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American Indian tribes grow marijuana for profit.

Admin; This will be a very interesting situation to watch as the federal, local and reservations will have their fingers in what could be a very sticky situation.

Why American Indian Tribes Are Getting Into the Marijuana Business

Sept. 4, 2015

Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe president tony reiderFlandreau Santee Sioux TribePresident of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe Executive Committee, Anthony Reider.

Tribes are weighing the risks and opportunities of legalizing pot

This New Year’s Eve, Tony Reider wants to throw a party unlike any his South Dakota tribe has seen.

There will be live music, food, outdoor games—and, floating over the revelry, a haze of marijuana smoke, from a first-of-its-kind pot lounge that is set to open by the end of the year, said Reider, the tribal president of the Flandreau Santee Sioux in Flandreau, S.D.

That pot lounge—modeled on an Amsterdam coffee shop, where customers would be able to buy and smoke up to 2 grams of marijuana a day—would be illegal anywhere else in South Dakota, which, like most U.S. states, bans the sale, possession and public smoking of pot.

But Reider says his plans are above board, based on a federal memo late last year that cleared the way for American Indian tribes to legalize marijuana on tribal land—even if pot is still illegal in the surrounding state. The Flandreau Santee Sioux is one of the first Native American groups to take advantage of the decision. Reider hopes to draw pot smokers from all over the state to visit the reservation, 40 miles (65 km) north of Sioux Falls, providing a new source of much-needed revenue for his people.

“There’s great economic advantages, and medicinal value,” said Reider, who also plans to have a quiet treatment center for medical marijuana patients. “Plus, with any business venture, the first to market can corner the market early.”

The Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe is not alone. Ever since the U.S. Department of Justice released a memo in December of 2014 that seemed to open the door for the 566 federally recognized American Indian tribes to begin growing and selling marijuana on their land, dozens of tribes across the country have explored the possibility. As tribal leaders seek to boost their economically struggling communities, they’ve had to weigh the potential financial boon of marijuana sales against the legal and social risks of getting into the drug business.

Last December’s memorandum essentially extended to Indian tribes the same marijuana policy that the federal government had previously applied to states: U.S. attorneys will generally turn a blind eye to marijuana sales in states that have legalized pot, as long as businesses selling the drug avoideight violations, such as selling marijuana to minors. These rules, which currently apply to states that have legalized marijuana, like Colorado, “will guide the United States Attorney’s marijuana enforcement efforts in Indian Country,” the Department of Justice wrote in the December memo.

The memo kicked off months of feverish activity among tribal leaders and pot barons eager to see whether growing and selling pot in a whole new swath of American land was a real possibility. Though legal experts say the memo was issued in response to questions from tribes in Washington State, where marijuana is legal, it also sparked interest among tribes in states that are less friendly to pot, like South Dakota. Marijuana business consultants and boutique law firms hosted seminars for interested tribes, and in February, representatives from some 75 tribes attended a conference at the Tulalip resort and casino in Washington State to discuss marijuana legalization.

At first, tribes thought: “This is a bonanza. It’s going to be the new gaming,” said Robert Williams, a professor at University of Arizona law school who specializes in Indian law. But he said many tribes cooled to the idea—or at least decided not to rush ahead with it—when they saw the risks.

Though the memo suggests that the U.S. attorneys will not prioritize the prosecution of Indian tribes selling marijuana, as long as they follow the guidelines, the memo is not law. Individual U.S. attorneys can still set their own priorities, and state authorities can still enforce state laws in ways that might get Indian leaders in hot water. Alturus Indian Rancheria tribe and the Pit River Tribe in northern California were searched in July by state and federal agents—a raid that experts say has spooked other tribes. The U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of California said his office had targeted the operation because of its large size and possible ties to a foreign national, suggesting that the tribe intended to sell marijuana beyond its boundaries, which is prohibited.

And adding to tribes’ concerns, a month later, in early August, Senator James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma, introduced federal legislation, “Keeping out Illegal Drugs Act of 2015,” that would prohibit Indian tribes that “cultivate, manufacture, or distribute” marijuana on Indian land from receiving federal funding.

Getting on the wrong side of federal law enforcement and losing federal funding are exactly the kind of problems Native American tribes would most want to avoid, Williams said. Now “most tribes are cautious,” he said. “They are sitting back and seeing what happens to a couple tribes that jump on the barbed wire fence.”

In addition to the Flandreau Santee Sioux, the Menominee tribe is also moving ahead in Wisconsin, even though marijuana is banned there as well. On Aug. 19 and 20, the Menominee tribe held a referendum on the legalization of marijuana, and of the roughly 1,000 people who voted, 58% supported recreational marijuana and 77% supported medicinal. The next step is for the nine-person tribal council to research the costs and benefits and then potentially propose legislation to legalize pot. The tribal council is conducting its first discussions of the referendum this month.

Like many of the tribes that are considering legalizing marijuana, the Menominee’s primary motive is revenue. The county that the 360 sq. mi. reservation occupies is the poorest in the state, and anything that could help deserves a close look, said Gary Besaw, the Menominee tribal chairman.

“Menominee doesn’t have the luxury to not research potential revenue sources,” Besaw said. “At the very least we had to take a look at this.”

Beyond finances, there are other reasons for the tribe to be interested in marijuana. Menominee tribal members, many of them veterans, suffer from high rates of PTSD, cancer and chronic pain—all conditions that marijuana may be able to ease. The Menominee also see marijuana as a less dangerous alternative to prescription painkillers, which can leave patients addicted to opiates.

But if the tribe moves forward with legalization, it may hit roadblocks from state law enforcement. Marijuana possession, cultivation and sale is illegal in Wisconsin. Though Wisconsin’s attorney general, Brad Schimel is sympathetic to the Menominee and reluctant to overact, he is also charged with enforcing Wisconsin’s law.

“You add into this dynamic that the Menominee are the poorest tribe in the state and they are indigenous to Wisconsin, so you kind of want to be able to see them try it,” Schimel said, but he is concerned that it will be difficult to keep marijuana only on the reservation. While he has no specific plans to ramp up enforcement, he said police departments near the reservation may add more drug recognition experts charged with looking for drivers under the influence.

“We are going to enforce the law in Wisconsin, but I’m also not intending to blow this out of proportion,” he said. “Still, we’ve got to watch—since it was legalized in Colorado we are seeing more and more marijuana for sale in our state coming from suppliers in Colorado. When someone develops an island where it becomes legal, it doesn’t stay on that island.”

These tensions have some observers wondering if the government’s release of the memo was a mistake because it makes tribes an offer they can’t afford to refuse—but one that, like legalized gambling on reservations, could also bring a series of problems in its wake.

“It puts tribal leadership in a horrible position. It raises the hopes of the Indian people for economic development,” said Williams, the professor who specializes in Indian law. “For many tribes the only hope of economic development is in marginal, vice-ridden, semi-criminal activities…To have the Justice Department say, ‘Here is another opportunity [with moral, legal and social consequences], you guys take the risk if you want to do it. We are not going to give you any guidance’—it’s incredibly irresponsible.”

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The reality of those risks is already becoming clear for the Flandreau Santee Sioux in South Dakota, because in order to make money from marijuana, they will have to draw visitors to the reservation to buy it. Their planned grow facility will be able to produce 75 to 80 lbs. of marijuana a week—much more than the reservation’s 300-odd residents, or the 2,300-person population in the small city of Flandreua, could possibly ingest themselves. That means Reider is counting on people coming from farther afield, like Sioux Falls, a 35-minute drive away, or Minneapolis, which is a three-and-a-half-hour drive.

“We hope people will come spend the weekend or spend a week,” Reider said.

But South Dakota’s attorney general, Marty Jackley, says the Flandreau Santee Sioux’s business model is not allowed in the state. In a news releasein June after the tribe announced that it would pursue a marijuana business, Jackley wrote that it is illegal for “non-Indian persons” to possess or distribute marijuana anywhere in South Dakota, including on Indian reservations. He added than anyone, Indian or not, who smoked a joint on Indian country and drove back into South Dakota with marijuana in their system would be breaking state law.

Reider, the tribal chief, still plans to move ahead with a marijuana lounge. He said security guards would monitor exits so that people don’t leave with marijuana and aren’t too intoxicated to drive.

While the plans are still being formulated, Reider believes it is important for his tribe to get ahead on a fledgling national marijuana industry that has already seen a tremendous amount of growth. The way he sees it, it isn’t fair to hold tribes back from a business that he believes will soon be booming everywhere. “We look at what happened in Washington where the state has legalized it,” he said, “the tribes are forced to either play catch up or wonder if they can even compete in that arena.” For Reider, the benefits of a lucrative business outweigh the risks.

Article about medical marijuana’s CBD and THC for seizures begs for more studies to clarify results.

Hopeful parents may bias some reporting as to how effective of a treatment this is for their children. Anecdotal reporting has consistently shown that there appears to be benefit to some 33% of children that are dosed by their parents.  Now some grass roots studies by a group of doctors in Colorado seem to support this idea.  But there is a lack of consistent controls for this “study” due to the range of CBD and THC acquired by the parents and the dosing for the children.


AUG 18 2015, 6:38 PM ET

Parents Demand Medical Marijuana for Epileptic Kids


The Bortell family, Liza, Avery, Dean and Alexis, eat frozen yogurt outside of Yogurtini in Littleton, Colorado. NICK SWYTER / News21

PITTSBURGH — In room 716 of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 12-year-old Hannah Pallas is motionless, but for an occasional turn of her head and blink of her eyes, following a series of life-threatening seizures. On the same day, 5-year-old Sydney Michaels is down the hall in room 749, waiting to be discharged after 15 grand mal seizures within 36 hours.

Their mothers have known each other for years, though it’s a hapless coincidence caused by their daughters’ epilepsy that brings them to the pediatric unit on the same day.

The two women are part of a tenacious group of parents and national marijuana advocates demanding that politicians and state legislators legalize medical marijuana treatment for their children, whose medications have had limited success treating seizures and other severe conditions.

“This is something that needs to happen across the country so that every child who might need this would have access,” said Julie Michaels, Sydney’s mother and a member of Campaign for Compassion, which is pushing for comprehensive medical marijuana laws in Pennsylvania. “Why should the state lines be the factor as to whether my child can get help or not?”

Sydney is one of only a few hundred children around the country enrolled in a clinical trial to test the use of marijuana-based treatments for epilepsy. But Hannah is not.

“I’m watching my daughter die every day,” said Heather Shuker, Hannah’s mother. “Hannah has so many seizures, and every seizure could take her from me. I firmly believe that medical cannabis will help her.”

“There’s so much that I want for her right now that she just can’t do,” Michaels said about Sydney. “Just being able to go out and experience life, to be able to go out and play in the yard without fear of seizures starting.”

Click Here to Read the Full Version of This News21 Story

Since 2014, 17 states have legalized the use of marijuana-derived cannabidiol (CBD) in children: Utah, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia. The laws are intended mostly to treat intractable epilepsy and, in some cases, other conditions. Florida, Georgia and Louisiana, for example, allow limited medical marijuana use for cancer treatment.

CBD is the non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant. It has yet to be proven scientifically as a successful treatment, though anecdotal evidence suggests it helps some children. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the part of the plant that produces a high, but it is also known – if not proven – to treat pain, nausea and insomnia, among other symptoms.

Click Here to Read the ‘Dateline’ Report “Growing Hope”

The 17 states that recently passed CBD legislation all placed limits on the THC concentration of medical marijuana extracts to minimize the psychoactive effects of the medication. They range from 0.3 percent in Oklahoma to 5 percent in Georgia.

Shuker said her daughter Hannah, diagnosed with severe intractable epilepsy and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, has about 250 seizures a month. They have tried more than 18 different seizure medications and special diets.

Pharmaceuticals made her daughter’s seizures worse, Shuker said. Hannah now has a surgical feeding tube because she can no longer swallow on her own. Doctors have told Shuker that Hannah’s only remaining option to try to reduce the seizures is a brain surgery procedure, with risks of infection, increased seizures or stroke.

Meanwhile, visits to the emergency room and pediatric ward have become routine, Shuker and Michaels say their lives revolve around doctor appointments and unexpected stays in the hospital. While other mothers track their children’s height on walls with markers, these mothers track dates and times and numbers of seizures on homemade charts.

Click Here to See All of News21’s “America’s Weed Rush” Project

Sydney is one of 25 children in the clinical trial at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who are receiving doses of Epidiolex, a purified CBD created by London-based GW Pharmaceuticals. Part of the drug’s attraction is that it is low in THC.

“Prior to this study, she couldn’t do a puzzle. After about two weeks, she was whipping through puzzles on an iPad and we’re like, ‘Who is this kid?'” Michaels said. “We’re talking about a kid who was seizing easily from 1,000 to 3,000 times in a week. It was incredible.”

Dr. Eric Marsh, assistant professor of neurology and pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and attending physician for the Philadelphia clinical trial, was cautiously optimistic about the overall results, with parents reporting a 50 to 60 percent reduction in their children’s seizures. However, Marsh encourages families to wait until marijuana-derived medications earn Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

“There’s so much interest and excitement over this that it really could skew results,” Marsh said. “It does seem that CBD interacts with some of the other medications. Clearly it’s not a miracle drug. It has interactions with other drugs, and it does have side effects.”

Despite the lack of scientific evidence, families have become medical refugees – leaving their homes to chase the uncertain prospect that medical cannabis may save their children’s lives. Many believe medical cannabis is their last option.

Many have moved from their home states to Colorado, where marijuana treatments are legal. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, there are 434 children on the state’s medical marijuana registry. In August 2013, there were 60.

Earlier this year, 9-year-old Alexis Bortell of Dallas had one of her worst seizures and was taken to a hospital. For moments at a time, she stopped breathing. A week later, she suffered stroke-like symptoms, said her father, Dean Bortell.

Anti-seizure pharmaceutical drugs like Depakote and Carbatrol did little to stop her seizures and seemed to incite a range of side effects such as anger. “We had to put all the knives in the house up out of her reach,” her father said.

“She was just not herself,” Dean Bortell said, ” That’s when Liza and I, my wife, decided it’s time to go.”

The Bortells moved to Colorado earlier this year. Today, Alexis wakes up early every morning to take her dose of CBD oil with a drop of THC in her new home in Littleton, Colorado. She swallows the oil through a syringe twice a day.

“I would describe it like an earthy taste,” Alexis said.

What follows is a very active schedule: playing with Purdy the service cat, Skyping friends in Texas, shooting hoops, golfing practice, playing at the park, swimming and ending the day eating frozen yogurt at Yogurtini.

“It has changed my daughter’s life in the most positive way, humanly possible,” Bortell said, adding that she hasn’t had a seizure in 100 days. “We’ve got our little girl back.”


Alexis, 9, takes a swing at a driving range in Littleton, Colorado. Her family moved from Texas to Colorado in 2015 to obtain cannabis oil for treating her seizures. NICK SWYTER / News21

Kevin Chapman, a neurologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, sees many of the children using cannabis oil to treat their seizures. He authored a report last year that measured the effectiveness of using cannabis extracts to reduce seizures. He and other doctors surveyed the parents of 75 children in Colorado and concluded that 33 percent of parents said they saw their children’s seizures reduced by more than 50 percent.

The Denver neurologist understands the limitations of his study, starting with the sample size of 75 children – who all used different oils, each with its own chemical make-up. Making matters more complicated, the participants had different types of epilepsy that ranged in severity. The study also depended on parental reporting, which Chapman says can produce biases.

The report said the study results highlighted “the need for controlled studies to evaluate the efficacy and safety of oral cannabis extracts for treatment of pediatric epilepsies.”

“Families picked up and moved to Colorado with the hopes that it’s going to make their child better,” Chapman said. “All of us in that situation would hope that it really works, and therefore we think that there might be some bias that could skew the numbers to suggest that it’s a bit more effective.”

Dr. Larry Wolk, chief medical officer and director of the Colorado health department, said he could not ignore the anecdotal success stories reported by parents, but more research needs to be done.

“You only hear about the children it helps. The problem is that it doesn’t help everyone. The results are mixed,” Wolk said. “As a physician, I’m worried that we’re rushing this.”

Despite the legislation passed in 17 states, obtaining CBD is not as simple as buying the oil off a dispensary shelf. States such as Alabama and Tennessee only dispense oils through clinical trials at universities. Florida and Texas allow for the production and distribution of oils to qualified patients in the state, but their programs are not yet operational. Other states such as Iowa and Virginia don’t define methods of access in their laws.

The FDA, which monitors most clinical trials, has not approved any marijuana-related treatment. Its website warns parents of using these untested treatments.

“We understand that parents are trying to find treatments for their children’s medical conditions. However, the use of untested drugs can have unpredictable and unintended consequences,” the FDA statement says. “Caregivers and patients can be confident that FDA-approved drugs have been carefully evaluated for safety, efficacy, and quality, and are monitored by the FDA once they are on the market.”

Steve Schultz, a vice-president at GW Pharmaceuticals, said the FDA has authorized 450 children across the country to participate in clinical trials with Epidiolex. “We don’t argue with the fact that these parents want to help their children.” Schultz said. “But it takes time and money. It’s an onerous process in place for the protection of the consumer and the patient.”

While early observations from Epidiolex clinical trials are promising, it’s uncertain if and when the drug will be readily available.

This report is part of the project titled “America’s Weed Rush,” produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 initiative, a national investigative reporting project involving top college journalism students across the country and headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Marijuana legalization in Oregon has potential test case about employees…

Admin; this will be an interesting case if pursued after legalization since she could also be a tobacco and alcohol user.

Oregon TV Anchor Fired After Testing Positive for Marijuana

PORTLAND, Ore. — Jul 24, 2015, 4:49 PM ET

By GOSIA WOZNIACKA Associated Press

An Oregon television anchor has turned into a marijuana activist after being fired for testing positive for the drug.

Cyd Maurer, a morning weekend anchor at Eugene’s ABC affiliate KEZI-TV, said she was fired in May after getting into a minor accident while on assignment. In a video posted online, Maurer said that after the accident she was forced to take a drug test per company policy and failed it.

Maurer, 25, said she was completely sober at work and had used the marijuana several days before. Studies show marijuana, unlike alcohol, can be detected in some people for days after use — or even weeks, in case of frequent users.

Maurer, who has been working in television for the past three years and is a University of Oregon graduate, said she didn’t do anything wrong and felt the firing was discriminatory.

“I don’t fit the lazy stupid loser stereotype,” she said, adding she’s a responsible user and has never come to work impaired.

KEZI general manager Mike Boring declined comment. “We do not discuss personnel matters,” Boring said.

Recreational marijuana became legal in Oregon in July, after Maurer was fired. But even if the incident had happened after legalization, according to the state, KEZI still would have had the right to have a testing policy. Measure 91, which legalized possession and consumption, does not affect existing employment law. Employers who require drug testing can continue to do so, Oregon officials said.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, even though more than twenty states — including Oregon — allow medical marijuana use. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and Washington, D.C., also allow recreational use.

Kate Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the Society for Human Resource Management, said the organization has received numerous questions from members around the country about the effects of changing state marijuana laws on drug testing. At two national conferences this year, she said, training sessions about drug testing were packed to overflowing.

“HR professionals are trying to keep up to date with laws and make sure their policies incorporate the changing landscape legally,” Kennedy said.

In June, a court in Colorado ruled that a medical marijuana patient who was fired after failing a drug test cannot get his job back. The patient, a quadriplegic, said he didn’t use the drug at work. The company, Dish Network, agreed that he wasn’t high on the job, but it said it has a zero-tolerance drug policy.

The Colorado justices ruled that because marijuana is illegal under federal law, use of the drug couldn’t be considered legal off-duty activity.

The case was being watched closely by employers and pot smokers in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana. Supreme courts in California, Montana and Washington state have made similar rulings in the past.

Over a decade ago in Oregon, a forklift driver who had a medical marijuana card was also fired after taking a drug test following an accident at work. The state found no evidence he had been impaired on the job.

But Maurer, the fired anchor, said she was tired of hiding the use of a substance that’s now legal in the state and wants to start a conversation about the drug. She’s also planning a new career in the marijuana industry.

An interesting read about marijuana legalization and politics.

Admin; Worth a read. One item left out is the lobbying efforts of the the liquor industry, police unions, private prisons, pharmaceutical corporations, and prison guard unions to prevent marijuana legalization has been  lucrative incentive for the White House, local, state and federal legislators to prevent legalization efforts in the past.  Let’s change this.

Here’s the real reason why marijuana is illegal in the US


  • Jul. 3, 2015, 4:11 PM

marijuana Mark Leffingwell/Reuters

It is hard to imagine a time when most pharmacies carried cannabis and farmers were required to grow hemp, much like they are given incentives to grow corn these days, but that is a significant part of the history of the U.S.

From the 1600s to the late 1800s, hemp (a cannabis plant containing very little THC) was harvested on U.S. soil to create materials such as rope, paper, and clothing.

In 1619, the Virginia Assembly decided to require farmers to grow hemp for these purposes, according to PBS. Hemp was also used as legal tender in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland around that time. During the 1800s, cannabis products became a popular medicinal substance found in tinctures that were sold in many pharmacies across the nation. It became a requirement to label these over-the-counter medicines containing cannabis, including cocaine and heroin, with the Federal Food and Drugs Act of 1906, but these things were still legal.

Around 1910, the Mexican Revolution was starting to boil over, and many Mexicans immigrated to the U.S. to escape the conflict. This Mexican population had its own uses for cannabis, and they referred to it as “marihuana.” Not only did they use it for medicinal purposes, but they smoked it recreationally, which was a new concept for white Americans. Even the term, marihuana, was unfamiliar to them, as they called it cannabis.

Southern states that were receiving the Mexican immigrants became concerned with this growing population. Newspapers ran headlines speaking of the “Mexican menace” or the “marijuana menace” and claimed Mexican men were going crazy from smoking marijuana and were killing people. El Paso, Texas became the first U.S. city to ban marijuana in 1915, and city officials started rounding up Mexicans who smoked marijuana and had them deported.

“A widow and her four children have been driven insane by eating the Marihuana plant, according to doctors, who say that there is no hope of saving the children’s lives and that the mother will be insane for the rest of her life,” read a New York Times story from 1927. It was clear the newspapers and tabloids were building a campaign against the plant, and much of it has been said to be based on racist ideologies against Mexican immigrants.

“Reefer Madness,” the anti-marijuana propaganda film, came out in 1936. By 1937, 46 of the 48 states passed laws banning marijuana use. That same year, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, which made it so it was illegal to have marijuana unless it was for specific medical or industrial reasons. That law was eventually ruled to be unconstitutional, but it would be replaced later on. Fast forward to the Boggs Act of 1952 and the Narcotics Control Act of 1956, which was when the federal government started requiring minimum prison sentences for drug crimes, such as possessing marijuana. In the 1970s, President Nixon declared his war on drugs.

The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 initiated the scheduling of drugs by how dangerous they were perceived to be. Marijuana was made a schedule I drug, which meant it has no “accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was created under Nixon in 1972. The way the federal government handles punishing marijuana crimes was inspired by the Rockefeller Drug Laws, created by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1973. He made it so there would be strict mandatory jail sentences for possession of drugs and led a harsh campaign against them. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan borrowed from these laws and created similar mandatory sentences at a federal level and started pursuing drug users more fervently.

As ATTN: reported before, Reagan’s escalation of the drug war led the U.S. to go from 150 people in prison per 100,000 to where it stands now, just over 700 per 100,000. The motivations were originally aimed at the Mexican population, but now people of all ethnicities have suffered from harsh drug laws. That said, minority communities are still disproportionately affected by drug laws. Marijuana may be getting closer to where it was in the 1800s, with it becoming used as medicine and grown legally, but there is still progress to be made in terms of the justice system and federal law.

Read the original article on ATTN:. Copyright 2015. Follow ATTN: on Twitter.

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Colorado Indoor marijuana growing steadily increases Denver electrical usage.

Admin; Eye opening status of how much electricity is used for indoor marijuana growing to meet Colorado medical and recreational marijuana industry.

GOLDEN — Surging electricity consumption by Colorado’s booming marijuana industry is sabotaging Denver’s push to useless energy — just as the White House perfects a Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution.

Citywide electricity use has been rising at the rate of 1.2 percent a year, and 45 percent of that increase comes from marijuana-growing facilities, Denver officials said Wednesday.

Denver has a goal of capping energy use at 2012 levels. Electricity is a big part of that.

The latest Xcel Energy data show cannabis grow facilities statewide, the bulk of which are in Denver, used as much as 200 million kilowatt hours of electricity in 2014, utility officials said. City officials said 354 grow facilities in Denver used about121 million kwh in 2013, up from 86 million kwh at 351 facilities in 2012.

“Of course we want to grow economically. But as we do that, we’d like to save energy,” city sustainability strategist Sonrisa Lucero said.

She and other Denver officials joined 30 business energy services and efficiency leaders seeking U.S. Department of Energy guidance Wednesday at a forum in Golden. Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr said feds will promote best practices and provide technical help through an Office of Technology Transitions.

“It’s a big issue for us,” Lucero told Orr. “We really do need some assistance in finding some good technology.”

Orr said he tried to figure out “how we would address that to Congress.”

When the EPA later this summer unveils the Clean Power Plan for state-by-state carbon cuts and installation of energy-saving technology, utilities are expected to accelerate a shift away from coal-generated electricity toward cleaner sources, such as natural gas, wind and solar.

Until they can replace more coal-fired plants, the nation’s utilities increasingly are trying to manage demand by, for example, offering rebates to customers who conserve electricity.

Colorado for years has been encouraging cuts in carbon emissions by requiring utilities to rely more on renewable sources.

Yet electricity use statewide has been increasing by 1 percent to 2 percent a year, due in part to population growth, said Jeffrey Ackermann, director of the Colorado Energy Office.

The rising electricity demand means more opportunities to save money by using energy more efficiently , Ackermann said. “We’re not going to compel people to reduce their usage. … But we’re going to try to bring efficiency into the conversation.”

Colorado’s marijuana sector, in particular, is growing rapidly, relying on electricity to run lights that stimulate plant growth, as well as air-conditioning and dehumidifiers. The lights emit heat,raising demand for air conditioning, which requires more electricity.

Robert Grandt works in the grow room at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver on March 11. Marijuana growing facilities contributed to the city’s energy use

Robert Grandt works in the grow room at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver on March 11. Marijuana growing facilities contributed to the city’s energy use increase.

“How do you capture their attention long enough to say: Hey, if you make this investment now, it could pay back in the future,” Ackermann said, referring to possibilities for better lights.

Southwest Energy Efficiency Project director Howard Geller said new adjustable light-emitting diode, or LED, lights have emerged that don’t give off heat. Companies installing these wouldn’t require so much air-cooling and could cut electricity use, Geller said.

Lighting companies are working with pot companies to test the potential for LED lamps to reduce electricity use without hurting plants, Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz said. Xcel is advising companies on how much electricity different lights use, he said.

Denver officials currently aren’t considering energy-efficiency rules for the industry, said Elizabeth Babcock, manager of air, water and climate for the city. Marijuana-growing facilities in2013 used 1.85 percent of total electricity consumed in Denver.

“We see many opportunities in all sectors,” Babcock said. “Energy efficiency lowers the cost of doing business, and there are lots of opportunities to cut energy waste in buildings,transportation and industry.”

Bruce Finley: 303-954-1700, or bruce

Marijuana legalization comes to Delaware

Admin; Questions to be answered as another state moves forward with the public opinion…

Police seek to cut through haze on Delaware cannabis law


Delaware is now the 20th state, along with the District of Columbia, to decriminalize or legalize simple marijuana possession.


    Delaware Gov. Jack Markell on Thursday signed legislation decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.


    The legislation eliminates criminal penalties for possession by an adult of 1 ounce of marijuana or less for personal use. Instead, it would be a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine. The cannabis also would be confiscated.


    Smoking pot in a moving vehicle, in public areas, or outdoors on private property within 10 feet of a street, sidewalk or other area generally accessible to the public would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $200 and imprisonment of up to five days.


    In six months. Simple possession remains a criminal offense for anyone under 18. Marijuana remains considered an illegal narcotic under federal law.


    Violators previously could be fined up to $1,150 plus sentenced to six months in jail.

Karl Baker, The News Journal9:38 p.m. EDT June 19, 2015

Setting3Buy Photo

(Photo: The News Journal)


A new law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana has opened a new set of questions for Delaware law enforcement.

“We have to talk with the attorney general,” said New Castle County Police Chief Elmer Setting on Friday, the day after Gov. Jack Markell signed the measure.

The legislation, which takes effect in six months, eliminates criminal penalties for possession by an adult of 1 ounce of cannabis or less for personal use. A violation will be considered a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine and would not become part of a person’s criminal record.

“It’s going to be similar to having an open can of alcohol” in public, Setting said.

A violation currently is categorized as a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $1,150 and six months in jail.

The legislation will not change any rules regarding medical marijuana or penalties for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs. Selling pot also will remain banned. Smoking marijuana in a moving vehicle, in public areas, or outdoors on private property within 10 feet of a street, sidewalk or other area generally accessible to the public will be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $200 and imprisonment of up to five days.

“People should do this in their own homes …,” said state Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Democrat, who sponsored the legislation, House Bill 39. “It should not be done in cars. It should be done in the privacy of your own home.”

But there are gray areas, like public areas in apartment complexes. Under current law, if police spot someone smoking marijuana on the steps of an apartment building, they can be arrested, although the new law isn’t clear about whether the standard still applies, Setting said.

“I know it’s confusing, and we’re confused too,” he said.

Newark police Cpl. James Spadola said they’re also consulting with the state Attorney General’s Office to get clarification.

“(We need) to seek their guidance as to how we should adjust,” he said.

State prosecutors are going to interpret the intent of the decriminalization bill and then issue guidance to police agencies, said Department of Justice spokesman Carl Kanefsky.

The clarification process is common when new laws are established, although guidelines have been especially tricky for other states that have undertaken similar changes for medical and recreational usage of marijuana. Florida and Massachusettsboth have had to reexamine standards to clarify rules.

Zoe Pattel, co-chair of the Cannabis Bureau of Delaware, worries about confusion with the recent legislation. That might cause cannabis users to continue to be a target of police attention, she said.

“We’re fearful it won’t stop the arrests,” Pattel said.

SmokingAuthorityBuy Photo

The Smoking Authority sells pipes and other paraphernalia used to consume marijuana. (Photo: KARL BAKER/THE NEWS JOURNAL)

She said the bill is a good first step and is calling for more work to completely legalize marijuana. Cannabis remains illegal under federal law.

Delaware is the 20th state, along with the District of Columbia, to decriminalize or legalize simple marijuana possession, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a national group that has urged changes to marijuana laws. Almost half the states allow medical marijuana.

The bill passed the Democratic-controlled Senate on a straight party-line vote. Delaware State Police officials have said the measure will make it more challenging to target drug dealers because they could not initiate searches on suspicion of simple marijuana possession.


Decriminalization proponents argue a marijuana conviction should not cause lives to unravel because of jail time and lost job prospects. Setting agrees but said he’s worried that kids will see the legislation and think cannabis is now legal. Marijuana use could lead to other drugs, he said.

“It’s a misleading bill,” he said. “We are not educating our kids that marijuana is a gateway drug.”

Markell spokeswoman Kelly Bachman in a statement Thursday said “the governor remains committed to reducing the number of people entering the criminal justice system and refocusing resources where they are needed most.”

Markell in 2011 also authorized the use of marijuana for medical usage. The first dispensary, First State Compassion Center near Wilmington, is scheduled to open Friday. About 340 Delawareans carry cards that will allow them to use medical pot.

Williams2Buy Photo

Sherrese Williams visits The Smoking Authority, a shop that sells marijuana paraphernalia, near Wilmington on Friday. Police are consulting with the state Attorney General’s Office to interpret Delaware’s new law allowing possession of small amounts of cannabis. (Photo: KARL BAKER/THE NEWS JOURNAL)

Inside The Smoking Authority, a store that sells marijuana paraphernalia near Wilmington on Friday, Sherrese Williams said she began smoking cannabis to ease pain from medical complications from childbirth 11 years ago. Though she now uses cannabis under the state’s medical marijuana program, she welcomes the decriminalization effort because it will allow individuals to feel better without fear of being arrested.

“I would not have been here right now if I would not have lit up before I came out,” she said.

A total of 2,632 misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana were filed in 2013, according to the most recent Delaware Criminal Justice Information System data.

Contact Karl Baker at or (302) 324-2329. Follow him on Twitter @kbaker6.

State loosens rules on recreational pot

Delaware is now the 20th state, along with the District of Columbia, to decriminalize or legalize simple marijuana possession.

What does the legislation allow?

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell on Thursday signed legislation decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

How much is allowed?

The legislation eliminates criminal penalties for possession by an adult of 1 ounce of marijuana or less for personal use. Instead, it would be a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine. The cannabis also would be confiscated.

What’s considered “personal use?”

Smoking pot in a moving vehicle, in public areas, or outdoors on private property within 10 feet of a street, sidewalk or other area generally accessible to the public would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $200 and imprisonment of up to five days.

When does the new rule start?

In six months. Simple possession remains a criminal offense for anyone under 18. Marijuana remains considered an illegal narcotic under federal law.

What was the old rule?

Violators previously could be fined up to $1,150 plus sentenced to six months in jail.

Marijuana legislation milestone is tomorrow

Admin; Now is OUR time to see the PEOPLES will impacting funding of federal enforcement of the outdated Schedule 1 classification…

Lawmakers brace for marijuana vote-a-rama


By Tim Devaney – 06/01/15 02:26 PM EDT

Lawmakers are prepping for what could turn into a marijuana vote-a-rama Wednesday, sources say.

Pot advocates expect lawmakers to introduce at least half a dozen marijuana-related appropriations amendments that would roll back the Justice Department’s authority to enforce drug laws around the country.

The marijuana amendments would handicap the Department of Justice (DOJ) in its fight with states over the enforcement of local pot laws.


“The politics have continued to shift in favor of marijuana law reform,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority.

“For a long time, lawmakers treated marijuana as a third-rail issue that was too dangerous to touch,” he added. “But now that polling shows a growing majority of voters supports ending prohibition, more and more elected officials are starting to realize that demonstrating leadership on this issue has political benefits instead of harms.”

The marijuana amendments come as part of the Justice Department’s funding bill, which dictates the terms in which the agency can use the money.

Pot advocates are making a big push in advance of the vote to rally lawmakers to their side.

The Justice Department would be prohibited from using federal funds to interfere with states’ medical marijuana laws under an amendment expected from the California delegation — Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R) and Sam Farr (D).

The measure was approved by Congress for the first time in 2014 but it must be renewed each year when the DOJ’s spending bill expires.

Some lawmakers hope to push the boundaries even further.

An amendment from Reps. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) would prohibit DOJ from using federal funds to interfere with any state marijuana law, including laws permitting the recreational use of pot.

“This amendment will not only protect critically ill medical marijuana patients from federal prosecution but, unlike previous versions, will also apply to adult [recreational] use of marijuana in states where it is legal, like Colorado and Washington,” wrote Dan Riffle, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, in an email to supporters asking them to lobby their congressmen on the issue.

Another amendment, from Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), would protect state hemp laws from DOJ interference. This would pave the way for farmers to grow hemp in the U.S.

Hemp comes from the same plant as pot, but it does not have the same intoxicating effect, Angell said. Instead, hemp is used to make things like paper, rope and textiles.

“You don’t smoke hemp,” Angell said. “It wouldn’t get you high.”

Several other pot amendments are still in the works, including one that would shift money in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s budget away from enforcing marijuana laws toward solving the rape kit backlog and funding treatment programs for veterans, Riffle said.

marijuana business; interesting read.

Admin; this is an encouraging read for the male dominated marijuana business.  It looks like the contributions of these ladies will be inspiring to those women that grow, sell both medically and recreationally.

 Debra Borchardt Contributor

I write about the business of marijuana.

BUSINESS 5/28/2015 @ 12:37PM

The Top Businesswomen In The Cannabis Industry

The non-traditional world of the cannabis industry looks very much like the regular corporate world – all men, but these women are out to change that. If marijuana were legalized for general use nationwide, the industry could grow to $45 billion, second only to the beer industry according to MarijuanaBusiness Daily’s 2015 Factbook. As a result, there has been a boom in start-up companies hoping to get into the industry early and the amount of capital willing to fund these companies has increased by 900%. There are some impressive, influential women that have jumped right into the industry with hopes of establishing a strong foothold and breaking down traditional corporate barriers. They are positive, strong willed women and they run their companies “like a boss.” These are the top business women in the marijuana sector.

Emily Paxhia – A co-founder of Poseidon Asset Management, Emily and her brother Morgan decided to get into the cannabis industry after the tragic loss of both parents to cancer. They saw first hand how medical marijuana could have helped ease their parents illness. When she and her brother found themselves out on the west coast, the former New Yorkers saw that the timing was right to strike out on their own and return to their entrepreneurial roots. Paxhia brought to the table ten plus years of work as a brand consultant and market researcher. Emily’s ability to reach out to investors and her brother’s investing skills were the magic for founding Poseidon Asset Management. Along with their third partner Christopher Otchy, the fund was established in January of 2014. Poseidon is hoping to raise $10-15 million dollars in capital this year.

Emily Paxhia of Poseidon Asset Management presenting at the WomenGrow Leadership Conference on May 17th of this year.

Emily Paxhia of Poseidon Asset Management presenting at the WomenGrow Leadership Conference on May 17th of this year.

Jazmin Hupp – WomenGrow was founded in the summer of 2014 by Jazmin Hupp and Jane West. WomenGrow is a national professional network that connects leaders and entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry. The group cultivates female leadership through programs and events across the country. In just a short time the group has grown to 30 chapters nationwide. Hupp is the Executive Director and spends a whopping 35 weeks of every year on the road. “We were attending these cannabis events and we weren’t finding our tribe,” said Hupp. “So we decided to set up these events meant to welcome women into the industry and be the first place they come when they are interested in the industry.” The group is sponsored by companies within the industry and has received commitments from fifty different companies and uses the #First50 to recognize this campaign. The group’s next big event they are involved with is the Cannabis World Congress in New York June 17-19.

Amy Poinsett and Jessica Billingsley – Cannabis software company MJ Freeway  is headed by two dynamic women. Amy Poinsett is the co-founder and CEO and Jessica Billinsley is the other co-founder and COO. Billingsley followed a traditional business path of starting a company when she couldn’t find the product she needed in the marketplace. She had invested in the first licensed marijuana business in Colorado and was asked to choose the software needed to run the business. Nothing existed. That’s when she and Poinsett decided to use their tech backgrounds and create a platform that tracked every gram of marijuana and every dollar, now known as seed-to-sale software. MJ Freeway has 1,000 licenses in 19 states. It is one of the few American companies to translate its product into Spanish and they were also one of the few American companies to attend the World Cannabis Conference in Spain. These girls are going global.

Dr. Lakisha Jenkins – This woman is a powerhouse. She holds a Doctorate in Naturopathy and a BSA in Holistic Nutrtion. She is the founder and CEO of the Kiona Foundation and its subsidiary The Farm’acy, which operate two health cooperatives. She also serves as the founding director and President of Jenasis Cooperative which is a business and employment cooperative. This superwoman is also President of the California Cannabis Industry Associationand serves on the board of the National Cannabis Industry Association. As part of the NICA board Jenkins advocates for responsible business practices and corporate accountability. As President of the CCIA, Jenkins has pushed for regulation of the marijuana industry in California and the group is working with politicians to craft legislation that will cut down on illegal cannabis cultivation and protect those willing to work within new regulations.

Juliana Carella – Carella founded Auntie Dolores in 2008. Auntie Dolores is a line of edible medical marijuana products, whose name is a play on the Spanish term pain. Infused products are a small slice of the medical marijuana world, but when it comes to recreational use, some stores are seeing edible products outsell smoked product. Infused owners expect to see a 65% increase in business this year and if more states legalize retail marijuana, the group will see more increases. Auntie Dolores products are available in 150 dispensaries in California and are hoping to expand to other states. The products consistently contain 10mg of THC and range from savory to sweet products. In addition to the brownies, cookies and nuts, Auntie Dolores also makes pet treats. The company hopes to license its brand and has plans to look for more opportunities with investors.

Marijuana legislation; about time continues

Admin; This slow movement supported by active, vocal voters is moving the concept forward for the medical marijuana benefit of many people…

Congress Considers Medical Marijuana for Veterans

BY JOHN HUDAK 5/29/15 AT 12:53 PM


A committee vote in the U.S. Senate paved the way to relax policies regarding medical marijuana in veterans health facilities. ALESSANDRO BIANCHI/REUTERS

Marijuana policy is changing the way Congress thinks and acts.

Like most new areas of policy—or policies new to Congress—it is not happening through a ground-breaking, fast moving, all-encompassing policy shift. Instead, through small steps—small victories for marijuana supporters—Congress is showing signs of change, at least in regard to medical marijuana, that depart dramatically with the institution’s historical support for the war on drugs.

A committee vote in the U.S. Senate last week paved the way to relax policies regarding medical marijuana in veterans health facilities. Long an issue championed by veterans groups and the pro-marijuana community, the desire to facilitate veterans’ access has increased as this group’s health issues gain greater national attention in the wake of two wars.

The advocacy communities argue that medical marijuana can be used to treat or manage the symptoms of a variety of ailments that disproportionately affect veterans, including chronic pain, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. They also suggest cannabis can be helpful in addressing the serious epidemic of veteran suicide.

I take no position on the efficacy of such a treatment—I’ll leave those determinations to the medical and other scientific communities. But regardless of one’s perspective around or belief in those claims, the argument has motivated a serious change among policy communities and now policymakers.

One stumbling block in the effort to give veterans access to medical marijuana has been legal restrictions on Veterans Affairs doctors’ ability to recommend cannabis for treatment. In fact, VA doctors are often unwilling to discuss the topic with patients who have questions.

This reality comes not from heartlessness among VA professions. Nor does this barrier arise necessarily because of a cultural opposition among VA doctors. Instead, federal law, particularly the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the regulatory progeny that traces its roots back to that act, limits the ability of doctors (federal government employees) to recommend a substance that is determined to be illegal.

This presents a real challenge for medical marijuana-seeking veterans. Many veterans depend solely or largely on VA for their health care access. Wounded warriors also face risks of economic hardship because of their disability or health conditions that limit employment. Thus, the added costs of seeking out a non-VA doctor for a recommendation adds to the price of accessing medical marijuana—a product that is already quite costly in many jurisdictions.

In response, a bipartisan amendment was proposed by Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) that sought to overcome that challenge.

Details About the Veteran’s Medical Marijuana Proposal

First, a few clarifying points about what this proposal is and what it is not. It is not a stand-alone law. It is a committee amendment to the Senate version of the FY16 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. While elements of this proposal can be found in the recent comprehensive legislation (the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act), this proposal is not the formal advancement of that legislation.

Nor has the Senate passed this proposal. Its advancement thus far has been in the appropriations subcommittee on two votes. The first passed the amendment entering it formally into the legislation. The second passed the broader appropriations bill through committee.

That is not to say the legislation is not significant. This is one of the first times a Senate committee passed an individual legislative item specifically relaxing marijuana policy. (Previous Senate votes on broader bills included pro-marijuana provisions, taken up and inserted by the House.)

Second, the legislative effort is not certain to find its way into the final bill. The Senate committee bill (the broader appropriations legislation) differs from the House version, and thus, one of two paths forward on the legislation must occur.

Either the House has to pass the Senate version or the House and Senate need to conference to work out differences—a scenario in which this provision, like all others, are at risk of being stripped. That is not to say this provision will ultimately be left out, but the reality is that this is not a done deal.

Third, it is unclear what effect the provision will have. The amendment attempts a policy change via its formal jurisdiction: appropriations. As the committee report on the legislation notes, the effect of the amendment is to prohibit “the use of funds to interfere with the ability of veterans to participate in State-approved medicinal marijuana programs or deny services to such veterans” (see Page 71).

There exist two challenges to this provision having the intended effect. For one, the Obama administration took a combative stance against a similar provision in a Justice Department appropriations bill that sought to restrict the use of Drug Enforcement Administration funds to enforce the CSA in states with approved medical marijuana systems. Rather than compliance with that legislation, a DEA spokesperson noted that the administration position is that it can still use funds to enforce the CSA, even in states covered by that provision.

The administration position that gives the CSA supremacy over the provisions of appropriations legislation sets a precedent (or at least offers a precedent) that calls into question whether the veterans access provision would be treated similarly.

That said, in an environment in which the VA is mired in scandal and simultaneously veteran health issues are quickly rising in public awareness, it is hard to imagine the Obama administration arresting veterans and VA doctors seeking such treatments. Veterans health care policy should never be determined by political optics; in fact, the political optics of such prosecutions would be devastating for the administration and fodder for some of the most damning media coverage a White House could imagine.

Yet beyond the White House’s determination of the binding nature of the appropriations provision, it is important to consider another limitation. The provision does not force doctors to discuss marijuana. Nor does it force doctors to consider marijuana as a treatment option. It simply seeks to offer a type of legal protection for doctors who choose to offer cannabis as part of a treatment regimen.

“Choose” is the key word because doctors can still opt, for whatever reason, not to consider such a treatment plan. While some medical professionals have a very accepting view of medical marijuana, others remain opposed. Some physicians are not convinced of the medical benefit or are uncomfortable with the scant research on the topic. Other physicians may remain concerned about legal ramifications. Still others operate within a medical culture in which some constituencies remain opposed to cannabis for a variety of reasons.

The result is that even if reform comes about, veterans’ access to medical marijuana will still face serious barriers—formal and informal—in ways that will come as no surprise to those in the pro-marijuana community. Those barriers are ones that the movement works hard to break down, but they are barriers that still exist and remain firm in specific segments of society.

Regardless of the outcome of the Daines-Merkley amendment and of the ultimate consequence of the policy change, the passage of this legislation tells us something significant about the trajectory of marijuana policy in the United States.

The grip of the war on drugs on American political institutions is weakening. Legislators are likely responding to a combination of rapidly changing and concrete public opinion and a coordinated, professionalized lobbying effort.

Congress members and Senators no longer see marijuana policy as a hot-button issue mired in the culture wars of American politics. Instead, (medical) marijuana is a health care issue that is being debated in the halls of Congress, not as a taboo but as mainstream public policy.

Congress keeps signaling its transformation on this issue and the Daines-Merkley amendment’s greater significance may be the sign that this transformation may finally have broken down the doors to the Senate chamber.

John Hudak is a fellow of governance studies and managing editor of the FixGov blog at the Brookings Institution, which is where this article first appeared.

Marijuana buds get their beauty photographed.

Admin; Great article about new book out with detailed pictures of buds from more than 300 strains using a very detailed photography technique.

Looks Good Enough To Smoke: Marijuana Gets Its Glamour Moment

MAY 20, 201512:52 PM ET



  • GDP (Granddaddy Purple). Smell/Taste: grape, creamy, berry. Common effects: euphoria, relaxed, body buzz. Top medicinal uses: appetite and pain.

    Courtesy of Chronicle Books

  • Blue Kush. Smell/Taste: floral, berry, spicy. Common effects: body buzz, relaxed, alert. Top medicinal uses: pain and muscle tension.

    Courtesy of Chronicle Books

  • Black Cherry Soda. Smell/Taste: cherry, creamy, berry. Common effects: relaxed, euphoria, lazy. Top medicinal uses: stress and pain.

    Courtesy of Chronicle Books

  • Skunk #1. Smell/Taste: skunky, pungent, acrid. Common effects: uplifting, pungent, acrid. Top medicinal uses: stress and anxiety.

    Courtesy of Chronicle Books

  • Sour Amnesia. Smell/Taste: spicy, fuel, skunky. Common effects: energetic, uplifting, cheerful. Top medicinal uses: fatigue and mood enhancement.

    Courtesy of Chronicle Books

  • Strawberry Cough. Smell/Taste: strawberry, cedar, earthy. Common effects: sociable, cheerful, focused. Top medicinal uses: fatigue and mood enhancement.

    Courtesy of Chronicle Books

  • Sugar Daddy. Smell/Taste: peppery, lemon, earthy. Common effects: relaxed, mellow, lazy. Top medicinal uses: stress and nausea.

    Courtesy of Chronicle Books

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When Erik Christiansen started smoking pot, he became fascinated by the look of different marijuana strains. But the photographs of marijuana he saw didn’t capture the variety.

So he went to the hardware store and picked up two lights and a cardboard box. “I didn’t even have a macro lens — I was shooting through a magnifying glass,” he says.

High-Def Views

Christiansen has created high-resolution 360-degree views of some strains of marijuana, including this one of Platinum Bubba.

Platinum Bubba

Credit: Courtesy of Erik Christiansen

The California-based photographer tinkered with his macro technique until he had created a consistent way to capture highly detailed images of marijuana.

Then Dan Michaels, a cannabis aficionado and strategist for the growing legal pot industry, contacted Christiansen about collaborating on a field guide. The result is Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana (Chronicle Books, $30). The high-end coffee table book documents over 170 strains of cannabis, explaining their medicinal and recreational attributes. (Though it’s worth noting that the medicinal benefits are based on subjective reports rather than randomized clinical trials.)

The book is meant to appeal to the growing artisanal marijuana industry, describing each bud’s tasting notes and effects much like a sommelier would describe a vintage wine.

We asked Christiansen about becoming a professional weed photographer, and what we can tell about a marijuana bud’s effects by looking at it. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

How did you source all of these buds?

I had a library of probably 300 to 400 strains that we were able to pull from. There’s your popular strains that most people who enjoy cannabis have heard of, like your Blue Dreams and your Girl Scout Cookies. But we also wanted to include the rare ones. I searched through hundreds of dispensaries in San Diego, L.A., and the Bay Area to try and track down all of them.


Seeing the buds close up accentuates the variations — some have these wiry golden threads and others are tightly coiffed, like beehive hairdos. They seem to take on personalities. What does this tell us about the plants?


A Field Guide to Marijuana

by Dan Michaels and Erik Christiansen

Hardcover, 395 pages

You can take the same plant and give a clone to six different growers and at the end of that grow cycle each will be unique in its own way, based on the nutrients that the growers us, the CO2content of the air and the temperature of the room. Being able to get up close and see those differences is important.

If you look at any of the pictures, there are these little balls on the end of each plant— that’s where the THC is stored. The more little balls, or trichomes, that are present on the buds, the more potent it can be. The color will also tell you a lot about the effect it will deliver. More amber-color trichomes will deliver a more body effect, where lighter-colored trichomes will be more of a head-y effect.

Do you have any favorites?

My favorite in the book is the strain called the Shire. I’ve only been able to find it once. The effect was so uplifting. It’s the only strain that’s ever given me the stereotypical effect where you’re just sitting there laughing. I went back to that dispensary trying to get it again and was never able to find it again.

There’s a certain legitimacy to field guides, or any reference book that documents variations of a species. Was legitimacy the intention?

Absolutely. It’s not this stoner druggie culture anymore; it’s becoming a real industry.

It’s like the wild, wild West. Or craft beer. It’s a bunch of little guys tinkering and creating new strains. Some of them totally take off and blow up and you see them all over the place.

What happens to the buds after you’ve shot them?

I usually get to sample them. Not all the time, but that’s a perk of the job.