren’t the only watershed moments of 1969, though. By all accounts, the year was full of them.

The world of politics and government affairs was full of groundbreaking events. Richard Nixon was inaugurated as president, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower died, and Golda Meir became the first female prime minister of Israel.

During the height of the Vietnam War, the public staged heated and frequent demonstrations, with Berkeley community members establishing the “People’s Park,” Native American activists occupying Alcatraz, and the riots at Stonewall serving as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in America.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Harvard students took over the university’s administration building, resulting in nearly 200 arrests; the Weatherman first organized as a branch of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); members of the Black Panther party became government targets; and hundreds of thousands of protestors marched against the Vietnam War in demonstrations across the country.

Wikimedia Commons

Major milestones mitigated serious disasters, however. It’s true that an inordinate amount of planes were either hijacked or crashed, a devastating oil spill happened in Santa Barbara, and the record-breaking Category 5 Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast, killing over 200 people. At the same time, the first electronic message was transmitted over the progenitor of the internet, America’s earliest ATM machine was installed in New York, and the Boeing 747 jumbo jet made its inaugural passenger flight.

Music saw a number of significant events, too, including the first Led Zeppelin album and the Stooges’ debut studio album. Black Sabbath performed live for the first time, and on the roof of Apple Records in London, the Beatles had their last public performance, only to release their highly acclaimed Abbey Road as well.

Meanwhile, a Florida court issued arrest warrants for Jim Morrison for indecent exposure at a Doors concert, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones drowned in his backyard swimming pool in Sussex, England, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married with a “Bed-In” for peace as part of their honeymoon in Amsterdam. Capping off the year was the proverbial “end of the sixties,” the Altamont Free Concert— when a would-be “Woodstock West” devolved into a maelstrom of violence that left four people dead.

In the book 1969: The Year Everything Changed, author Rob Kirkpatrick writes, “For those who first came into consciousness in the beginning of the 1970s, as I did, there was a sense of the country having just gone through an enormous upheaval—a paradigm shift that the generation before us had witnessed first hand, through which we had emerged as if through the other side of the looking glass.”

And here we are, 50 years later, still peering through that looking glass.

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Un estudio no encuentra ningún vínculo entre el uso de cannabis en adolescentes y la estructura cerebral adulta

El estudio es innovador y, con suerte, ayudará a romper el estigma del consumo de cannabis.

Las preocupaciones sobre el consumo de marihuana entre los adolescentes ha sido durante mucho tiempo un obstáculo para los defensores de la legalización, dado que el cerebro de los jóvenes se desarrolla a un ritmo acelerado. Pero un nuevo estudio sugiere que el cannabis puede no representar un riesgo a largo plazo para la función cerebral en absoluto.

El estudio, que se publicará en la edición del mes próximo de Drug and Alcohol Dependence y realizado por investigadores de la Universidad Estatal de Arizona, “probó las asociaciones entre las trayectorias evaluadas prospectivamente del consumo de cannabis en adolescentes y la estructura cerebral adulta en una muestra de jóvenes seguidos hasta la edad adulta”. En un esfuerzo por probar la hipótesis de que los usuarios adolescentes de marihuana demuestran alteraciones estructurales en sus cerebros en la edad adulta, los investigadores analizaron el consumo de cannabis autoinformado entre jóvenes de 13 a 19 años en Pittsburgh.

El grupo de alrededor de 1000 jóvenes fue examinado durante la década de 1980. Cuando los investigadores identificaron ciertas “trayectorias de cannabis adolescente”, los jóvenes fueron clasificados en base a cuatro divisiones diferentes: no usuarios / usuarios poco frecuentes, usuarios escalables y usuarios crónicos relativamente frecuentes. “Los jóvenes en diferentes subgrupos de trayectoria no difirieron en la estructura del cerebro adulto en ninguna región de interés subcortical o cortical”, escribieron los investigadores en su análisis de los resultados.

Además, hubo un subconjunto de 181 de los jóvenes que posteriormente se sometieron a neuroimagen estructural en la edad adulta cuando tenían entre 30 y 36 años. Ese subconjunto se probó para identificar cualquier diferencia en la estructura del cerebro adulto.

En conclusión, los investigadores dijeron que “el consumo de cannabis no está asociado con diferencias cerebrales estructurales en la edad adulta”. Agregaron: “Incluso los jóvenes con el nivel más alto de exposición al cannabis en la adolescencia mostraron volúmenes cerebrales subcorticales y grosores cerebrales corticales en la edad adulta que fueron similares a los jóvenes con casi ninguna exposición al cannabis durante la adolescencia “.

La investigación, dirigida por Madeline Meier, directora del Laboratorio de Uso de Sustancias, Salud y Comportamiento de la Universidad Estatal de Arizona, es solo la última de una serie de estudios recientes que analizan los efectos a largo plazo del consumo de cannabis. A medida que la legalización se extiende por todo Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo, se intensificaron los llamados a una investigación académica sólida sobre el uso de marihuana, que durante mucho tiempo ha faltado. En abril, el inversionista de cannabis Charles R. Broderick respondió a esa escasez de investigación con una donación de $ 9 millones a Harvard y el MIT para respaldar estudios sobre la ciencia de los cannabinoides. Fue la mayor donación hasta la fecha para promover investigaciones de ese tipo. Broderick dijo que el regalo fue impulsado por el deseo de “llenar el vacío de investigación que existe actualmente en la ciencia del cannabis”.

En ese mismo espíritu, un estudio realizado el mes pasado examinó por qué la marihuana pone ansiosos a algunos usuarios, mientras que otros experimentan alegría y euforia.

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Inside The Northern Nights Music Festival

This summer, the Northern Nights Music Festival became the first overnight festival in the country to offer recreational cannabis dispensing, attracting thousands of attendees to its Tree Lounge, a sort of cannabis garden for anyone 21+. Organizers called this history-making move a major success—but who’s surprised? Unofficially, marijuana and music festivals have been close collaborators since, well, the beginning of time.

Still this marks a new era in legal recreational cannabis. And if Northern Nights is any indication of what’s around the corner as local laws continue to change, the future of festivals and cannabis is positively utopian. Here’s what went down in a nature-filled weekend of music and wellness, paired with the great unifier: cannabis. 

Let’s start with the welcome committee that greeted us upon arrival Friday evening. Attendee-volunteers offered more dreamy smiles than directions. And to complicate things, the Internet was out way up there, on the border of Mendocino and Humboldt. 

Hundreds of mostly cashless millennials had to be shepherded to the one ATM at the festival’s makeshift general store so they could buy their parking pass or ticket for the weekend. It could have been a stressful cluster if it weren’t for the reassuring heady musk that lingered in the air and the fact that most volunteers looked fresh off a bong hit. Not that we’re judging. Just jealous.

It was Friday after a long drive and a longer week, so when my friend/coworker and I caught ourselves remarking on service design efficiencies and the curious lack of compost bins, we knew we still had our muggle tech employee masks on. 

Northern Nights is not glitzy Coachella or polished, efficient Outside Lands. That’s sort of the point.

Amanda Fetterly

“Just don’t let me buy any festival outfits I’m never gonna wear again,” Amanda said as we passed a line of retailers and make our way to our camp, sponsored by Cookies, a cannabis and lifestyle brand founded by rapper Gilbert Milam Jr, aka Berner.  Berner was performing in the festival’s “main bowl” with B. Real on Saturday, but in the meantime his nationally expanding brand is arguably the largest “corporate entity” of the festival’s 7th year. As a San Francisco native and cannabis industry veteran, Berner and his Cookies still fit in with the local vibe.

Many of the other 20+ cannabis partners, like Humboldt Farms and Emerald Exchange, are even more homegrown, with growsites just beyond the dense curtain of Redwoods that surround Cooks Valley Campground. This was all by design and a nod to the festival’s predecessor, Reggae on the River, which shared the same setting, and according to organizers drove much of the local underground economy. Many of Northern Nights’ camps, stages, and art builds offered subtle nods to the original crews who lent their unofficial “vending” services to the festival for 35 years.

Now those crews are stepping out from behind the Emerald Curtain, and into Northern Nights’ Tree Lounge, where, thanks to new local ordinances in Humboldt County, could legally dispense cannabis much like alcohol in a beer garden (only with a few extra compliance hoops to jump through). The vendors may have had snazzier branding and more official concessionaires now, but the ethos remains the same as ever: Sungrown, organic, local bud. “Humboldt’s best export,” as one farmer called it. Only that day, in light of cannabis’s rising stock, there seemed to be an urgency to this message.

Amanda Fetterly

Each vendor was eager to tell me about the unique properties of their flowers, to discuss their regenerative farming techniques, to warn me of the dangers of non-organic weed and the regulatory gray areas that leave the door open for corporate greed if consumers aren’t diligent about knowing where their bud comes from. The International Cannabis Farmers Association set up a booth with organic hashish purveyor Hella Dank, where they offered dabs and educational materials on what to look for on labels and what to ask budtenders to ensure your weed is sungrown and sustainable. Emerald Exchange touted the independent, female-owned farms they represent, and Humboldt Farms hosted a weekend of wellness programming from stoned yoga and meditation to cacao ceremony.

Amanda Fetterly

“We wanted to create an intimate place where people could decompress from a chaotic festival, take care of themselves and their bodies and learn about the plant,” Lisa C Parker said. She leads marketing for Humboldt Farms and called the activation a huge success. “We want people to know that they can use cannabis for wellness and even sometimes as an alternative to other types of medicine.”

Amanda Fetterly

The small tent in the Tree Lounge that housed the weekend’s wellness activities said “intimate gathering,” but when more than 100 people showed up for stoned yoga on the first morning, wellness curator for the festival Nate Mezmer knew they had underestimated the appetite for the restorative benefits of cannabis and mindful movement.

Lisa C. Parker

“Wellness and cannabis are super similar,” Mezmer San Francisco’s City Fit Fest co-founder, said. “They are both becoming mainstream really, really fast  and they’re both really, really good for you potentially… But they both can become corrupted by fake shit.”

An hour and a mini-joint of Flow Kana’s Champagne strain later, Amanda and I were outfitted head-to-toe by Jane Allen, the artist and collector behind festival couture shop I’m Crowning. To be fair, there was a sequins clause in our previous shopping pact, and the light, bubbly sativa was already smoothing out our edges. With the help of Mary Jane, our masks were off and we sartorially surrendered to our true selves. (Our true selves wear crowns, by the way.)

Amanda Fetterly

Pleasantly buoyant from the champagne of bud and blissed out from guided breathwork in the Tree Lounge, we made our way to the The Grove Stage, fashioned after a mythical medieval dinner party (castle and dragons and all) and set in Redwoods, up lit in purples and aquamarines. Twenty minutes into his set, Bay Area-based DJ Taeo Sense of Audiopharmacy led the crowd in a traditional Hawaiian dance in honor of Mauna Kea—and it’s catching. Hundreds of arms rising and falling turned the Redwood clearing into a Luau.

“Our brothers and sisters are fighting for their mountain. Let’s dance a prayer for Mauna Kea, our mountains here, mountains everywhere,” he said into a mic.

Amanda Fetterly

It’s impossible not to feel a reverence and awe for the land-turned-dance partner. The Eel River pulsed with the beats from the DJs on the River Stage. And in the festival’s main bowl, emerald trees seemed to dance along with Saturday’s headliner, Big Wild. Branches came into focus for brief moments and recoiled again as the lights changed, like they caught fire from the flick of a lighter. And the crowd did the same, rising and falling and bouncing in unison to EDM, this generation’s religion. 

And man, did it feel spiritual at times—7,000 of us lighting up a massive tree-lined bowl. We are the plants. The plants are us. I found myself thinking. Sure, that’s the weed talking, but why not listen? After all our bodies produce our own cannabinoids, chemicals otherwise unique to the plant. We are the plants.

Amanda Fetterly

If this sounds too “woo-woo,” you’re due for a trip through the Tree Lounge. And specifically Humboldt Farms co-founder Liz Lux’s plant medicine workshop. Titled “Cosmic Consciousness: Cannabis & Medicinal Plants for Life and Death,” she spoke about moon cycles and rituals, how plants have wisdom and which ones to enjoy in each season, but mostly how we must treat cannabis well so it treats us well. Listening to her felt like remembering a dream. These are things we all know intuitively, but tend to forget. 

What Liz, who has 30 years of growing experience under her belt, said in cosmic, spiritual terms, event organizers, farmers, brand ambassadors, and attendees echoed in their own ways when they spoke of permaculture, of how cannabis brought them back to health, of how when you buy weed from a trusted source, you’re supporting farmers and families. 

“When you’re educated about where your weed comes from and discerning about where you get it, it tends to come back to you in quality. And it’s just good karma,” Peter Huson said, NN’s co-founder and compliance manager who helped write the bill that enabled cannabis sales at the festival. “For so many years, these growers have not had a voice because cannabis was illegal. We hope with this event, we can help give a voice and bring funds back to this community.” For the festival’s part, Northern Nights makes a donation to Humboldt and Mendocino school districts each year and organizers say they build everything with local materials. 

Reports say more people are going to festivals than ever before. The multimillion-dollar industry is evidence that many are hungry for this sort of gathering. And it’s clear why.  It’s been two weeks since Northern Nights and I still feel restored—not only because dancing under Redwoods and floating in rivers can do that to a person, but because there was a downright blissful, yet mindful, vibe that originated in the Tree Lounge and floated like smoke throughout the festival. It’s not often that you can pre-game an EDM show with infused acro yoga, cacao, or a discussion of regenerative farming methods with a cannabis grower. Humboldt’s best exports may just be cannabis and hope—and we all could use extra helpings of both.

“CBD wellness activations like this are going to happen across the country and across the world in a split second,” Huson predicts. 

Sign us up. It can’t come soon enough.

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