Monday, June 27, 2011

Schedule 420

Schedule 1 is the cornerstone of cannabis prohibition, an institutional lie designed to frighten citizens and hamper scientists so that no one gets close enough to re-discover the truth about this ancient medicinal herb that rarely harms and never kills.  By declaring cannabis to be of no medical value (who's still not laughing?) our government has been able to hold the line on research and control the conversation for nearly eighty years.  But now the truth is online, and the research has gone viral.

Every spring, on the afternoon of 4-20, cannabis fans all over the world conduct, on themselves, at their own expense, on schedule to the minute, and often on video, the largest coordinated cannabis study possible; all in.

And what happens when everyone who chooses to do so gets totally baked on the same day, at the exact same time, all around the world year after year?  Don't bother to check headlines from 4-21; you already know; no big bad; no spike in traffic accidents, health care costs or violent crime on 4-20 or for that matter every afternoon at 4:20.  No ill effect from celebratory mass consumption on a global scale, and yet this is the 'substance' our government of hope and change continues to insist (with guns at the ready) that we stay away from?

The industrial revolution swiped our right to choose cannabis.  We want it back.  We know the truth and we're not shy about sharing it.  Mainstream media is wising up; seeing the demand and the dollars.  When the American people wake up to the truth about this healing garden flower that also happens to be stimulating rural economies from Bangor to Boulder and beyond, they'll rise up and end this terrible war faster than a NH governor can just say no.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Next Bagel

I was in bagels when bagels turned hot.  We founded Boston Bagel in 1990, and we were there when Lenders launched a $40 million ad campaign to tell the world about their strange boiled rolls.  That sparked a brand new segment in the baking industry, and our sales went from middling to over a million in under 18 months.  It was a wild ride, especially in the mid-90s when investors and large bakeries swooped into the space to make deals and snap up the best and brightest teams.  Alas, we were not one of them.  Young and unfocused, by the time we figured out what color to paint our tent, the party was over.

Cannabis is the next bagel, except that this enterprise frontier involves countless new venture possibilities across lots of industries; textiles, food, medicine, patient care, education, retail, consumer products and more.

Most people in the Northeast are still completely unaware of this economic powerhouse on the horizon.  In New England, where weed is nearly as popular as ice cream, the negative social stigma of being associated with this naughty little prep-school vice is a strong motivator to look away and keep quiet.  Entrepreneurship professors at certain Eastern business schools, like the old Yankee caterers who scoffed at the idea that a dense and chewy Jewish bread could ever go mainstream, are not seeing the possibilities either.  VCs down on Milk Street (the ones for whom fine bud is like fine wine only more so) are cheering from the sidelines but their institutional clients would freak at the idea of investing in the cannabis trades.

The good news is that for early entrants the fruit is ripe and hanging low; choice names, domains, product concepts, rising demand, and lots of business models begging for someone to come in and build something special.  To those of you who cringe at the idea of enterprise and making money, keep in mind that wherever successful cannabis ventures grow, the truth spreads right along with the good fortune.

If you are out of work and looking, give some thought to what it is you enjoy doing, and how you might utilize those skills to transition into (or begin to investigate) your own legal corner of this vast emerging frontier.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

God and Cannabis

I'm snr, but the Bible does say that God created the earth and all its natural riches for our benefit (Genesis 1:29).  Free will came with the deal so that we, being naturally curious and inventive, would treat ourselves to those blessings.  For thousands of years we did just that, and cannabis was cherished as one of the finest greens of all Creation.  Then suddenly, less than a century ago, this divine plant was demonized and three times denied; food, fiber, medicine.  Now we have a forbidden flower that people need for medicine, and free will only within the bounderies of 'modern' law.  Could there possibly be a greater testament to the awesome power and reach of the Great Prohibition than ongoing Christian support for it?

Monday, June 20, 2011

My first blunt

Okay I admit it.  I use cannabis medicinally and not so much for recreation.  I don't use tobacco at all except when I travel (hiding behind sunglasses at a busy outdoor cafe, corner table, back to the wall, my notebook, a fast pen, strong coffee, and a single smoke bought for pennies from a street vendor...)  So maybe it's not surprising I never tried a blunt.  Last weekend I'm up at Don Christian's festival in Harmony ME, strategizing with Scott, my festival commander in the field (B-school speak; vendor liason).  This multi-fam campsite, which has taken most of the morning to set up, has all the comforts of home.  I'm in the kitchen looking for bug spray when Jimmy arrives with Emily.  Emily joins herbalist Sondra Running Wolf on the hammock.  Jimmy sits next to Scott and uses a skinner's knife to gut an El Producto.  Refilling the shell with dried flowers, Jimmy explains that while my generation grew up rolling joints, his generation favors this hybrid that has long been popular in Europe.  It's a classic odd coupling; tobacco, a highly addictive leaf that cause cancer fairly readily, wrapped around cannabis, a non-toxic flower that is not physically addictive and that more and more people are swearing actually kills cancer.  Conclusion:  If Eric Cartman married Betty Boop and they had a child...the kid would be fun to party with, but I wouldn't make a habit of it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Give cannabis the screen time it deserves

Last night I attended the fun and lively screening of the NH 48 Hour Film Project up in Hooksett.  My 15-year-old had worked on one of the crews, and I must say it was a bit strange seeing her name scrolling on screen; production assistant, data wrangler...Of course, I'd been hoping to see cannabis up there as well since it's as much a part of the fabric of the American experience as a frosty brew is.  The re-emergence of regular cannabis use by regular people is a great place to look for storylines, complex characters, startling truths, and delicious points of conflict and contradiction.  Most important; the honest portrayal of cannabis use on screen (on stage and in writing) is the perfect foil to the most successful and far-reaching propaganda campaign the world has ever known.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Taylor

It was a dark and stormy night.  Christmas Eve 2005.  Amherst, NH.  I had ducked into the Guitar Gallery to have a few moments with a Taylor 714ce I'd grown particularly fond of.  Rosewood back.  Deep thumb-picking bass.  Except that I didn't actually know how to play.  Earlier that year I'd found a Squire mini acoustic in my half of the stuff.  The rusty, high-action strings tore at my fingers and the tinny sound fit the mood; late-40s guy trying to forget, and move on...The 714?  Just sold.  That figures.  He'd seen me around; knew I couldn't play.  Taking pity on this night of all nights, he excused himself from the customer I must have just interrupted and returned with a limited edition 414ce; rosewood under spruce.  I found a corner in the busy store.  The resonance, the feel, the happy, sad sad tears.  Wrap it up.  Merry Christmas to me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Occam 101

The chasm of belief about the nature of cannabis is now so vast that it begs the question; who is more likely to be right?  On one side are mostly well-meaning authority figures raised on Nancy's Kool-Aid; your police chief, your pastor, your coach, and if you live in New Hampshire, your Governor and your newest Senator.  They all just say no to cannabis; it'll make you lazy and useless; you'll be a drain on society.  On the other side of this millennial divide are cannabis minions--tireless and driven patients, advocates and researchers like Shona Banda, Rick Simpson and Dr. Melamede.  They seem to think about nothing else, as if they have discovered a wondrous truth that must be shared with the rest of humanity before it's too late.  As if.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cannabis Rising in Harmony Maine June 17-19

We'll be up at the Maine Vocals fest next week (  It's about an hour north of Augusta.  Here's some advice you shouldn't need; don't blaze away in your car on the way there!  [Law officers in Maine are generally well-regarded as tolerant and respectful of the will of the people--in this case the right to choose cannabis.  But that doesn't mean they have any tolerance for fools or for sellers of deadly powders and pills].  Organizer Don Christian is one of the leaders of the vibrant free cannabis movement in Maine, and this fest is fun and affordable with lots of bands, good conversation and a huge fire that burns til dawn.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Our Summer of Hemp Discontent

Irony is in full bloom this growing season.  We are the last industrial nation to forbid hemp cultivation, and the largest importer of hemp raw materials.  Our Guy of (dashed) Hope and (spare) Change does nothing about oligarchic edicts cooked up nearly a century ago by greedy white men to take out the competition, so with this frontier off limits in America, the freedom to grow is giving hemp farmers and enterprisers an enviable head start in more enlightened countries like North Korea and China.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Don't Tell; Ask

Now that the truth is out there, cannabis advocates with the opportunity to connect on camera with the keepers of the Great Prohibition ought to pose questions that give the viewers something to search for.  Have you read Marijuana is Safer?  Have you watched Hemp and the Rule of Law?  Do you know who Shona Banda is?  Why not?  People who seek to lead in the new century must agree to look, learn, and evolve.  What would Mitt do?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's Not Dope, Stupid!

I used to attend statehouse hearings on hemp legalization measures, but no more.  In New England it's often a dull sideshow presided over by intractable old Yankees--demanding parliamentary respect from a few good citizens who know enough and care enough to show up, but offering little in return (empty seats, side-chats, tapping pencils, vacant stares).  I motion: Vote them old bahstahds out and restore the right of US farmers to grow hemp.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hemp People; Join us, Unite the clans

Hemp is a non-psychoactive (little or no THC) strain of cannabis.  There.  I said it.  Too many hemp advocates still duck and dodge this convenient truth--convenient because acknowledging the cannabis connection reveals our rich and important association with this amazingly diverse and useful species; food, fiber, medicine, creative, spiritual.  Hempsters!  Embrace the facts and join the worldwide movement to restore our right to choose.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Not Quiet Not Desperate

Quiet Desperation, Rob Potylo's fun and edgy Boston-area show is headed for notoriety if not fame.  In getting sacked by incoming station owners (conservatives who Just Say No to programming that messes with their ability to attract old-world advertisers), QD has exposed the institutional nature of cannabis prohibition--and set itself for a better deal down the road.  Right time, right place in history.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

On liking but. And and.

As a writer who has always counted on cut/slash edit rounds to achieve 'good enough is good enough', this blog excursion is something new indeed--since my first drafts, heavy with punctuation, tend to be filled with extended verb constructions and long sentences; many of them beginning with and.  And but.  But by the time the final draft rolls out they're all gone.  Mostly.  I like but.  And and.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Life in the cannabis trades

My contribution to the revolution is teaching folks how to make a reduction tincture I've used for years--first for big screen movies and later to drastically reduce my use of the pain pills that were killing me. 

The most addictive aspect of cannabis is once you start learning and sharing the truth, and seeing lives saved and lives can't stop.

Since I have no interest in living the life of a black marketeer, I am funding this addiction by building a festival product development company called Cannabis Rising; Most Excellent Goods/Made for the Revolution.  Our first offering is the print Cannabis Rising by artist Douglas Lakota.  Our second item is the Candana; a bandana screened with leaf scans of notable strains.

Building a cannabis biz in the Northeast is tough.  Angel investors (the ones who btw enjoy cannabis) either squirm and look around to make sure no one is listening, or titter like schoolgirls at the idea that they would ever invest in a 'marijuana' enterprise.  Alliances are easy to establish but very difficult to sustain because frankly there are more than a few all-talk stoners in this emerging industry.

In Southern New Hampshire, a state still ruled by prohibitionists, professional services can be difficult to nail down as well.  One woman, a cannabis fan I've know for years and an Illustrator/Photoshop master, declined my offer to enhance CR images/files at $20/hr, saying she was 'uncomfortable with the whole out-on-a-limb cannabis thing, and I don't want to align myself with that..."

The day before a screen printer I just started working with sent a pdf proof for the Candanas/series #1 with a file name pot-leaf bandanas. I felt compelled to reply:

Cannabis Rising is about using specific words and images to help counter nearly 80 years of anti-cannabis propaganda.  While we love and use pet names for this herb, at work we agree to stick with cannabis.

Just another day in the cannabis trades...