Review: ‘Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America’

Well researched and packed with insightful analysis, Emily Dufton’s Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America (Basic Books) chronicles how cannabis went from verboten to Main Street commerce in the U.S during the last 50 years.

When did the effort to end pot prohibition exactly begin in America? Trivial Pursuit fans will learn that the first modern marijuana-law-reform activist was Lowell Eggemeier, who in 1964 lit up a joint in San Francisco’s Hall of Justice and dared police to arrest him, which they did. “I’m starting a campaign to legalize marijuana-smoking,” he declared. A year later, LeMar (short for Legalize Marijuana) was founded (without Eggemeier’s help).

Through numerous interviews with many of the principals involved in early cannabis-law reform efforts, Dufton (pictured above) aptly discusses the origins of the first three separately organized pioneering groups: LeMar and Amorphia, which in short time evolved into the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), founded in 1970.

With NORML leading the public charge, Congress formed a commission that recommended decriminalizing marijuana in the 1972 Shafer Report. Despite President Richard Nixon disparaging its findings, 11 states decriminalized pot in the ’70s, starting with Oregon in 1973.

Study: Long-Term Marijuana Use Doesn’t Increase Risk for Adverse Lung Function, May Reduce Emphysema Risk

The long-term use of marijuana isn’t associated with a decrease in lung function, and may reduce the risk of emphysema, according to a new study published by the journal Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases.

For the study, researchers examined the relationship between the long-term use of marijuana and lung health in 2,300 patients ages 40 to 80.

“This cross-sectional analysis of participants enrolled into the SPIROMICs cohort was performed to investigate the relationships between marijuana use and pulmonary function and symptoms”, states the study, which notes that “Those enrolled were carefully screened and recruited based on tobacco use history and spirometric function”.

According to researchers; “Neither current nor former marijuana use was associated with increased risk of cough, wheeze, or chronic bronchitis when compared to never marijuana users after adjusting for covariates”. Both current and former marijuana use “was associated with significantly less quantitative emphysema”. In agreement with other published studies, researchers “also did not find that marijuana use was associated with more obstructive lung disease.”

The full text of the study can be found by clicking here. It was conducted by researchers from the following institutions:


  1. National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado
  2. Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora
  3. Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles
  4. Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy, Department of Medicine and Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco
  5. Departments of Radiology, Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  6. University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City
  7. Department of Biostatics and Informatics, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora
  8. Division of Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  9. Columbia University, Division of General Medicine, New York, New York
  10. University Michigan Health System, Ann

‘Mary Janes’ Documentary Features the Women of Weed

In a Marin County hotel room, a group of women are giggling, adjusting each other’s hair and posing for selfies. It’s pretty typical, until you hear the dialogue.

“Fuck Facebook!” one says

“Censorship is bullshit!” barks another.

Yes, this is not just any group of women, and this is not just another gathering of friends. We’d all come together to attend the world premiere of Mary Janes: The Women of Weed at the Mill Valley Film Festival on Oct. 8, but we weren’t as happy as we should’ve been, given that we were hours away from our documentary debut.

As pioneers in an industry being reborn outside of prohibition in a society where women are rarely chosen to lead, we’re well seasoned in the ways of hypocrisy and cannabis. Yet, no matter how far we get forging the path to legitimacy, around every turn is a reminder that we can’t put down our machetes just yet.

On this day, our oppressor was Facebook. The social network had refused to allow ads for Mary Janes, because the film’s about marijuana. Let that sink …

Ross Rebagliati: Olympics Should Allow Athletes to Use Cannabis

By Dina Ibrahim,

Ross Rebagliati, the world’s first Olympic gold medalist for Men’s Snowboarding and a long-time cannabis activist, believes Olympic events should allow athletes access to cannabis if their countries of origin allow.

Ross Rebagliati had a cannabis business but Kelowna municipality in British Columbia shut it down in late 2017. (Photo via Ross’ Gold Facebook Page)

“Athletes from countries that allow [one of the many psychoactive compounds in marijuana] THC like Canada, America, and other countries in the world like Portugal and Spain, those Olympic athletes should be allowed to use cannabis because that is part of culture they live in,” the 47-year-old Rebagliati told The Puff Puff Post.

As thousands of international athletes ready up for the 2018 winter Olympics in South Korea’s PyeongChang, the trend to legalize marijuana is taking a sweeping effect around the globe.

In 2017, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize marijuana, influencing many others to accept cannabis use, at least medicinally. Such is the case in Mexico and Germany.

On Jan. 1, California lent its heavyweight population to be the eighth and the largest U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana. There is already a dozen of U.S. states that allow the medical use of marijuana.

In Portugal, which already has legal marijuana plantations destined for exports, the Doctors’ Association is calling for the legalization of marijuana-based medicines on Thursday. This is the same day parliament started to debate a draft bill that goes even further, seeking to allow patients to grow pot at home.

Moreover, Rebagliati’s home country – Canada – is expected to become the first developed nation to legalize recreational cannabis this summer.

Rebagliati made international headlines in 1998 not because he won the world’s first ever gold in Men’s Snowboarding for Canada in Nagano, Japan. Rebagliati’s gold medal was almost stripped away from him because the Olympics committee found traces of THC after

Study: Cannabis May Provide Treatment Option for Parkinson’s Disease

Cannabis may help in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, according to a new study published in the journal Neurotherapeutics and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“Previous studies suggest that the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the neuropathological basis of Parkinson’s disease (PD)”, begin’s the study’s abstract. “This study was designed to detect potential alterations in the cannabinoid receptors CB1 (CB1r) and CB2 (A isoform, CB2Ar), and in monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) gene expression in the substantia nigra (SN) and putamen (PUT) of patients with PD.”

According to researchers, the results of the present study “suggest that CB1r, CB2r, and MAGL are closely related to the neuropathological processes of PD.” Therefore, “the pharmacological modulation of these targets [such as through the consumption of cannabis] could represent a new potential therapeutic tool for the management of PD.”

For the full text of the study – conducted by researchers at Miguel Hernández University-CSIC, Instituto de Salud Carlos III and Universidad de Navarra – click here.

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Equity in Oakland: Giving Minorities a Chance

Oakland, California is tackling the diversity in cannabis issue head-on. Its Equity Program, passed by the City Council last March, was designed to help the city’s black and Latino residents, granting them 50% of new cannabis business permits for everything from cultivation to manufacturing.

As of Nov. 17, less than four months before adult-use marijuana became legal in California on Jan. 1, 129 of the 255 applications for cannabis-business permits in Oakland had come from equity candidates.

The lack of equity up until now is largely due to cities and states not allowing people with criminal records to work in the industry, hence shutting out many people from the racial and ethnic groups that have been disproportionately arrested and incarcerated for possession and sales. In 2011, 90% of all people arrested for marijuana in Oakland were black or Latino.

People from these two groups are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than whites are, even though use is about the same in each group. The Equity Program was created to deal with this disparity and act as a kind of reparation.

Study: Marijuana Use Associated with Reduced Prevalence of Liver Disease in Alcoholics

Alcoholics who use cannabis are less likely to have liver disease, according to a new study being published in the journal Liver International and epublished ahead of print by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“Abusive alcohol use has well-established health risks including causing liver disease (ALD) characterized by alcoholic steatosis (AS), steatohepatitis (AH), fibrosis, cirrhosis (AC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)”, states the study’s abstract. “Strikingly, a significant number of individuals who abuse alcohol also use Cannabis, which has seen increased legalization globally. While cannabis has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, its combined use with alcohol and the development of liver disease remains unclear.” With this in mind, the aim of the study was to “determine the effects of cannabis use on the incidence of liver disease in individuals who abuse alcohol.

For the study, researchers analyzed “the 2014 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project – Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) discharge records of patients 18years and older, who had a past or current history of abusive alcohol use”. Using the International Classification of Disease, Ninth Edition codes, they “studied the four distinct phases of progressive ALD with respect to three cannabis exposure groups: non-cannabis-users (90.39%), non-dependent-cannabis-users (8.26%) and dependent cannabis users (1.36%).” Researchers “accounted for the complex survey sampling methodology and estimated the adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for developing AS, AH, AC and HCC with respect to cannabis use (SAS 9.4).”

The study “revealed that among alcohol users, individuals who additionally use cannabis (dependent and non-dependent cannabis use) showed significantly lower odds of developing AS, AH, AC and HCC (AOR: 0.55[0.48-0.64], 0.57[0.53-0.61], 0.45[0.43-0.48] & 0.62[0.51-0.76]). Further, dependent users had significantly lower odds than non-dependent users for developing liver disease.”

Researchers conclude by stating that; “Our findings suggest that cannabis use is associated with reduced incidence of liver disease in alcoholics.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

The post Study: Marijuana Use Associated with Reduced Prevalence of Liver Disease

Diversity in the New Marijuana Economy

Diversity Black Marijuana

The Hood Incubator in Oakland focuses on increasing the participation of black and brown communities in the cannabis industry.

There have been plenty of stories, blogs and social-media posts about the “whitewashing of the Green Rush.” For years, the Minority Cannabis Business Association and other groups have sounded the alarms about how this new wave of ganjapreneurs is distressingly monochromatic. Is anything actually being done?

Yes, things are being done. Oakland, California, which continues to be far ahead of any other municipality when it comes to cannabis, has approved a program that gives half of new city cannabusiness licenses to people with lower incomes or who live in the neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the War on Drugs. 


Boston Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley is for equity in cannabis.

Massachusetts’ new adult-use pot law has a provision mandating outreach programs to the historically disenfranchised, and Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley has introduced legislation that would direct 20% of unspent revenues from state and local marijuana taxes toward programs aimed at social justice and creating more opportunities for people of color. Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia have all enacted legislation designed to create more diversity in the cannabis industry. In fact, Pennsylvania requires businesses applying for medical-cannabis licenses to spell out their plan for ensuring a diverse workforce.

Women are taking the lead in cannabis industry in terms of diversity. They fill 36% of the executive positions, according to a 2015 Marijuana Business Daily survey. That’s significantly higher than the 22% national average in the non-weed world.

Will the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment Survive?


Reps. Rohrabacher (right) and Blumenauer in 2014. (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers Fight for Federal Marijuana Protections

With Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinding the Cole Memo on Jan. 4, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment is the only federal law standing in the way of a potential crackdown on medical marijuana.

First passed in 2014, Rohrabacher-Blumenauer (then known as Rohrabacher-Farr) is an amendment to the annual appropriations bill that prohibits the Department of Justice from using federal funds to crack down on medical marijuana programs in the 29 states where it’s legal. In December, President Trump signed a stopgap funding bill that would extend these protections until Jan. 19.

For example, last August, a federal judge in San Francisco cited the amendment in a ruling that two California medical-marijuana growers who’d pleaded guilty to cultivation charges could not be sentenced to prison due to the amendment. And on Oct. 18, federal prosecutors in Washington State admitted that it prohibited them from prosecuting a group of medical growers known as the Kettle Falls Five.

Reps. McClintock and Polis Re-Introduce Their Amendment

Sessions’ decision to revoke federal protections in the eight legal recreational marijuana states has prompted a backlash in Congress. On Jan. 12, a bipartisan group of 69 members sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to include the McClintock-Polis amendment in the appropriations bill as well. Introduced by Reps. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), its language is similar the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment’s, but it would also protect legal state recreational cannabis programs.

Study: Medical Cannabis Legalization Associated with Reduced Violent Crimes in States Bordering Mexico

The introduction of laws legalizing medical cannabis is associated with reduced violent crimes in U.S. states bordering Mexico, according to a new study published by The Economic Journal.

“[T]he introduction of medical marijuana laws (MMLs) leads to a decrease in violent crime in states that border Mexico”, states the abstract of the study, titled Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime. “The reduction in crime is strongest for counties close to the border (less than 350 kilometres) and for crimes that relate to drug trafficking.”

In addition, researchers found that “MMLs in inland states lead to a reduction in crime in the nearest border state. Our results are consistent with the theory that decriminalisation of the production and distribution of marijuana leads to a reduction in violent crime in markets that are traditionally controlled by Mexican drug trafficking organisations.”

Specifically, the study concludes that in states bordering Mexico, medical cannabis legalization reduced violent crime by 13% on average.

The full study can be found by clicking here.

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5 Differences Between THC and CBD

By Robert Bergman,

What are the differences between THC and CBD? Here’s a look.

When you first start smoking weed, you hear the acronyms THC and CBD a lot. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two main active cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. There are over one hundre other cannbinoids such as THC-V, THC-A,  and CBN, but if you’re first starting out you should primarily concern yourself with the first two, at least for now. Cannabinoids are these neat little compounds that interact with the endocannabinoids that naturally occur in your body. Though they are both cannabinoids, there are quite a few differences between THC and CBD. For instance…

CBD is Non Psychoactive

This is one of the biggest differences between THC and CBD. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid; it’s the one that gets you baked. You know that heavy and relaxing feeling that you get after smoking some OG Kush? That can be attributed to THC. CBD on the other hand, is considered to be non psychoactive. This doesn’t mean that you feel nothing after using a high CBD strain or oil, quite the contrary. You won’t experience a noticeable change in your mood, but your body will feel uplifted and just all around. If you were feeling like you’re coming down with a cold prior to smoking, CBD will make you feel better almost instantly. Hence one of the reasons why CBD strains are more popular among medical cannabis users

CBD has Antipsychotic Properties

Sometimes when you smoke a high THC strain you might feel a little off. You might feel a little paranoid, you might have trouble concentrating, maybe your brain feels a little too slowed down, or maybe you feel dizzy. Regardless the effect, it seems that you got too high. The nice thing about CBD is that it can counteract some of those negative effects, and in some cases erase them entirely. …

Women Grow & the New Rules of Diversity

Gia Morón

There’s a diversity problem in the cannabis industry. Many have already experienced the lack of diversity in other industries, so this story is not new. But why is this so important now? People of color, women and LGBTQ communities have decided about the cannabis industry, “Not again, not this time. We’re going to change this narrative.”

As a black woman of Afro-Latina decent, I’m unapologetic about entering a room and looking for color first. I’m seeking familiar faces, reflections of myself, a commonality and a welcoming nod that says, “I acknowledge you.” For far too long, whether in my professional or personal life, white people have ignored or overlooked me, so the nod lets me know I’m not alone. I also look for women and representation from the LGBTQ community. Yes, I conduct a tally, because I purposely want to know who’s in the room. The same is true when I attend conferences. I want to see who the speakers are and if they reflect our communities.

A Fast Company article in 2015 stated that millennials view diversity as blended experiences, cultures and perspectives. I agree. Our diverse cultures and backgrounds certainly bring a unique richness to the table. That said, it’s our responsibility to hold people and businesses accountable when there’s an imbalance. Being diverse is smart business; just look at TV commercials, and print and digital ads. Society has forced big business into diversity and inclusion—which ultimately benefits consumers and businesses’ global reach.

Many have asked me why I work for Women Grow. The simple answer is I saw where I could make a difference. Together with our CEO, Kristina Garcia (formerly Neoushoff), and our amazing market leaders, we’re committed to seeing change in the cannabis industry. This year, we’ve assembled the most diverse market-leadership and headquarters teams since our inception in 2014. We still have work to do, but I believe we will get there

High Times Article Leads Feds to Massachusetts Grow Ops

Two Massachusetts ganja growers are facing federal felony charges after one of them “was featured in a magazine article noting that he regularly harvests 10 pounds of marijuana,” according to prosecutors.

Eric Vallee, 38, of Sutton, was arrested on Dec. 15, and Peter Molle, 35, of Holland, on Dec. 22. Both were charged with manufacturing marijuana and possession with intent to distribute. They face a mandatory minimum of two years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

“Yes, they were featured in High Times,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston tells Freedom Leaf. “That was a part of how they were spotted.”

The two were first raided in February, shortly after Vallee’s garden was featured in the High Times article, “New England’s Patriot Pot Growers.” The story explained that “Eric regularly harvests 10 pounds of medical cannabis from a space that has just 16 plants under four 1,000-watt HPS lights with a two-and-a-half-week vegetative time.” It also noted that he’d won several Cannabis Cups and worked with Molle.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said in

Study: Cannabis Use Does Not Reduce Motivation in Adolescents

Cannabis use, even on a regular basis, does not reduce motivation in adolescents, according to a new study published by the journal Substance Use & Misuse and published online by the National Institute of Health.

For the study, researchers examined 79 adolescents ages 14 to 18, who were “classified as recent regular cannabis users (36) or light users (43).” Frequency and amount of substance use “were assessed across participants’ lifetime and during the past 30 days”, and motivation was measured “through the Apathy Evaluation Scale and Motivation and Engagement Scale.” To examine associations between cannabis use (CU) and motivation indices, researchers conducted a series of two-step hierarchical multiple regressions.

After controlling for confounds, “no significant differences were observed between regular and light users on any motivation index”, states the study. Similarly, “no associations between motivation and lifetime or past 30-day CU amount were observed”.

The study concludes by stating; “Our findings do not support a link between reduced motivation and CU among adolescents after controlling for relevant confounds.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at Florida International University, can be found by clicking here.

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Seed-to-Sale Tracking: How It Works

RFID chips (for Radio Frequency Identification) do as their name implies: They identify the plant, the package of bulk flowers, and the pre-rolled joints, edibles and concentrates made from the flowers. Because the numbers are related to one another, it’s possible to trace a pre-rolled joint back to the plant from which it came.

1. Each marijuana plant being grown by a licensed grower is given a unique identifying number that’s at least 16 digits long, which is recorded onto an RFID chip.

2. Information about the plant, such as strain name, cultivation techniques and yield, is recorded by the growers and input into a database.

3. These databases reside on the “cloud,” which really just means an off-site server. This allows growers, as well as state agencies, to check on plants remotely.

4. The flowers harvested from a plant are given a unique identifying number that’s related to the plant’s unique ID, as are the leaves and the waste matter, such as stems. Those numbers are recorded onto the chips, which are then attached to containers holding the flowers, leaves or waste …