February 2018

How to make your own delicious weed gummies

Once you’ve mastered the basics of cooking with marijuana, like making weed butter or baking pot brownies, it’s time to move onto advanced techniques. Weed gummies are a popular choice because they fit in a little bag, they’re delicious, and their small size makes dosing a breeze.

You won’t be able to use your weed butter to make your weed gummies because your treats won’t set. Instead, you’re going to need a little tincture, which is a concentrated extract of cannabis, usually in the form of alcohol.

If you live in a state where medical marijuana is already legal, you’ll be able to skip an important step in this recipe: making your tincture. Just go to your dispensary, buy a few ounces of it, and then stop by the grocery store for your food needs and get started. But if you like doing things yourself, here’s how to make a marijuana tincture.

How to make tincture

Photo by Nekenasoa (CC-BY-SA)

To make your tincture, you’re going to need time, weed, and booze.

You will need the following:

  • 1-quart jar
  • 1 oz of activated cannabis
  • Everclear, vodka, or vegetable glycerine if you don’t drink

Step 1: Activate your cannabis, also known as decarboxylating. Raw cannabis has no psychoactive components, which is why you need to cook or smoke it to get high. You won’t feel a thing just from eating a raw nug.

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees F. If your oven tends to cook hot, set it to 200 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and evenly line the tray with your ounce of broken up pot. Make sure it isn’t too crowded so the heat can evenly distribute. It’s OK to do this in two batches. Cook your pot for 50 minutes. If you’re in no hurry, set the over to 200 degrees F and cook it for a little closer to 80 minutes. 

When your pot is done, you’ll notice its color will have significantly darkened. Congratulations. You’ve got activated cannabis.

Step 2: Fill your quart jar with your activated pot and then pour in your liquid, leaving about an inch of space at the top of the jar. We prefer to use Everclear, but vodka also works well.

Step 3: Put the lid on your jar, place the jar in a dark cabinet, and walk away. Leave it for at least two weeks or up to a few months if you want an absurdly potent tincture.

Step 4: Test your tincture after two weeks. If it’s strong enough, strain out the plant matter and pour your resulting mixture into dropper bottles. Put some on your tongue, in your tea, or, even better, make yourself some gummies.

Caution: Tincture is incredibly potent. It’s a concentrated form of cannabis with a very high THC level. Use caution with it and be responsible.

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How to make weed gummies

Photo by Ines Hegedus-Garcia (CC-BY)

You will need:

  • 1 ½ cups of 100 percent juice fruit juice (pulp is fine just make sure its 100 percent juice)
  • 4 tablespoons of gelatin (Unless you’re vegan, use grass-fed gelatin.)
  • 3 tablespoons of raw honey
  • 3-4 teaspoons of your tincture depending on how strong you want your gummies
  • Gummy molds (If you have Amazon Prime, there are plenty of options for under $12.)

Photo via Amazon

Step 1: Put your juice in a medium sauce place over low-medium heat. You want your liquid to get warm, but you don’t want it to boil. When your juice is warm add your tincture.

Step 2: Add your gelatin, slowly whisking it into your mixture until it is thoroughly blended into the juice. If you see any grains keep whisking until it has dissolved completely.

Step 3: Taste your mix. If it isn’t sweet enough for your liking add raw honey, one tablespoon at a time until it reaches your ideal sweetness.

Step 4: Carefully pour your mixture into your gummy molds, cover them, and let them refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

Step 5: Take them out of your molds and marvel at what you have created. Eat one gummy, and wait an hour. This will give you a general idea of how strong each treat is for future dosing. 

Step 6: Store your gummies in a sealed container in your fridge until you’re ready to eat them. For maximum effect, eat them within two weeks of making them.

You have now mastered the art of making your own homemade weed gummies. Remember, you can always take more, but you can’t take back a high you already have.

Read more: http://www.dailydot.com/

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Why It’s So Hard to Dose Weed

Cannabis is a notoriously finicky drug. Take the right amount and you get relaxation or euphoria, but take too much and it’s a long ride of paranoia. Which makes marijuana tricky for casual users, and potentially problematic for new users who want to use cannabis to treat ailments like pain.

It's difficult to quantify just how much of the drug you’re inhaling through a bong or vaporizer—especially because marijuana contains some 500 chemicals that interact in ways scientists are just beginning to understand. And really, how you end up feeling depends as much on your physiology and state of mind as it does on the plant.

But, some good news. For one, science only has more to learn about how marijuana works on the human body. And two, companies making cannabis devices are figuring out ways to tackle the dosing problem.

Take the Resolve One smart inhaler (formerly known as Breeze) for medical marijuana users who also happen to be data nerds, coming out in May. Think of it like the Keurig of cannabis: Insert a “Smart Pod” of marijuana and the device administers a precise blast of vapor. The device pairs with a smartphone app, where users begin by inputting their pain level. The inhaler calculates the right dose, followed by a drag. Ten minutes later, once the cannabis has kicked in, the app pings them to rate their pain again. This helps the user determine how effective the dose was.

And it helps Resolve One's maker, Resolve Digital Health, do the same: By gathering more and more data, it can build pain profiles. Some folks wake up in pain, for instance, while for others the pain builds throughout the day. So how might cannabis help mitigate these different experiences? How might the drug interact with other medications the person is taking? (Users are encouraged to log these in the Resolve One app.) How do other medical conditions factor into the pain problem? (You log these too.)

Resolve’s goal is to use data from Resolve One to help not only individual users, but to build a better understanding of how cannabis can treat pain. “I think patients of the future, and we're seeing it right now with cannabis patients, are data-empowered patients,” says Rob Adelson, president and CEO of Resolve. “They want information, they want to collect it, they want to share it, they want to compare it.”

Now, it’s clear that accumulating more and more data hasn’t cured cancer or helped humans figure out how to stop aging. But in the case of cannabis, scientists have so little detailed information about user responses that it makes sense to start looking. Especially because the effects of cannabis can vary wildly from user to user. Some people, for instance, can handle higher THC content than others without having a conniption. And how marijuana affects you can even vary based on how much food you’ve had that day, especially if you’re consuming edibles.

“It's going to take a long time for us to get to the level of knowledge that we all need to be at to understand how this plant works, specifically for very specific health conditions,” says Adelson. “But what we'll do is collect that data, and then put some of those insights and findings into clinical studies where we can go deeper into it.”

dosist

The uncertainty is especially challenging given how potent cannabis has become. One study found that THC levels have gone up three-fold since 1995, thanks to selective breeding. But patients may be more interested in high levels of CBD, the non-psychoactive component that could help treat ailments like epilepsy.

“Our focus is on mitigating the intoxicating effects of cannabis, which is a very different mindset than a lot of cannabis brands,” says Gunner Winston, CEO of Dosist, which makes dose pens. “A lot of people don't want to be intoxicated.”

The trick may be something called the entourage effect, the idea that the plant’s various compounds interact with one another to put a check on the psychoactive effects on THC. Specifically, you’d want a lot of CBD in there. Yet science hasn’t proved out this effect.

“I think the anecdotal mountain of evidence says that it does exist,” says Jeff Raber, CEO of the Werc Shop, a lab that tests cannabis. “But we don't know why or how or which ones are doing what.”

And that’s just when it comes to ingesting and inhaling cannabis. “We actually know very little about other modes of administration,” says UC San Diego researcher Igor Grant, who studies cannabis. “People talk about having skin patches and various kinds of gels. The work just hasn't been done to show whether that actually delivers the cannabis in the way that you would want in an effective dose.”

But as far as inhaled marijuana is concerned, companies like Resolve Digital Health and Dosist are starting to tackle the quantification problem, the former catering to patients and the later to a more general audience. And they’re betting that demand for a more predictable cannabis experience is only going up.

“People are asking for this,” says Winston of Dosist. “We can debate all day how much science has been done and should be done, but when you look across the country people are demanding cannabis for therapeutic purposes.”

Remember: Until there’s a fool-proof system for accurately dosing inhaled cannabis—and there may never will be—go low and slow. Your brain will thank you.

Read more: http://www.wired.com/

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Two Controversial Claims About Medical Marijuana Have Been Debunked

A pair of papers published today in the journal Addiction have poured some cold water on certain claims about medicinal marijuana.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 US states, leading some people to argue that this will increase recreational marijuana use. However, the first paper from Columbia University in New York says that is not the case.

Conducting a meta-analysis of 11 studies from four ongoing large national surveys dating back to 1991, the team found no evidence for increases in recreational use. They said that current evidence “does not support the hypothesis that US medical marijuana laws (MMLs) until 2014 have led to increases in adolescent marijuana use prevalence.”

They did note, however, that as states begin to legalize recreational marijuana – as has been happening in the last few years – the situation may change somewhat.

“Although we found no significant effect on adolescent marijuana use, we may find that the situation changes as commercialized markets for medical marijuana develop and expand, and as states legalize recreational marijuana use,” senior author Professor Deborah Hasin, from Columbia University, said in a statement.

“However, for now, there appears to be no basis for the argument that legalising medical marijuana increases teens’ use of the drug.”

The second paper dealt with the claim that medical marijuana could lead to a drop in the use of opioids. A study in September 2017, for example, said that medical marijuana could be used to relieve pain, and help stop opioid overdoses.

In 2015, more than 33,000 people died in the US from opioid use. Some studies, though, have shown the rate is dropping, and attributed it to the legalization of medical marijuana.

However, this paper in Addiction, from the University of Queensland in Australia, said that medical marijuana was not necessarily responsible. It said there was no evidence to suggest one caused the other.

“There is very weak evidence to support the claim that expanding access to medical cannabis will reduce opioid overdose deaths in the United States,” the researchers noted.

They added that although some studies do show a correlation between the increase of medical marijuana use and the reduction of opioid deaths, there was no evidence to suggest it was the cause. Correlation does not always equal causation.

So, good and bad news for medical marijuana. While it doesn’t seem to be causing an increase in recreational use, some of its purported benefits cannot be proven – just yet, anyway.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com

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Im a pot evangelist: meet America’s dope queens

As more US states legalise marijuana, more women are stepping up to meet the need for weed. Meet the entrepreneurs cutting through the stigma

Like most other American industries, marijuana has traditionally been dominated by men. Overwhelmingly they grew it, they dealt it and they smoked it. Hopes that the legal marijuana industry would be more egalitarian than others have largely deflated. According to a 2017 survey, women hold 27% of executive positions in cannabis, only slightly more than in the country at large. Nevertheless, the plants status as a quasi-legal drug has created an opportunity for women to forge groundbreaking careers.

Cannabis businesses are obsessed with tearing down the stigma that continues to dog the plant. Many of the most ambitious companies want to make inroads with affluent adults and parents who dont use, or no longer use, cannabis; if the prevailing stereotype is that weed is a drug used by low-achieving men, the thinking is that women will be better at getting their husbands and boyfriends to use pot.

Thirty US states have legalized medical marijuana and it is among the countrys fastest-growing industries. Sales rose 33% last year, topping $10bn, even though only a few states, including California, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon, have robust industries, and product cant be transported across state lines. But compared with other lucrative industries, such as tech, it is far more open to people who lack highly specialised education and have lived unconventional lives.

There is immense interest in marijuanas potential as a medicine, but in most cases the evidence is more anecdotal than confirmed by mainstream science. Its far easier for a pot business to enter the more nebulous wellness category. Today, in every dispensary in the US, there are cannabis products packaged like high-end personal care products; and even pharmaceuticals, designed to convince women its OK to try cannabis.

Female entrepreneurs believe legalization will bring immense medical and social benefits. The five women who share their story here all photographed by Pietro Chelli in recent years are a doctor, a mother of a young child with cancer, and three very different entrepreneurs. Each in her own way is cutting through the stigma.

Cheryl Shuman, 57, Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, Los Angeles, California

I first tried cannabis in 1996, after I was sexually assaulted. Doctors had put me on anti-anxietals and antidepressants and they turned me into a zombie. I had got to the point where I didnt want to get out of bed. Eventually, my therapist said to me: Cheryl, with all due respect, you just have to smoke a joint. Only in LA, right? Until then Id been a good girl. Ive still never had a beer, never had a cigarette.

My therapist had his plants in his back yard and kept his stash in mason jars. He rolled a joint. I was impressed he could roll it with only one hand. I took the first puff and almost coughed my lungs up. By the second puff, I said: You know what, this is really great. I felt instantly better.

Instead of taking pills, I would just roll a joint every day. I told my kids, as I didnt want to lie to them. It was an entry to an underground society of professional, smart, dynamic, educated people, who use this for wellness. Who knew?

Today Im a pot evangelist. Ive spoken all over the world Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. Last year, I was only home in Beverly Hills for 16 days, and those were for events. My business now is basically being a matchmaker, pairing investors with exciting opportunities, ranging from biotech companies to branding, to a music festival. Its like being a real-estate broker I make things happen: What do you need?

Back when I first got involved in cannabis it was largely used by gay men to deal with the nausea and wasting of Aids. Ultimately, cannabis was legalized because of love for them. Many in the cannabis community have also had an experience similar to coming out of the closet the grass closet. Now we can hold our heads up high and lead an authentic life.

Tracy Ryan, 42, CannaKids, Los Angeles, California

Tracy
Tracy Ryan with her daughter Sophie: This wasnt a secret we could keep to ourselves. Photograph: Pietro Chelli/Institute

I got into this four and a half years ago, when my daughter Sophie was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. She was eight and a half months old. The doctors told us Sophies only chance to survive was a 13-month course of chemotherapy. Confronting this extremely difficult situation, my husband and I began to research ways to save our daughter. We decided that cannabis treatment was something we wanted to do alongside chemotherapy.

Sophie took her first dose of cannabis at nine months. It was on camera for a documentary, Weed the People, which premieres at the SXSW festival in Texas this March. Over the first 13 months, a tumor that wasnt supposed to shrink shrank by 95%. Thanks to the shrinkage, much of Sophies vision has been saved.

My husband and I knew this wasnt a secret we could keep to ourselves. Today, our company CannaKids has provided medical-grade cannabis to more than 2,000 children and adults in California. We dont look like what people imagine stoners to be. We love our kid and take care of her, and people listen to us.

Weve also partnered with Cure Pharmaceutical to fund cannabis and cancer research at the Technion Institute in Israel. We still dont know the right formula of cannabis and chemotherapy to address cancer. But research we support in mice has eliminated one type of pediatric cancer with cannabis alone. We hope to finalize the human tissue phase soon, then advance to human trials.

Since she was first diagnosed, Sophie has had several recurrences of her cancer. She has taken concentrated cannabis oil for four and a half years now. When her doctors at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles put her on an experimental drug that required her to stop additional supplements and medications, they advised that she continue taking cannabis.

She still receives chemotherapy, once every two weeks. She never fully lost her hair, but now has a full head of it. Shes in the 81st percentile for height and weight, and is in kindergarten with healthy kids her age. She has her own business cards and is a networker, like her mother.

Forget about the word weed, forget marijuana: these children are taking medical cannabis. We dont want kids stoned. We want them happy, healthy and ready to go to school.

Kristi Lee Kelly, 40, Marijuana Industry Group, Denver, Colorado

Kristi
Kristi Lee Kelly: When we started, patients rights were not clear. Photograph: Pietro Chelli/Institute

In 2009, I left Maryland and a career in advertising and marketing to join Colorados cannabis industry. I thought it would be a way to participate in something early on that would really make a difference in peoples lives.

Its been so long since then. Someone a long time ago likened cannabis to dog years a year in cannabis is like seven years doing anything else. At first, investment options were extremely limited, and politicians were unwilling to address the issue. Ive had 23 bank accounts closed.

I started as an owner, operator and investor in a vertically integrated group of medical cannabis businesses. This meant we grew the plants, manufactured them into vaping oil and other products and sold them at our dispensaries. Eventually we accomplished what we set out to do, and I sold my shares in the company. I have since turned to helping others actualise their cannabis aspirations.

When we started, patients rights were not clear. Could you have a card, consume cannabis and work? How did a doctors recommendation interact with the other aspects of your life? Now we have thousands of patient stories. The growing body of scientific and state data has demonstrated that this plant isnt causing the harm that some people said it would.

When we look at how this plant has come and gone over centuries, this is a 3,000-year-old journey, not one that is necessarily sensitive from one administration to the next. The long-term contribution this plant can make to humankind has been documented.

In cannabis, Ive worked with aspiring business owners, policymakers and investors. Im also working with a hemp technology company. In the gold rush, some of the most successful people were the ones who sold picks and shovels to prospectors. Part of what Im doing is figuring out what the picks and shovels are.

Colorado is the most mature policy environment in the world. We tend to confront business challenges first; we continue to expand the conversation around cannabis; were looking at the social impact. Last year, the Marijuana Industry Group forged an agreement with the state Department of Transportation and Lyft [a ride-share company] to offer discounted rides to impaired cannabis users. Our goal is to reduce the number of people who are dying as a result of impaired driving, no matter the substance.

Bonni Goldstein, 53, Canna-Centers and Weedmaps, Los Angeles, California

Bonni
Bonni Goldstein: Doctors are finally opening their eyes to the fact that cannabis is safe. Photograph: Pietro Chelli/Institute

My background is in pediatric emergency medicine. Its high-stress work. I was working the night shift at a major Los Angeles hospital and being a mother during the day. Eventually I got burned out and took some time off.

About 10 years ago, a friend asked me about medical marijuana. I wasnt for or against it it just wasnt on my radar. But as I looked into it, it became clear to me that it was valid science.

I watched my friend get a medical marijuana card. She was struggling with the side-effects of chemotherapy; shed take the nausea medicine and throw it back up. But she got a vaporizer and it helped. I dont feel high, I feel better, she said. The cannabis let her participate in her life. She could sit at dinner and talk to her children.

I was really intrigued, and started working part-time in another doctors medical marijuana practice. It was an established office, very nice and professional. The patients were everyday people who have problems. The vast majority had been prescribed prescription drugs for anxiety, depression, insomnia and chronic pain and struggled with the side-effects. They all said the same thing: cannabis was giving them the benefits of the drugs without the side-effects. I now have my own practice in a suburb of Los Angeles.

In August 2013, CNN journalist Dr Sanjay Gupta told the story of Charlotte Figi, a little girl with a severe seizure disorder. Gupta was convinced she had benefited from taking cannabis. It generated a lot of interest. The parents of children with disorders like Charlottes wake up every day knowing their child could have 45 seizures and end up in hospital.

Earlier in my career, I was the chief resident at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles; today, children with intractible epilepsy are a large part of my practice. The goal is seizure freedom for the child: we dont always get that, but the vast majority are seeing seizures reduced by 50% or more.

There is a change under way in the medical community. Doctors who listen to their patients are hearing these people stop asking for Vicodin, sleeping pills, benzodiazepine. I think doctors are finally opening their eyes to the fact that cannabis is safe; in a lot of cases it reduces or eliminates the need for prescription medicine.

Julie Berliner, 31, Sweet Grass Kitchen, Denver, Colorado

Julie
Julie Berliner: Cannabis is the most exciting industry. Photograph: Pietro Chelli/Institute

I graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2009 with a degree in education. It was tough looking for a job in the middle of the recession, but dispensaries were opening up in town. It really was the wild, wild west back then: there were no rules for who could open a shop, or where they could open it.

A friend who had a dispensary tried some chocolate-chip cookies I made and asked if Id be willing to turn them into cannabis cookies for him to sell. When I said OK, he handed me five pounds of weed and said, Here you go.

Id never made cannabis cookies before, but decided to use the traditional method of infusing butter in a crock pot. I started baking fresh cookies and walking them over to the store for packaging. Today, with all the rules, its impossible to sell cannabis cookies the day they were baked, but back then you could.

I also worked at the shop as a receptionist, to better understand the industry. I liked helping people to feel better, or have a great time.

In the summer of 2010, it became necessary to have a license. It cost $1,000; but more significant than the money was that I knew if I went down this road I wouldnt be able to go back. There were no school principals who would be intrigued by my time baking weed cookies.

It also became necessary to create a commercial kitchen. Very few property owners were willing to lease their space to cannabis, and I decided to build a transportable kitchen in a race-car trailer. It still needed a fixed address. When I met with a potential landlord he was an older man with big bushy eyebrows. I could tell it was going to be a hard conversation, but he agreed to rent me space for our cherry red mobile kitchen. He has come to be one of our strongest supporters. We now lease the entire building and use the trailer as a smoking room and an inspiring part of the tour for visitors.

Cannabis is still the most exciting industry, but its starting to slow down. In many ways thats a good thing: were all settling in rather than hanging on.

Alex Halperin writes a fortnightly cannabis column, High Time.

Commenting on this piece? If you would like your comment to be considered for inclusion on Weekend magazines letters page in print, please email weekend@theguardian.com, including your name and address (not for publication).

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California outlaws drones from delivering weed

Sorry, guys, but marijuana won’t be dropping from the sky in the near future. California has officially banned marijuana deliveries via “unmanned vehicles,” including drones.

Now that California has officially legalized pot, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control has released the Commercial Cannabis Business Licensing Program Regulations, outlining various emergency regulations on selling marijuana in the state. That means businesses have to abide by the state’s rules if they want to hold a commercial cannabis business license. And one such rule is an outright ban on autonomous marijuana deliveries, forcing companies to use manned vehicles to reach customers.

“Cannabis goods will be required to be transported inside commercial vehicles or trailers,” the bureau states. “Transportation may not be done by aircraft, watercraft, rail, drones, human powered vehicles, or unmanned vehicles.”

The bureau also has specific regulations on delivery vehicles and how drivers drop off marijuana. Drivers cannot use marijuana during their deliveries, and vehicles must be in-person through an “enclosed motor vehicle.” That means no self-driving cars, either, or autonomous weed robots.

“Cannabis goods may not be visible to the public during deliveries,” the regulations announce. “Cannabis goods may not be left in an unattended motor vehicle unless the vehicle has an active alarm system. Vehicles used for delivery must have a dedicated, active GPS device that enables the dispensary to identify the geographic location of the vehicle during delivery.”

These regulations spell bad news for a variety of California start-ups interested in the marijuana drone trade. MDelivers announced “the nation’s first fully-licensed drone delivery service” in April, and Eaze previously demonstrated how drones could be used to deliver weed to interested customers. For now, those dreams seem to be in jeopardy. At least in the Golden State, anyway.

H/T the Verge

Read more: http://www.dailydot.com/

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The Dirty Secret of California’s Cannabis: It’s Dirty

This is a story about marijuana that begins in a drawer of dead birds. In the specimen collections of the California Academy of Sciences, curator Jack Dumbacher picks up a barred owl—so named for the stripes than run across its chest—and strokes its feathers. It looks like a healthy enough bird, sure, but something nefarious once lurked in its liver: anticoagulant rodenticide, which causes rats to bleed out, and inevitably accumulates in apex predators like owls. The origin of the poison? Likely an illegal cannabis grow operation in the wilds of Northern California.

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“It's a mess out there,” says Dumbacher. “And it costs taxpayers millions of dollars to clean up the sites.”

Marijuana doesn’t just suddenly appear on the shelves of a dispensary, or the pocket of a dealer. Someone’s gotta grow it, and in Northern California, that often means rogue farmers squatting on public lands, tainting the ecosystem with pesticides and other chemicals, then harvesting their goods and leaving behind what is essentially a mini superfund site. Plenty of growers run legit, organic operations—but cannabis can be a dirty, dirty game.

Morgan Heim/BioGraphic/California Academy of Sciences
Morgan Heim/BioGraphic/California Academy of Sciences

As cannabis use goes recreational in California, producers are facing a reckoning: They’ll either have to clean up their act, or get out of the legal market. Until the federal prohibition on marijuana ends, growers here can skip the legit marketplace and ship to black markets in the many states where the drug is still illegal. That’s bad news for public health, and even worse news for the wildlife of California.

If you’re buying cannabis in the United States, there’s up to a 75 percent chance that it grew somewhere in California. In Humboldt County alone, as many as 15,000 private grows churn out marijuana. Of those 15,000 farms, 2,300 have applied for permits, and of those just 91 actually have the permits.

Researchers reckon that 15 to 20 percent of private grows here are using rodenticide, trying to avoid damage from rats chewing through irrigation lines and plants. Worse, though, are the growers who hike into rugged public lands and set up grow operations. Virtually all of them are using rodenticide. “At very high doses the rodenticides is meant to kill by basically stopping coagulation of blood,” says Dumbacher. “So what happens is if you get a bruise or a cut it you would you would literally bleed out because it won’t coagulate.”

And what’s bad for the rats can’t be good for the barred owl. How the poison might affect these predators isn’t immediately clear, but researchers think it may weaken them.

Scientists are used to seeing rodenticides in owl livers—but usually, those animals are picking off rats in urban areas. Not so for these samples. “When we actually looked at the data, it turned out that some of the owls that were exposed were from remote areas parts of the forest that don't have even roads near them,” says Dumbacher. When researchers took a look at satellite images of these areas, they were able to pick out illegal grow operations and make the connection: Rodenticides from marijuana cultivation are probably moving up the food chain.

The havoc that growers are wreaking in Northern California is worryingly similar to the environmental bedlam of the past. “We can't just take exactly the same historical approach that California did with the Gold Rush,” says Mourad Gabriel, executive director of the Integral Ecology Research Center and lead author of the study with Dumbacher. It was a massive inundation of illegal gold and mining operations that tore the landscape to pieces. “150 years down the road, we are still dealing with it.”

And Northern California’s problems have the potential to become your problem if you’re buying marijuana in a state where it’s still illegal. “We have data clearly demonstrating the plant material is contaminated, not just with one or two but a plethora of different types of pesticides that should not be used on any consumable product,” says Gabriel. “And we find it on levels that are potentially a threat to humans as well.”

Lab Rats

Across from an old cookie factory in Oakland, California sits a lab that couldn’t look more nondescript. It’s called CW Analytical, and it’s in the business of testing marijuana for a range of nasties, both natural and synthetic. Technicians in lab coats shuffle about, dissolving cannabis in solution, while in a little room up front a man behind a desk consults clients.

Morgan Heim/BioGraphic/California Academy of Sciences

Running this place is a goateed Alabama native named Robert Martin. For a decade he’s risked the ire of the feds to ensure that the medical marijuana sold in California dispensaries is clean and safe. But in the age of recreational cannabis, the state has given him a new list of enemies to test for. If you're worried about consuming grow chemicals like the owls are doing, it's scientists like Martin who have your back.

“We're trying to do it in legitimate ways, not painting our face or putting flowers in our hair,” says Martin. “We're here to show another face of the industry." Clinical. Empirical.

Labs like these—the Association of Commercial Cannabis Laboratories, which Martin heads, counts two dozen members—are where marijuana comes to pass the test or face destruction. Martin’s team is looking for two main things: microbiological contaminants and chemical residues. “Microbiological contaminants could come in the form of bacteria or fungi, depending on what kind of situation your cannabis has seen,” says Martin. (Bad drying or curing habits on the part of the growers can lead to the growth of Aspergillus mold, for instance.) “Or on the other side, the chemical residues can be pesticides, herbicides, things like that.”

The biological bit is pretty straightforward. Technicians add a cannabis sample to solution, then spread it on plates that go into incubators. “What we find is of all the flowers that come through, about 12 to 13 percent will come back with a high level of aerobic bacteria and about 13 to 14 percent will come back with a high level of fungi and yeast and mold,” says laboratory manager Emily Savage.

With chemical contaminants it gets a bit trickier. To test for these, the lab run the cannabis through a machine called a mass spectrometer, which isolates the component parts of the sample. This catches common chemicals like myclobutanil, which growers use to kill fungi.

Starting July 1 of this year, distributors and (legal) cultivators have to put their product through testing for heavy metals and bacteria like E. coli and chemicals like acephate (a general use insecticide). That’s important for average consumers but especially medical marijuana patients with compromised health. One group of researchers has even warned that smoking or vaping tainted marijuana could lead to fatal infections for some patients, as pathogens are taken deep into the lungs.

“This is why we have to end prohibition and regulate and legalize cannabis, so that we can develop the standards that everybody must meet,” says Andrew DeAngelo, director of operations of the Harborside dispensary in Oakland.

After testing, a lab like CW has to report their results to the state, whose guidelines may dictate that the crop be destroyed. If everything checks out, the marijuana is cleared for sale in a dispensary. “That gives the public confidence that these supply chains are clean for them and healthy for them,” says DeAngelo.

That safety comes at a price, though. To fund the oversight of recreational marijuana, California is imposing combined taxes of perhaps 50 percent. “They're too high,” says DeAngelo. He’s worried that the fees will push users back into the black market, where plants don’t have to hew to the same strict safety standards. “This shop should be a lot fuller than it is right now.”

And the black market gets us right back to the mess we started off in. Illegal cultivation is bad for consumers and bad for the environment. The only real solution? The end of prohibition. At the very least, the owls would appreciate it.

Read more: http://www.wired.com/

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‘UFO’ spotted over California’s San Gabriel Valley?

A YouTube video on the mysterious object has gone viral, but there may be a terrestrial explanation for the ‘UFO’.

The video, posted by Julian Lopez, appears to show a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter circling around an unidentified flying object, which some observers say may be an advertisement for marijuana products. 

Fox 11 reports that the object was seen floating over the San Gabriel Valley on the morning of Aug. 28.

On the video, Lopez can be heard saying: “A helicopter is circling it. It looks like a big eyeball.”

MINING COMPLEX ON THE MOON? UFO HUNTER CLAIMS STRUCTURES VISIBLE ON LUNAR SURFACE

Other witnesses (as reported by the Pasadena Star News) reported seeing a large, white advertising ballon for a company known as “Brass Knuckles.” Brass Knuckles is described as “the industry leader in Super Premium CO2 extracted cannabis oil products,” according to a medical marijuana website.

Lopez’ video has attracted significant interest on social media, gathering nearly 300,000 views.

One commenter wrote: “[A]t that altitude a balloon would be long gone – this is a powered craft it is the only way it could hold a stationary position.”

Another commenter, user name al gonzalez, wrote: “This is great capture.” 

REPORTS CLAIM UFO WHIZZES PAST INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

SecureTeam10, a YouTube channel known for its conspiracy theory videos, has mentioned the unidentified object in one of its recent videos.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

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Girl Scout sells 300 boxes of cookies outside a California dispensary

Image: Getty Images

This Girl Scout knows her customers well. 

The young entrepreneur set up shop outside of Urbn Leaf, a recreational and medical marijuana dispensary in San Diego. According to local news outlet Fox 4, the girl sold more than 300 boxes in about six hours. 

Urbn Leaf posted this photo on Instagram, encouraging its clientele to grab some “Girl Scout Cookies with your GSC.” (GSC is a strain of weed named after girl scout cookies, and is known for its “sweet and earthy” flavor.)

A post shared by Urbn Leaf (@urbnleafca) on

“I think our customers loved it,” said Savannah Rakofsky, a representative for Urbn Leaf. “They went out and bought boxes.” 

According to Rakofsky, there was an “added value” to visiting the dispensary and getting the chance to buy Girl Scout cookies. Although it didn’t necessarily bring in customers, it did drum up publicity for Urbn Leaf. Rakofsky posted the photo as she was leaving for her lunch break, and there were already news teams at the store when she came back.

Rakofsky also said there’s a possibility of this becoming a trend. 

“The funny thing is, after the news story ran, we had more Girl Scouts show up over the weekend,” Rakofsky said. 

Although Girl Scouts are only allowed to sell at “approved sites” — which doesn’t include pot shops — this particular scout got around the rule by selling cookies from her wagon, and by moving up and down the sidewalk instead of staying in front of the store. Alison Bushan, a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts San Diego, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that this tactic was “gray area.”

It wouldn’t be the first time a Girl Scout racked in sales in front of a dispensary. In 2014, one savvy scout sold cookies outside of a San Francisco cannabis clinic. Girl Scouts of Northern California actually condoned it, because “the mom decided this was a place she was comfortable with her daughter being at.”

Rakofsky said Urbn Leaf would be “totally open to” allowing Girl Scouts to sell cookies outside their storefronts regularly, if the organization allowed it. “We have no problem,” she said. “But unfortunately that’s not us, that’s the Girl Scouts.” 

WATCH: ‘French Spider-Man’ casually climbs Paris skyscraper in epic feat

Read more: http://mashable.com/

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The 6 Most Insane Things Happening Right Now (11/14/17)

Look, we get it. There’s way too much important news to keep track of, but if you look away, you might miss something. So we’re here to save your sanity by combing through the current headlines and quickly summing up the most ridiculous and/or important stories. Please note that we’re not responsible for any insanity caused by the stories themselves.

6

Source: CNN

5

4

Source: Fox 31 Denver

3

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/

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Groundbreaking medical marijuana case lets little girl go back to school

(CNN)A little girl was back in a school she loves in Schaumburg, Illinois, last week, but only after a federal judge said it was OK for her to bring her prescription medication with her.

Eleven-year-old Ashley Surin was not allowed to attend class because she wears a medical marijuana patch and uses cannabis oil and lotion to manage seizures. The medical marijuana and a special diet have worked wonders for her health, according to her parents.
“The two together are a golden cure for her,” her mother, Maureen Surin, said through tears after an emergency hearing in Chicago earlier this month. “She can think better, walk better, talk better. Her brain used to be like in a cloud. Now she can think better and is more alert and she can interact.”
    Ashley was a toddler in December 2008, when she was diagnosed with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Her doctors gave the little girl several rounds of chemotherapy and spinal injections to fight the cancer. The treatment sent her cancer into remission, but one of the spinal injections triggered seizures. She’s been plagued by debilitating seizures since the age of 2, and remained on a number of medications with several serious side effects. The prescriptions helped, but they weren’t a cure.
    Her father said her health deteriorated and Ashley was not herself. The medicine left her with extreme mood swings, memory loss and limited energy — and she still had seizures.
    One full body seizure at a grocery store last year sent her to the hospital. She hit her head on the cement floor with such force doctors had to drain the blood from her brain. “It was the most helpless feeling in the world to see her go down and not be able to help,” Jim Surin said. Recovery was slow.
    When doctors wanted to try a fourth drug last August, Jim Surin said, “We drew a line in the sand.” Instead, they found a doctor who suggested a change in diet and cannabis would be a better alternative. The Surins got their medical marijuana license in December.
    To the Surins, the patch and the oil seemed simple and straight forward. Ashley gets what looks like a small bandage on her foot twice a day. They rub lotion on her wrist from a tube that looks like lip balm, her dad said. If she does have a seizure, she gets a small drop of oil on her tongue.
    It’s the cannabidiol in the cannabis that keeps seizures at bay, nottetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC–the marijuana drug that gets people high. But the law in Illinois, at least when it comes to schools, doesn’t allow even the prescription version at school.
    Unlike with a diabetic child who needs help from an adult at school to administer insulin, a nurse or teacher could lose his or her license if they helped Ashley with her prescription. And if Ashley wore her patch to school, she or her parents could technically face criminal prosecution. Marijuana of any kind, including medical, is not allowed on school grounds, school buses or at school-related events.
    While sympathetic, and a criminal prosecution would be unlikely, the district said it felt it had to follow the law the way it was written. That meant Ashley’s parents would have had to keep her out of class or take the school to court. In the mean time, she had to stay out of school, missing a couple of weeks of class.
    The parents sued Schaumburg School District 54 early this year. “This is a case of great importance,” said the Surins’ lawyer, Steven Glink. Both the parents’ lawyer and the school district’s were determined to do whatever they could to help Ashley, according to the district’s lawyer.
    “We, unfortunately, in some cases, have to abide by state and federal law that contradicts what the school’s job is for students and what our obligations are to serve medically fragile and ill students,” said Darcy Kriha, the district’s attorney. The morning before the hearing, Kriha said she got a call from the district superintendent and the school board president who told her the mission was to do whatever she could to make sure Ashley could come back to school. Kriha said she applauded the Surins “courage” for bringing the lawsuit against the district.
    The Illinois attorney general agreed not to prosecute and said there should be no negative legal ramifications for staff who help Ashley with the medicine. The federal judge issued an emergency order to allow Ashley to go back to school.
    “They’ve changed Ashley’s life today and they may’ve also changed the lives for other children for the better,” Kriha said. It’s believed this is the first case of its kind and could potentially impact other schools and the way in which they deal with children who have prescriptions for medical marijuana.
    The emergency ruling technically only applies to the Surins’ case. It does not yet provide legal cover for other children in Illinois in her circumstances. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday to determine where the case will go in the future. Colorado, Maine, New Jersey and Washington state allow students to use medical marijuana at school.

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    And on Tuesday last week, Ashley did return to school. Her father said it felt a little “surreal.”
    “There were about a dozen people there to welcome her, everyone from her aids and teachers to the principal and assistant superintendent. They were amazing and super supportive,” Surin said.
    The ruling and the warm reception have left the Surin family even more determined to create change.
    “I hope that we can help the state change the law to not only let our daughter get the medicine she needs, but that other students will be helped as well,” Jim Surin said.

    Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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