A Love Letter To The Mylar Bag

I get stoked every time I see a discarded weed bag on the sidewalk.

Okay yeah, litter is a bummer and the bags themselves aren’t great for the environment, but I can’t help it. Every time I walk past a mylar bag lying on the street I stop to check it out, kicking it around and flipping it over against the cracks in the sidewalk until I can see the art, the strain name, the branding, and every word of text. As cannabis and the cannabis community mesh further into the fabric of American life, the mylar bag has quickly become the artistic bellwether for the industry, pushing creativity, trends, and creating a lasting record of the culture akin to skateboard graphics, album covers, craft beer labels and countless other visual staples of counterculture scenes.

Existing both in concert and completely separate from the weed inside, graphic bags have hit all the early hallmarks of subculture evolution, creating a design language that extends past the cannabis community into its own distinct style of art complete with moral panic, bootleggers and copycats, regional intricacies, and iconic standouts. 

The intersection of commerce and counterculture is always contentious, no matter how niche, and while the artistic merits of each particular bag are certainly up to personal interpretation, it is already clear that graphic bags have reshaped the world of weed at damn near every level.

Evolving from RX labels scribbled with a strain name and stuck to black, silver, or plastic windowed bags in California’s pre-recreational medical market, as soon as cannabis sellers turned into cannabis companies the open space on the front of every bag became a billboard for branding and expression, setting strains and sellers apart on dispensary shelves and black market menus. 

Fueled by an influx of legalization laws, increased competition amongst distributors, a flood of flower, and tons of custom print shops and pre-printed bags a Google search away, graphic bags grew from the domain of top-shelf brands and exclusive suppliers to a ubiquitous facet of the regulated and unregulated markets. In 2020, with pack prices high, traditional businesses on hold, hustlers and smokers flush with extra pandemic unemployment funds put the bag game into overdrive, turning branded bud into a status symbol, with dye-cut shapes, holographic printing, and wilder subject matter – the more outlandish the bag, the more clout on social media, the faster it flies out of dispensaries and backpacks alike. 

Just like limited-edition Nikes and Supreme t-shirts, the exclusive aesthetics were immediately bootlegged, with overseas printers churning out cheap knockoffs of every popular brand and bag under the sun, turning downtown L.A. into Canal Street for trappers, with blocks of storefronts dedicated to fake packaging. It might piss off brand owners, but for the culture as a whole the bootleg obsession is a mark of legitimacy to be proud of. 

Outside the culture, cannabis bag art has become a convenient boogyman for prohibitionists, who argue that cartoon characters and bubble letters appeal to kids. Disregarding decades of rated R (or worse) animation holding a significant place in pop culture, a number of legal markets have sided with the prohibitionists on the limits of adult artistic expression, strictly restricting bag designs.

But if the past is any indicator, loud, newsworthy, and eventually unsuccessful protests against rap, metal, controversial movies back to Elvis’ hip shaking and countless other moral outrages aimed at saving kids from deviant art, the long-term odds are in our favor. Besides, you can’t ban cartoon art or bubble letters on the black market, no matter how sick of red eye Rick & Morty we all are.

Like the culture’s cousins in skateboarding, graffiti, and streetwear, the design language that dominates bag art from seshes to sidewalks is highly referential, drenched in parody, nostalgic, psychedelic, obsessed with local flavor, global ambitions, and luxury aspirations. 

Be it licensed collaborations with superstar athletes like Cookies’ Gary Payton and 33 by Backpack Boyz, a very unofficial dye-cut Supreme Air Force One sneaker by Shiest Bubz and The Smoker’s Club, a genre-defining run by Jokes Up culminating in the, um, unique, Coochie Runtz bag, hyper-local creations like Chopped Cheese by Buddy’s Bodega, all the way to dime bags printed with hastily photoshopped collages of The Joker, graphic bags are an amalgamation of every corner of cannabis culture, highbrow to lowbrow, political to patronizing, original to bootleg, calligraphy to cartoon and everywhere in between. At the end of the day, seeing a graphic weed bag on the sidewalk – an unavoidable happenstance walking through any American city these days – is saying the same thing – weed is here, weed is everywhere, and you’re gonna see it. 

Because bags can be designed and produced so quickly, mylar art is constantly rotating and reacting at the pace of our collective attention span, with print houses like Sticker Farmer dropping new bags memorializing every Academy Awards slap, viral challenge, and athlete, celebrity, or politician to be “turned into a pack,” all dropping days if not hours after the event itself. 

The evolution of bag graphics is still in its early stages, and if cannabis giants, small brands, and local trappers continue to put significant creative effort and funding into creating the next bag to set their strains apart, go viral on IG stories, and sell out on menus, weed bags are going to continue to solidify a place in the pantheon of modern art. 

I have high hopes, but for the medium to really stick, it is time to start giving respect to the artists and graphic designers behind the bags. Brands, start tagging the artists more frequently on posts, put a signature on the back of the bag, sponsor and host art shows. Smokers, if you like a bag seek out the artist, give them a follow on IG and see if they have any pieces for sale – anything you can do to continue pushing their art as a core facet of the industry and culture. 

The possibilities for bag art are endless going forward and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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Big Tobacco’s War on Cannabis Ignites: Are Pre-Rolls and Cones Under Attack?

The claims made by Big Tobacco against major cannabis companies and the celebrities behind them are often outrageous, if not laughable. In recent trademark lawsuits, a tobacco company claimed that pre-rolled cones, organic hemp papers, and more staples of the rolling paper industry amount to paraphernalia.

The latest claim is that pre-rolled cones, organic hemp papers and hemp gum are intended for use with pot—but not traditional rolling papers—which some tobacco companies sell. 

“Big Tobacco is coming for legal marijuana,” The Boston Globe reported, referring to Marlboro owner Altria’s endeavors in pot. And while some Big Tobacco companies are attempting to buy their way into the industry, others have a different tactic: attacking competitors. Here’s a few trademark lawsuits targeting the industry that appear to have ulterior motives.

Big Tobacco’s Trademark War on Cannabis

High Times was informed of a smear attempt on cannabis consumers—and a hypocritical argument, at best. Republic Brands, a tobacco company owned by Don Levin, manufactures and sells OCB, Top, Job, and Zig Zag rolling papers. Republic sued RAW’s parent company, HBI International in an injunction announced on Feb. 9, and RAW founder Josh Kesselman recently took a lot of heat. (RAW is a more popular rolling paper brand.) High Times was eventually pulled into the vortex of this lawsuit as well as evidence that rolling papers are intended for pot. 

RAW was under fire for alleging its papers were made in Alcoy, Spain, home of legendary Bambú papers, among other claims. In Republic’s filings, they sought to invalidate RAW’s trademark by arguing that Republic wanted to make cones and other materials used for the consumption of cannabis illegal. Republic’s attorneys argued in federal court that “…cones were developed in the 1990’s specifically to hold marijuana. They are marketed primarily for that purpose today.” Republic’s attorneys argued pre-rolled cones are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act as related to drug paraphernalia. 

The court filings include several social media images of Miley Cyrus and Wiz Khalifa using the cones, drawn from RAW ads. Republic further pointed to RAW’s ads with High Times Magazine as evidence that the rolling papers are used primarily for pot and should be illegal. Court filings included photos involving The Emerald Cup, High Times back issues, and Cannabis Cup posts.

HBI International also filed a counterclaim against Republic. The jury found that HBI International violated the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act by claiming its rolling papers were manufactured in Alcoy. The jury, however, sided with HBI’s counterclaim that Republic infringed on one of its copyrights and trade dress, awarding HBI with over $1 million in lost profits and statutory damages.

The company has repeatedly brought lawsuits against smaller competitors to bolster their market presence, the counterclaim contends. 

Trademark Wars Continue

RAW isn’t the only business under fire. Law 360 reported last February that Kool menthol cigarette maker ITG sued Capna Intellectual, which does business as Bloom Brands, claiming that the company violated state and federal trademark law by stealing the Kool’s signature logo. (Some have argued that menthol cigarette makers unfairly targeted Black communities.)

In this case, the interlocking O’s of the logos were under scrutiny, though one could argue that other logos like the Dolce & Gabbana logo look similar as well.

Court filings say Bloom filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2019 seeking to register the similar mark for e-cigarette and vape sales. The company called Bloom’s acts deliberate “and intentionally carried out in bad faith, or with reckless disregard for or with willful blindness to ITG’s rights in the Kool marks, for the purpose of trading on ITG’s reputation and diluting the Kool marks.”

“Here, a fundamental part of ITG’s argument is that the interlocking ‘O’ design is iconic and distinctive enough to be afforded broad protection, and that a mark that incorporates this design on smokable cannabis products could lead consumers to believe that the brands are affiliated or originate from the same source,” Harris-Bricken reports in its Canna Law Blog.

Candy companies, and food companies such as Tapatio have gone after copycat cannabis brands as well. Often lawsuits of this nature have multiple motives at play, with the goal of taking out competitors.

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How Asian Americans for Cannabis Education is Changing the Narrative

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; an opportunity to reflect on the connection between cannabis and Asian culture that spans thousands of years and different continents, from ancient times up to the present day. Asian Americans for Cannabis Education intends to remind you of this fact early and often.

Known as “ma” in Chinese, cannabis has been cultivated on the continent for centuries. Fossil records and genetic studies indicate that the cannabis plant has a long history on the continent. Ancient Chinese texts, such as the Pen Ts’ao Ching (Classic of Herbal Medicine), dating back over two thousand years, mention cannabis as a plant with various applications, including medicinal uses and textile production.

Ancient archaeological sites in Central Asia have revealed cannabis residues and artifacts, evidence of cannabis’ presence on the continent thousands of years ago. One notable archaeological site is the Yanghai Tombs, situated in the Tarim Basin of present-day Xinjiang, China. Excavations at the site revealed well-preserved burial remains dating back some 2,500 years. Among the findings were cannabis plants and seeds, suggesting their cultivation and use during that time.

Another significant discovery occurred in the Jirzankal Cemetery in western China’s Pamir Mountains. Researchers excavating the tombs discovered braziers containing cannabis residue with exceptionally high levels of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. This finding suggests the intentional use of cannabis for its mind-altering properties, making it some of the earliest concrete evidence of cannabis as a drug in human history.

PHOTO Josh Fogels

Ophelia Chong, Making Moves

The Asian American cannabis community has played a key part in moving the sector forward with their contributions to tech, design, development and social equality. And there’s no one more respected, revered and unrivalled than Ophelia Chong. The award-winning creative dynamo has helped shape the industry’s visual identity, changing misconceptions and stereotypes associated with cannabis and its users along the way. Chong is a US Cannabis Council (USCC) board member, Cannabis Media Council advisor, Emerald Cup judge, founder of StockPot images and the person to ask if you need an expert’s insight.

Chong’s passion for cannabis extends far beyond business and deep into the fabric of culture and social equity. She has consistently advocated for growing cannabis at home and her website askophelia.com is a hub for those seeking information on navigating “through the fields of cannabis and the forests of mushrooms.”

In 2015, Chong co-founded Asian American Cannabis Education (AACE), a non-profit organization that connects and empowers Asian communities by providing educational support and resources on various cannabis-related matters, including issues, news and policies. Through their initiatives and events, AACE actively promotes awareness and understanding to help break lingering stigmas surrounding cannabis, as well as highlighting the achievements of those within the Asian American cannabis community. AACE holds regular events for its members that, according to Chong, Angela Pih, Head of Marketing at StakeHouse Holdings, named ‘Pot Luck.’ “We had the first one in August 2021, two more in 2022 and one this past February for Chinese New Year’s that Ispire sponsored.”

The Goddess Magu
Hemp held great significance in ancient East Asia and was often referred to as an “elixir of life.” The goddess Magu is often associated with cannabis due to its historical usage as a healing plant. Image courtesy of Asian American Cannabis Education

The Problem With Prohibition

Chong says her reason for co-creating Asian American Cannabis Education stemmed from her entry into cannabis back in 2015. “I found that when I entered the cannabis industry, there was no space for me, so I needed to create space for me and people who are like me,” she says. One of Chong’s first surprises with AACE was the discovery that she wasn’t alone. “I didn’t realize there were so many of us,” she says [laughs]. However, she says, it was also hard to find people who were open to freely talking about cannabis and their involvement with it. The stigma associated with cannabis nearly a decade ago was strong—even in Los Angeles—and Chong faced an uphill battle. This was pre-Prop 16, meaning only medical marijuana was legal in California.

“At first, it was very muffled, Chong says. “A lot of people were very cautious about going in. Minorities that were extremely cautious to begin with were now super cautious. And if they were in cannabis, they weren’t talking about it, which is why I created this club to get the ones who were willing to talk about it.”

Throughout Chinese history, cannabis has unsurprisingly held both positive and negative associations. While valued for its practical applications and medicinal properties, cannabis also faced periods of regulation and prohibition. Chong says that part of the challenge with AACE was trying to undo the damage caused by prohibition to a generation of people that began with indoctrination of anti-cannabis propaganda when, in 1985, the People’s Republic of China became a member of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The United Nations had previously taken a stance on regulating psychoactive drugs in 1971, classifying cannabis as a narcotic drug and prohibiting its possession or use in traditional Chinese medicine.

“On that list were psilocybin and cannabis—two of the very top plants in our medicine cabinet that traditional Chinese medicine could suddenly never touch again. For some 5000 years, we were using hemp and all this stuff. Well, no more; it’s now illegal. Overnight, a vital part of their culture was stripped away. They—the children of the 1960s—were indoctrinated into the irrational and unfounded fear of cannabis and they, in turn, passed the fear on to their children. When they immigrated to the US, the anti-cannabis messaging and D.A.R.E. all that stuff became part of ‘stay within your own guardrails, don’t go outside the lines’. This all built up the hesitancy of people wanting to be on AACE because of their parents. ‘How can I tell my parents?’ Now, I get people saying, ‘I want to be on AACE’.” Chong puts it down to Confucius’s philosophy of “education, respect for elders, and following the rule of law. It’s ingrained in our DNA,” she says.

Ophelia Chong at the Ispire sponsored Potluck event in Los Angeles
The recent Potluck event in Los Angeles celebrated Chinese New Year. Photos courtesy of Asian American Cannabis Education

The Cast of Friends

Chong says that the greatest thing she’s gained from Asian American Cannabis Education is realizing the lifelong friendships she’s made with people within the cannabis industry. “I’ve been in many industries from film, photography, music and publishing,” she says. “What surprised me is the depth of my friendships in cannabis—not just through AACE, but just how many people I’ve met, that I’ve probably bonded tighter with than we would have in other industries.”

Another thing she’s learned from AACE is a better understanding of what drives people’s passions and how they find these passions. “Yes, the main subject is cannabis, but it’s also taking that risk to be that passionate, and also taking the financial risk of going into cannabis with all the restrictions on it,” Chong says. “You basically can’t make money right now; you just have to be in it for the long run and lose a lot of money to stay in it. Which is very hard if you’re a small brand.”

Chong says that she sees her role in the Asian American cannabis community as a mentor, a mother, a grandmother figure. “I keep checking in on people to make sure they’re OK,” she says. “Right now, we need to do that because everyone is so tenuous; everyone’s job is on a thread. Everyone’s brand is hanging by a thread. And what you need to do is check-in and make sure everyone’s OK.”

While the current play of California’s cannabis industry remains challenging, to say the least, Chong does see some. “What I see in the future for Asians and cannabis is to just keep working relentlessly and continue to innovate and think out of the proverbial box.”

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Cartoon All Stars: Cómo Disney y McDonald’s Planearon el Crossover Anti-Drogas Más Extraño de los ‘90

Nota por Santiago Alonso publicada originalmente en El Planteo. Más artículos por El Planteo en High Times en Español.

Síguenos en Instagram (@El.Planteo) y Twitter (@ElPlanteo).

Las décadas de los 80 y 90 suelen traer color a la hora de pensar las campañas publicitarias antidrogas. En tierras criollas, una de las más recordadas fue la de la dupla en 2D de Fleco y Male. Sin embargo, no fue el único territorio en el que se debatió la presunta peligrosidad del porro y los riesgos de ponerlo a la misma altura que la cocaína.

Algo parecido sucedió con el film Droga: Viaje sin retorno, un tendencioso pseudodocumental estrenado en algunas salas locales y que luego llegó a la edición en video.

Pero ¿que sucede en el terreno de la animación?

Contenido relacionado: Fleco y Male: La Historia Detrás de los Spots Anti-Drogas de los ‘90

En tiempos de gestión George Bush padre, allá por 1990, los canales de televisión expresaban su “temor“ por el sexo, la homosexualidad y, por supuesto, las sustancias. Esa década parió uno de los cruces más alocados en materia de dibujos animados.

La paternidad del proyecto corrió a cargo de McDonald‘s, reconocida firma de comida rápida que dio a luz a un especial televisivo de media hora llamado Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue, estrenada en Latinoamérica con el nombre Estrellas de los Dibujos Animados al Rescate pero… ¿a quién tenían que salvar y de qué?

Cartoon All Stars: dibujitos con mensaje

La trama es simple y nos lleva a una típica casa yankee con una estructura clásica: padres y dos hijos, uno adolescente y otra en edad preescolar.

Allí, Corey, una nena de 9 años descubre que alguien se metió en su habitación para robarle sus ahorros. No obstante, la “sustracción monetaria“ tuvo testigos inesperados: Alf, Garfield, La Rana René (también llamada Kermit) de Los Muppets, Los Pitufos y Alvin y las Ardillas y Winnie the Pooh. Por caso, ellos acompañarán a la infante a dar con el ladrón, quien resultó ser su hermano, Michael, de 14 años.

Contenido relacionado: La Historia del Coleccionista de Nintendo que Encontró Droga en Dos Cartuchos: ¿La conocías?

El joven tiene otro secreto: debajo de su cama se encuentra una pequeña cajita con marihuana, algo que despertó las alarmas de los personajes y de la niña. Será entonces la misión de los dibujos animados persuadir a Michael para que abandone sus adicciones, no quiera quedar “cool“ frente a sus amigos y especialmente no darle cabida a un fantasma de voz ronca que le da consejos que lo pueden llevar a las peores situaciones.

Michael y la marihuana

Este ente –de nombre Smoke- será quien funcione como villano en la historia y que servirá como excusa para la acción conjunta de los famosos hechos a lápiz.

Otra escena mostrará a diferentes adolescentes del círculo del protagonista consumiendo crack mientras que el fantasma-porro exclamará “Mikey, debes probarlo. No quieres ser excluido, ¿no es así? Quieres caerles bien?”, acto seguido aparecen efectivos policiales para comenzar una persecución, dando paso al segundo acto.

Los ganadores no usan drogas

La emisión presenta un aparente final feliz: se logra la tan esperada recuperación y derrota del villano, mientras los dibujitos vuelven a sus lugar de origen, un gigantesco póster colgado en la habitación de Corey.

cartoon all stars disney drogas
Michael y el crack

Cartoon All Stars fue producido de forma conjunta entre Disney y la empresa hamburguesera con una idea fuerza muy similar a la de los anuncios previos a las presentaciones de videojuegos del estilo “Winners don´t use drugs”.

Contenido relacionado: Batman y las Drogas: Dos Enemigos del Caballero de la Noche las Usan en Películas, Cómics y Videojuegos

Fue tal el poder propagandístico y monetario del proyecto que el unitario (de media hora de duración) fue transmitido simultáneamente por las señales más importantes en Estados Unidos en el prime-time infantil. Es decir, los sábados a la mañana.

Por otra parte, en ese país la difusión no sólo tuvo su eje en la televisación simultánea, sino también en la distribución de copias en VHS entregadas a personas particulares, centros cívicos, colegios y bibliotecas para que la mayoría pudiera ver el material.

Las estrellas dicen ‘no’

En esta aventura aparecen íconos de renombre mundial que intentan brindar legitimidad al concepto general: Garfield, Alf, Los Pitufos, Alvin y las Ardillas, Winnie The Pooh y Tiger y los protagonistas de Las Patoaventuras, esto último por pedido de Disney ya que eran las dos series de la compañía que se encontraban al aire en aquel momento.

También aparecen Miguel Ángel, una de las Tortugas Ninja, Bugs Bunny, Pegajoso de Los Cazafantasmas, el Pato Lucas y los Muppet Babies.

cartoon all stars disney drogas

Naturalmente, la fuerza del mensaje tiene mucha más contundencia si detrás están las franquicias más importantes de la época. Para ello, empresas como Warner Bros, DIC Entertainment, Hanna Barbera, The Jim Henson Company y Film Roman cedieron los derechos de sus personajes.

¿Qué pasó en América Latina?

En Argentina, el especial fue emitido en el ciclo “El Mundo de Disney” conducido por Leonardo Greco a través de la pantalla de Telefe.

Otras latitudes tuvieron un extra en su emisión televisiva: antes de que comenzase este episodio, se transmitía un mensaje grabado de George y Barbara Bush alertando sobre el consumo de drogas.

Contenido relacionado: ¿Qué es la Apotoxina, la Droga que Usan en el Anime Japonés Detective Conan?

En México, por ejemplo, ocurrió lo mismo con las palabras del Jefe de Estado, Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Por su parte, en Chile, tuvo su correlato a través de la primera dama Marta Larrachea Bolivar de Frei.

El mandatario norteamericando expresaba: “Los días en los que la cultura popular glorificaba a las drogas se están desvaneciendo rápidamente. La realidad es que a las drogas no les importa quién seas, cuán famoso eres o cuánto ganas. Son mortales para todos”.

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Audible’s ‘Blood Weed’ Mixes Industry Accuracy, Comedy, and Cannabis Carnage

You sound like many nepo-babies who’ve tried to get in the game in recent years. And you might be a partial inspiration for Audible’s new pot-focused dark comedy Blood Weed.

In Blood Weed, Chase Stapp finds himself in that same position. That’s before things get thrown upside down thanks to the Russian mob, bad executive decisions, a torture site, and a couple of gallons of human blood. 

That plot line might make it sound like Blood Weed is another out-there stoner journey, and it certainly is to some degree. But thanks to the on-the-job experience of co-creator Dan Abramson and a love of all things pot from co-creator Matt Klinman, the story remains grounded, doing something few have done: showcase the modern legal cannabis space, warts and all. 

The Funny or Die veterans headed up the show’s 10-episode production, with the cast comprising an ensemble of solid voice actors. Notable voices include Haley Joel Osment (as Chase), Maria Bakalova, Hugo Armstrong, Clayton English, Allan McLeod, Yevgeniy Kartashov and many other talented comedians and actors.

I recently checked out Blood Weed during my drive across New Jersey as I toured some dispensaries. It made for an enjoyable driving companion. 

Entertaining, Relatable Story

Overall, Blood Weed was an enjoyable listen. The work of Abramson and Klinman, along with the cast, was essential to immersing listeners in the story. Credit is also given to the production. Musician Michael Cheever delivers on creating a world of scenes, often using dark, bass-heavy music. With Audible’s backing, there’s no surprise that the production quality is top-notch. 

But it is the story that stood out for me. Coming out the gate with the first episode titled Hall of Flowers, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be a hokey stoner slog, or would Blood Weed transcend the low-hanging comedy fruit? 

The show delivered on the first episode, particularly when Chase and his weed brand, Elevator, are hounded by the media over their lack of bud at their debut show. Despite rolling up flowerless, Chase and the Elevator team focus more on creating an exciting booth experience and generating buzz. That leaves room for a whole new mess of problems to enter. 

In a recent episode of my webcast, Canna Say Something, Abramson explained how he saw this type of thinking first-hand while working as a cannabis industry copywriter. At his company, which he preferred not to name, he recalled witnessing the booth emphasis over flower quality.

“These companies are really putting a lot of pressure on themselves for the booth,” he recalled thinking.

Now I have never been to Hall of Flowers. So, I won’t judge anyone at that event—I’ve heard great things from enthusiasts and suits alike. But I’ve attended enough weed trade shows over the past few years to see how many brands have prioritized the booth over the product. And sometimes, the sales figures support the approach. Hooray, capitalism. 

Later episodes in the series helped drive the authenticity of the story home that much more. Examples include Elevator’s takeover, led by Andrey and the Russian mob. With new leadership knowing less about weed than Chase, costly decisions, like firing your cultivation staff, come into play. These decisions ultimately lead to the Blood Weed coming into the story—along with Chase being imprisoned, tortured, and tasked with implementing office efficiency tools into the mob’s workflow. 

Even more realistic examples throughout the show include education on THC potency, trouble with new terminology, bribing lab testing facilities, and legal operators pushing unsellable products onto the unlicensed market. For a comedy, this was a pretty relatable listen.

The characters helped cement that Blood Weed wasn’t just a cookie-cutter pot production. Weed stories are often bogged down in stereotypes, mostly the Cheech and Chong, Jeff Spicoli-type stoner. While Klinman and Abramson feel those characteristics have places in comedy, their character choices in Blood Weed helped present a more realistic representation of today’s weed world, with various characters making up the company and its supporting cast. 

Despite there being ample stories to tell in the world of weed, they say the market for stoner comedies isn’t going away. 

“People may complain like, ‘I don’t want stoner stuff’, but everybody fucking loved Pineapple Express,” said Klinman.

Klinman dropped another cannabis-comedy-education series on HBO Max this past 4/20, High Science, co-starring Zack Poitras and Paul Bettany. The series portrays two stoner lab assistants who get high on science.

Recognizable Characters

Abramson and Klinman created the series a few years ago when the cannabis industry was booming. At that time, investors flooded the space with funding, leading to a wave of entrepreneurs and investors getting involved. Many either had get-rich-quick goals in mind or simply had no idea how complex this industry would be. Many of those folks are now out of the game after taking a financial beating along the way.

Blood Weed did a great job capturing that time period. And kudos to the staff, who produced Blood Weed during the pandemic. 

“I recorded it from my little downstairs makeshift sound studio,” said McLeod. He plays several supporting roles in the show, including a stoned enthusiast at Hall of Flowers and a staff member on a Louisiana grow op. McLeod said he’s now enjoying listening to the episodes and occasionally spotting his work. 

Then there’s the leads who truly personify the cannabis space. Chase is the kind of person I’ve interviewed countless times over the years. An all-flash and little substance type, he had no idea what he was getting into when he started Elevator and certainly didn’t when he got in over his head with the underground. But when it comes to office efficiency tools, he excels in a way that might horrify anyone who’s endured startup office culture. 

Coal Fusion, a past prime hip-hop star who loves weed, is Elevator’s co-founder. He also serves as the celebrity brand ambassador archetype that ran wild during this era. Even now, with the money flowing into cannabis less, celeb brands and sponsors still pop up occasionally—even as their success is debated. 

Or, as Klinman described the character: “What if Ja Rule teamed up with a low-rung tech billionaire or whatever?”

Elevator’s staff is a who’s who of the folks you might meet at a corpo cannabis company office. Many are examples of spread too thin, likely type-A transplants from other industries. Mixed in with a poached Emerald Triangle OG here or there, and Elevator mimics tons of companies trying to make it in weed. 

Combining industry experience and relatable characters helps Blood Weed feel more connected to the new legal space than any other pot entry I’ve seen. The relatability and accuracy are delivered in a light, humorous way despite being wrapped up in a world of market deception, mob ties and murder. It’s not an entirely true-to-life depiction of pot, but that wasn’t expected from a comedy about blood-soaked weed. 

Blood Weed Delivers

Overall, Blood Weed was a fun listen for my drive—and while cooking a few days later. It also gave me time to pause and wonder about the dealings of some of the popular brands that might be in the dispensaries I just visited.

I tried to identify any negatives of the show and came away with just a few hair-splitting notes. The only folks I could see having an issue with Blood Weed might be those seeking accurate, grounded and/or positive depictions of the cannabis world. And while that is undoubtedly a valid desire, that’s like looking for authentic medieval dialogue in Your Highness. If you’re in this camp, you may be better off checking out some cannabis documentaries instead of a comedy series. 

While I don’t think it did, some could feel Blood Weed goes too inside-baseball with the industry talk. But, I’d argue it’s essential for framing such a complex world of weed. 

In all, I enjoyed Blood Weed, but the real test is consumer response. Abramson and Klinman told me they hope to hear more feedback after not getting much in the first month of the show’s release. 

“Hopefully people will kind of take it with a grain of salt, like what we’re doing,” said Klinman. He added that the duo hopes to make more pot projects.

“We would love to make more stuff in that world, treating it seriously…portraying the actual industry as it is, because there’s so many stories and so many crazy things in it,” Klinman said. 

You can check out Blood Weed on Audible. I used my free credit to snag this at no cost. If you don’t have a credit, check out a few minutes of the show over at Soundcloud

The post Audible’s ‘Blood Weed’ Mixes Industry Accuracy, Comedy, and Cannabis Carnage appeared first on High Times.

From the Archives: On Cocaine (1982)

Once upon a time, Aleister Crowley tipped off a zealous decency society in Britain to the “conspicuous signs of prostitution” he’d observed in a tiny Scots town. Considering the source, Crowley himself, to be unimpeachable on such matters, the horrified do-gooders dispatched a morality squad to the spot, at considerable expense. When they presently reported no evidence at all of any such thing, Crowley explained, “It is conspicuous by its absence, fools.”

This is not to say Crowley was entirely sane. After his first wife, whom he called the Ape of Thoth, went wholly crazy, he would hang her by the heels in a closet while he entertained girl friends. He named their first girl-child with a string of misogynistic mystical epithets: Nuit Ma Ahathoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith Crowley, who died, age five, of typhus in Rangoon. He enjoyed few things more, when he was running his fabulous cult playland on Sicily in the 1920s, than watching his female groupies screw animals, which would be bloodily sacrificed just as they achieved orgasm. The only groupie he hexed to death, though, was male: Crowley had him drink some cat’s blood, ordained a day and hour for him to die, and die he obligingly did, on the very second.

Crowley treated cocaine as a test of pure will: Aleister vs. the Drug. There was no way he’d get strung out behind coke. If legions of weak-willed plebians might become slaves to cocaine, was that any suitable grounds for prohibiting it from superior immortals like Crowley? He wrote this paper on cocaine in 1917, when Britain was already following the USA’s lead in banning pleasure drugs, to Crowley’s vast displeasure: “We are not under the laws and do not enjoy the liberties which our fathers bequeathed us; we are under a complex and fantastic system of police administration nearly as pernicious as anything even in America.”

To “master” coke, Crowley kept bowls of it around at all times, to be snorted as copiously as possible, and the same with mescaline and heroin. The heroin, of course, got decidedly ahead of him. Unlike coke, which is nonaddictive, smack had a special physical magic beyond even Crowley’s monumental will. But this only developed into a tougher test of his powers; for the rest of his life, he would purposely kick smack every few months, creating brilliant crazy occultist fantasies amid the withdrawals, and then relapse directly back into the shit. Of course he eventually died—in 1947, at the age of 72, after more than 50 years of gargantuan drug abuse.


Of all the graces that cluster about the throne of Venus the most timid and elusive is that maiden whom mortals call Happiness. None is so eagerly pursued; none so hard to win. Indeed, only the saints and martyrs, unknown usually to their fellow men, have made her theirs; and they have attained her by burning out the ego-sense in themselves in the white-hot steel of meditation, by dissolving themselves in that divine ocean of consciousness whose foam is passionless and perfect bliss.

To others, Happiness only comes by chance; when least sought, perhaps she is there. Seek, and ye shall not find; ask, and ye shall not receive; knock, and it shall not be opened unto you. Happiness is always a divine accident. It is not a definite quality; it is the bloom of circumstances. It is useless to mix its ingredients; the experiments in life which have produced it in the past may be repeated endlessly, and with infinite skill and variety—in vain.

It seems more than a fairy story that so metaphysical an entity should yet be producible in a moment by no means of wisdom, no formula of magic, but by a simple herb. The wisest man cannot add happiness to others, though they be dowered with youth, beauty, wealth, wit and love; the lowest blackguard shivering in rags, destitute, diseased, old, craven, stupid, a mere morass of envy, may have it with one swift-sucked breath. The thing is as paradoxical as life, as mystical as death.

Look at this shining heap of crystals! They are hydrochloride of cocaine. The geologist will think of mica; to me, the mountaineer, they are like those gleaming feathery flakes of snow, flowering mostly where rocks jut from the ice of crevassed glaciers that wind and sun have kissed to ghostliness. To those who know not the great hills, they may suggest the snow that spangles trees with blossoms glittering and lucid. The kingdom of faery has such jewels. To him who tastes them in his nostrils—to their acolyte and slave —they must seem as if the dew of the breath of some great demon of immensity were frozen by the cold of space upon his beard.

For there was never any elixir so instant magic as cocaine. Give it to no matter whom. Choose me the last loser on the earth; take hope, take faith, take love away from him. Then look, see the back of that worn hand, its skin discolored and wrinkled, perhaps inflamed with agonizing eczema, perhaps putrid with some malignant sore. He places on it that shimmering snow, a few grains only, a little pile of starry dust. The wasted arm is slowly raised to the head that is little more than a skull; the feeble breath draws in that radiant powder. Now we must wait. One minute—perhaps five minutes.

Then happens the miracle of miracles.

The melancholy vanishes, the eyes shine, the wan mouth smiles. Almost manly vigor returns, or seems to return. At least faith, hope and love throng very eagerly to the dance; all that was lost is found.

The man is happy.

To one the drug may bring liveliness, to another languor, to another creative force, to another tireless energy, to another glamour, and to yet another lust. But each in his way is happy. Think of it!—so simple and so transcendental! The man is happy!

I have traveled in every quarter of the globe; I have seen such wonders of nature that my pen sputters when I try to tell them; I have seen many a miracle of the genius of man; but I have never seen a marvel like this.

Is there not a school of philosophers, cold and cynical, that accounts God to be a mocker? That thinks He takes His pleasure in contempt of the littleness of His creatures? They should base their theses on cocaine! For here is bitterness, irony, cruelty ineffable. This gift of sudden and sure happiness is given but to tantalize. The story of Job holds no such acrid draught. What were more icy hate, fiend comedy than this, to offer such a boon, and add “This you must not take”? Could not we be left to brave the miseries of life, bad as they are, without this master pang, to know perfection of all joy within our reach, and the price of that joy a tenfold quickening of our anguish?

The happiness of cocaine is not passive or placid as that of beasts. It is self conscious. It tells man what he is, and what he might be. It offers him the semblance of divinity, only that he may know himself a worm. It awakens discontent so acutely that never shall it sleep again. It creates hunger. Give cocaine to a man already wise, schooled to the world, morally forceful, a man of intelligence and self-control. If he be really master of himself, it will do him no harm. He will know it for a snare; he will beware of repeating such experiments as he may make; and the glimpse of his goal may possibly even spur him to its attainment by those means which God has appointed for His saints.

But, give it to the clod, to the self-indulgent, to the blasé—to the average man, in a word—and he is lost. He says, and his logic is perfect: This is what I want. He knows not, neither can he know, the true path; and the false path is the only one for him. There is cocaine at his need, and he takes it again and again. The contrast between his grub life and his butterfly life is too bitter for his unphilosophic soul to bear; he refuses to take the brimstone with the treacle.

And so he can no longer tolerate the moments of unhappiness, that is, of normal life, for he now so names it. The intervals between his indulgences diminish.

And alas! the power of the drug diminishes with fearful pace. The doses wax; the pleasures wane. Side-issues, invisible at first, arise; they are like devils with flaming pitchforks in their hands.

A single trial of the drug brings no noticeable reaction in a healthy man. He goes to bed in due season, sleeps well and wakes fresh. South American Indians habitually chew this drug in its crude form, when upon the march, and accomplish prodigies, defying hunger, thirst and fatigue. But they only use it in extremity; and long rest with ample food enables the body to rebuild its capital. Also, savages, unlike most dwellers in cities, have moral sense and force.

The same is true of the Chinese and Indians in their use of opium. Everyone uses it, and only in the rarest cases does it become a vice. It is with them almost as tobacco is with us.

But to one who abuses cocaine for his pleasure nature soon speaks, and is not heard. The nerves weary of the constant stimulation; they need rest and food. There is a point at which the jaded horse no longer answers whip and spur. He stumbles, falls a quivering heap, gasps out his life.

So perishes the slave of cocaine. With every nerve clamoring, all he can do is to renew the lash of the poison. The pharmaceutical effect is over; the toxic effect accumulates. The nerves become insane. The victim begins to have hallucinations. “See! There is a gray cat in that chair. I said nothing, but it has been there all the time.”

Or, there are rats. “I love to watch them running up the curtains. Oh yes! I know they are not real rats. That’s a real rat, though, on the floor. I nearly killed it that time. That is the original rat I saw; it’s a real rat. I saw it first on my windowsill one night.”

Such, quietly enough spoken, is mania. And soon the pleasure passes, is followed by its opposite, as Eros by Anteros.

“Oh no! they never come near me.” A few days pass, and they are crawling on the skin, gnawing interminably and intolerably, loathsome and remorseless.

It is needless to picture the end, prolonged as this may be, for despite the baffling skill developed by the drug lust, the insane condition hampers the patient, and often forced abstinence for a while goes far to appease the physical and mental symptoms. Then a new supply is procured, and with tenfold zest the maniac, taking the bit between his teeth, gallops to the black edge of death.

And before that death comes all the torments of damnation. The time sense is destroyed, so that an hour’s abstinence may hold more horrors than a century of normal time-and-space-bound pain.

Psychologists little understand how the physiological cycle of life, and the normality of the brain, make existence petty both for good and ill. To realize it, fast for a day or two; see how life drags with a constant subconscious ache. With drug hunger, this effect is multiplied a thousandfold. Time itself is abolished. The real metaphysical eternal hell is actually present in the consciousness which has lost its limits without finding Him who is without limit.

Consider the debt of mankind to opium. It is acquitted by the deaths of a few wastrels from its abuse?

For the importance of this paper is the discussion of the practical question: Should drugs be accessible to the public?

Here I pause in order to beg the indulgence of the American people. I am obliged to take a standpoint at once startling and unpopular.

I am compelled to utter certain terrible truths. I am in the unenviable position of one who asks others to shut their eyes to the particular that they may thereby visualize the general.

But I believe that in the matter of legislation America is proceeding in the main upon a totally false theory. I believe that constructive morality is better than repression. I believe that democracy, more than any other form of government, should trust the people, as it specifically pretends to do.

Now it seems to me better and bolder tactics to attack the opposite theory at its very strongest point.

It should be shown that not even in the most arguable case is a government justified in restricting use on account of abuse; or allowing justification, let us dispute about expediency.

So, to the bastion—should “habit-forming” drugs be accessible to the public?

The matter is of immediate interest, for the admitted failure of the Harrison Law has brought about a new proposal—one to make bad worse.

I will not here argue “the grand thesis of liberty.” Free men have long since decided it. Who will maintain that Christ’s willing sacrifice of his life was immoral, because it robbed the state of a useful taxpayer?

No. A man’s life is his own, and he has the right to destroy it as he will, unless he too egregiously intrude on the privileges of his neighbors.

But this is just the point. In modern times the whole community is one’s neighbor, and one must not damage that. Very good. Then there are pros and cons, and a balance to be struck.

In America the prohibition idea in all things is carried, mostly by hysterical newspapers, to a fanatical extreme. “Sensation at any cost by Sunday next” is the equivalent in most editorial rooms of the alleged German order to capture Calais. Hence the dangers of anything and everything are celebrated dithyrambically by the Corybants of the press, and the only remedy is prohibition. A shoots B with a revolver; remedy, the Sullivan Law. In practice, this works well enough, for the law is not enforced against the householder who keeps a revolver for his protection, but is a handy weapon against the gangster, and saves the police the trouble of proving felonious intent.

But it is the idea that was wrong. Recently a man shot his family and himself with a rifle fitted with a Maxim silencer. Remedy, a bill to prohibit Maxim silencers! No perception that, if the man had not had a weapon at all, he would have strangled his family with his hands.

American reformers seem to have no idea, at any time or in any connection, that the only remedy for wrong is right; that moral education, self-control, good manners, will save the world; and that legislation is not merely a broken reed, but a suffocating vapor. Further, an excess of legislation defeats its own ends. It makes the whole population criminals, and turns them all into policemen and spies. The moral health of such a people is ruined forever; only revolution can save it.

However, let us concede the prohibitionist claims. Let us admit the police contention that cocaine and the rest are used by criminals who would otherwise lack the nerve to operate. They also contend that the effects of the drugs are so deadly that the cleverest thieves quickly become inefficient. Then for heaven’s sake establish depots where they can get free cocaine!

You cannot cure a drug fiend; you cannot make him a useful citizen. He never was a good citizen, or he would not have fallen into slavery. If you reform him temporarily, at vast expense, risk and trouble, your whole work vanishes like morning mist when he meets his next temptation. The proper remedy is to let him gang his ain gait to the de’il. Instead of less drug, give him more drug, and be done with him. His fate will be a warning to his neighbors, and in a year or two people will have the sense to shun the danger. Those who have not, let them die, too, and save the state. Moral weaklings are a danger to society, in whatever line their failings lie. If they are so amiable as to kill themselves, it is a crime to interfere.

You say that while these people are killing themselves they will do mischief. Maybe. But they are doing it now.

Prohibition has created an underground traffic, as it always does, and the evils of this are immeasurable. Thousands of citizens are in league to defeat the law, are actually bribed by the law itself to do so, since the profits of the illicit trade become enormous, and the closer the prohibition, the more unreasonably big they are. You can stamp out the use of silk handkerchiefs in this way: people say, “All right, we’ll use linen.” But the “cocaine fiend” wants cocaine, and you can’t put him off with Epsom salts. Moreover, his mind has lost all proportion. He will pay anything for the drug. He will never say, “I can’t afford it.” And if the price be high, he will steal, rob, murder to get it. Again I say: You cannot reform a drug fiend. All you do by preventing them from obtaining it is to create a class of subtle and dangerous criminals, and even when you have jailed them all, is anyone any the better?

While such large profits (from 1,000 to 2,000 percent) are to be made by secret dealers, it is to the interest of those dealers to make new victims. And the profits at present are such that it would be worth my while to go to London and back first class to smuggle no more than I could hide in the lining of my overcoat! All expenses paid, and a handsome sum in the bank at the end of the trip! And for all the law, and the spies, and the rest of it, I could sell my stuff with very little risk in a single night in the Tenderloin.

Another point is this: Prohibition cannot be carried to its extreme. It is impossible, ultimately, to withhold drugs from doctors. Now doctors, more than any other single class, are drug fiends, and also, there are many who will traffic in drugs for the sake of money or power. If you possess a supply of the drug, you are the master, body and soul, of any person who needs it.

People do not understand that a drug, to its slave, is more valuable than gold or diamonds. A virtuous woman may be above rubies, but medical experience tells us that there is no virtuous woman in need of the drug who would not prostitute herself to a ragpicker for a single sniff.

I still say that prohibition is no cure. The cure is to give the people something to think about; to develop their minds; to fill them with ambitions beyond dollars; to set up a standard of achievement which is to be measured in terms of eternal realities; in a word, to educate them.

If this appears impossible, well and good. It is only another argument for encouraging them to take cocaine.

High Times Magazine, September 1982

Read the full issue here.

The post From the Archives: On Cocaine (1982) appeared first on High Times.

Ten Reasons to Ignore the FDA and Try CBD

There are at least ten reasons to ignore the FDA and try CBD. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a study this week suggesting that long-term use of CBD leads to liver toxicity and reproductive issues in males and females. They used animal studies to support their conclusions. But what about studies done on human beings showing CBD’s benefits? Here are ten reasons to ignore the biased FDA and try non-toxic CBD. Ten Reasons to Ignore the FDA and […]

The post Ten Reasons to Ignore the FDA and Try CBD appeared first on Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana | News.

The Cold Cure

Developers are in the middle of a race to see how they can apply freeze dryer technology to dry and cure weed faster, taking a process that could have taken weeks into something that is pretty much instantaneous. Drying cannabis after it’s harvested removes the moisture from the flowers so they can be properly smoked or vaporized and typically takes anywhere from 10 to 14 days. After that, the flowers are cured, a week to month-long process which removes additional moisture and helps preserve the buds and retain their flavor and potency. With freeze drying technology, what once could take weeks can be done in a day or within a matter of hours.

Typical drying and curing involves hang-dried buds, Mason jars, burping, and a whole array of commercial tools to make the finishing process possible, but freeze dryer technology is changing things fast. But does the process really work? Is the bud any good? Will more cannabis companies look to adopt this technology in the future? High Times checked in with experts on this relatively new method for drying and curing. There are an array of differences in tools that can be used to dry, freeze dry, cure, or prepare for curing—with some, in particular, designed specifically for drying cannabis. 

“It’s a different technology,” Oaksterdam instructor Jeff Jones tells High Times, noting that the freeze-drying process to traditionally dried and cured cannabis is like comparing personal production preferences such as hand-trimmed weed versus machine-trimmed weed. The texture of the flower differs, but not really the size, potency, or nug structure.

Jones taught about the medical cannabis field in California for well over 20 years, co-founding the Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative (OCBC) in 1995 and helping to shape Oaksterdam. While he admits it’s not the same as hang-dried cannabis and traditionally cured flowers, Jones believes there is a place for freeze-dried weed in the cannabis space.

Several companies are leading the charge toward finding the most efficient solutions to faster drying and curing periods. Avoiding hang-drying systems can also help mitigate other problems such as mold.

WAVE, a company building freeze dryer machines out of Vienna, Austria, is one of the companies utilizing this innovative technology. General manager of WAVE Freeze Dryers USA Alejandro Cerdas is a seasoned vet in the cannabis industry and says that freeze drying cannabis makes the post-production process more energy efficient and provides other benefits as well.

“There are a series of benefits: energy efficiency, avoiding mold going through the process, and preservation,” Cerdas says.

Each company we spoke to provides machines with different benefits, often using patent-pending technology.

High Times Magazine, October 2022

The Technology Behind Freeze Drying

Traditional freeze dryers work with cannabis by freezing the flower, then often reducing the pressure and applying heat to allow the frozen water in the bud to change directly to a vapor, i.e., sublimate. With this in mind, each company provides different processes.

“You basically start with your material and then that’s slightly frozen and then put under a vacuum, and basically sublimation occurs,” WAVE CEO Dan Berlin says. “The ice goes straight to vapor. It skims over the water phase. And we slowly raise the temperature through the process and gently remove water. And we’re trying to leave the flower at about 11-12% [moisture] when we pull it out—unlike traditional freeze drying when you go and take all the water out for when you have freeze-dried berries or things like that. With cannabis, we’re trying to effectively cure it so that you don’t have to go through the whole drying and curing phase.”

Cryo Cure’s patented design, on the other hand, has several key differences from traditional freeze-drying methods—something the company likes to distinguish for people who are new to freeze-drying methods.

“We’re trying so hard to educate the public on the differences of freeze drying versus Cryo Curing—because both utilize a freeze dryer, but the final results couldn’t be any more different,” Cryo Cure CEO Tracee McAffee says explaining that the system keeps more trichomes and terpenes intact than traditional freeze drying.

According to the company, the Cryo Cure system’s freeze temps and drying times are more fine-tuned to cannabis than similar products. The Cryo Cure process is to freeze the cannabis or industrial hemp to -20 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit for no less than 10 hours to preserve the shape and integrity of the flowers, and select models have a built-in freezer for this purpose. The frozen product is placed into the material chamber under vacuum pressure, similarly to other freeze dryer models.

Keirton Inc. and Trichome Technologies combine the drying and extracting process in their machine while maintaining quality and preserving terps—launching Velos Cold Cure process and Velos Essence. Velos Essence can capture essential oils for use in vape cartridge flavors, edibles, beverages, fragrances, and pharmaceuticals.

“Velos Essence is a patent-pending process that we have on extracting terpenes–the full terpene profile, so monoterpenes and everything from fresh cannabis,” Keirton Inc. CEO Jay Evans says. 

Terpenes are the chemical properties within cannabis that give the plant its taste and smell. These volatile hydrocarbons also play a role in pot’s effects and are classified by the number of carbon units they contain with monoterpenes containing two isoprene units. 

“You get about an 80% extraction, so then that flower can be used for other extractions and the terpenes can be added in after extraction,” Evans explains. “So a lot of extraction processes, the monoterpenes are damaged. This pulls them all off organically.”

Velos also has a new product up its sleeve, which is still in development. Even burping, the process of allowing moisture and CO2 to escape during the curing process, can be automated.

“It’s called the Cure Puck,” Evans says. “It’s a device, and it’s not released yet, it’s a device that connects to a traditional bin or tote, that will automatically monitor the gasses inside of the tote, along with temperature and humidity, and burp the tote when those gasses reach a certain level.”

WAVE’s freezer dryer technology in action. Photo by Justin Cannabis.

Saving Time & Improving Efficiency

The final cure using freeze dryers takes 24 hours or less—nearly all the companies we spoke with provide similar timetables, ranging from about 12-24 hours. Using the technology usually means money for businesses trying to improve efficiency. Getting bud from harvest to the finished stage can now be completed within a matter of days.

“It could be two or three days maybe, you know, and then it can get packaged,” says Cerdas. “It doesn’t need much of the [normal] process.”

But you can’t always expect the same results from a freeze dryer system unless the settings are set to the specific needs of cannabis flower as you don’t want them to dry out as much as other traditionally freeze-dried materials.

“Traditional freeze-drying methods, even by using freeze dryers, work as long as they can be controlled—if you know the right parameters, so it preserves the terpenes,” said Greg Baughman, who co-founded Cryo Cure with McAffee. “So in a nutshell, what we do is we are able to skip the hanging phase of drying and you go right into a final cure. So our machine replaces that seven to two weeks of hanging, drying in a room and takes that down to between 12 and 16 hours, depending on the density of the cultivar.”

Traditional freeze dryers are designed to remove all of the moisture—not what we want for smokable flower.

“So that’s where our secret sauce lies, is that we’ve dialed in the perfect recipe to make sure that you don’t remove all any of the terpenes and all of the moisture,” Baughman says. “We started realizing that there’s not that many people who manufacture refrigerators out there in the selection. You know, we went through every single manufacturer and they’re all made for different things and they specialize in different industries.”

If a person uses a traditional freeze dryer, they’re not going to be designed specifically for batches of cannabis flower. And companies like Cryo Cure have mitigated many of these problems already to become a more cost-effective purchase for growers.

“Downtime equals dollars,” Baughman says.

The Velos Cold Cure process offers a similar timetable, marking potentially huge improvements in efficiency. 

“We can take post-harvest drying from traditionally 10-14 days, or 10-20 days, depending on how it’s done to one day,” says Evans.

Hand-dried cannabis (left) vs. freeze-dried cannabis (right). Photo by Justin Cannabis.

What’s the Bud Like?

While the size of the buds stays the same, some say that the texture is slightly different. The freeze-dried flower can range from a light popcorn texture and weight to being almost indistinguishable from hang-dried cannabis. The flower’s quality depends on which machine and process you decide to use.

Cerdas says WAVE is not simply freeze-drying the flower because freezing the flower creates irreparable damage to the cell walls.

Typical freeze drying will “eventually produce a flower that has a look and feel like popcorn, and it will crumble,” he explains. “With that damage comes the horrible issue of losing a big amount of terpenoids through the cold boil produced by the combo of vacuum and temperature.”

Cerdas prefers to call his cannabis “sharp dry” instead of freeze dried. 

“Basically, the sharp dry flower feels, smokes, and behaves very similar to regular hang-dried flower,” he says. 

The difference in texture might not be as important to everyone, particularly those whose primary interest is keeping cannabis fresh for as long as possible.

“What I can say about this freezing is that it’s not going to capture 100% of the market, but it will have a niche much like Folgers Coffee and any processing materials for shelf-ready storage,” Jones says. “Because if you wanted to put this material into your bug out bag and have it for two years, I’m not going to call my herb that I just put myself there good because it’s not going to taste good. It’s going to be totally stale and the consistency will shift.”

WAVE’s freeze dryer models also appeal to extraction artists because the texture of the original flower does not matter so much.

“We have some folks using the equipment for bubble hash in the extraction business,” Cerdas says. “And that’s always interesting because the benefit it will bring in is completely different from what has happened in the past: As I mentioned, we’ve not found a way of using the equipment without using the conventional freeze drying process—which we found damages the flowers. And you get that weird taste and feel that people really don’t like.”

Others agree with the difference in texture, but consider it to be better.

“There’s definitely a difference: number one, the color and the look is much better than traditionally dried flower,” Cerdas says. “The terpene profile is often better. The thing that traditional customers are not used to is the texture. It’s different.”

One perk of freeze-dried cannabis is its ability to be stored for long periods of time.

“It’s got to be kept in a lightproof and airtight container and it’ll last a long time,” McAffe says. “We have some samples that we’ve had in the cupboard for about three years. It looks just the same. We take little pieces off. Yeah. Whenever we have customers that come over demos, we pull it out and we said, you know, like, ‘Wow, that’s good.’ And again, that’s two years old!”

It remains to be seen how the consumer marketplace will react to freeze-dried cannabis, but the benefits in terms of saving time on the producer’s end are undeniable.


This story was originally published in the October 2022 issue of High Times Magazine.

The post The Cold Cure appeared first on High Times.

Un Fanzine 420 Recorre las Mejores Películas Fumonas del Universo: Conocé Mondo Porro, de Hernán Panessi y Gonza Varas

Nota por Hernán Panessi publicada originalmente en El Planteo. Más artículos por El Planteo en High Times en Español.

Síguenos en Instagram (@El.Planteo) y Twitter (@ElPlanteo).

En exclusiva para El Planteo y High Times, el periodista Hernán Panessi adelanta algunos fragmentos de su nuevo (y primer) fanzine Mondo Porro: Guía elemental de cine 420, una antología de textos cinéfilos y fumones, editado por el sello mendocino Mabel Editorial.

Por su parte, Mondo Porro cuenta con ilustraciones del artista Gonza Varas, un habitual colaborador de #Planteorama, el menú weekend ilustrado de El Planteo, y autor de fanzines populares como Hey ho let’s draw, Basta Chicos y Cuaderno de actividades y para colorear de Pity Álvarez.

Asimismo, Mondo Porro cuenta con un prólogo del famosísimo cineasta Ariel Winograd, conocido por sus películas Permitidos, El Robo del Siglo, Cara de Queso: Mi primer ghetto, entre otras.

A continuación, reproducimos las palabras de Winograd en la introducción:

Roto pero feliz

Hernán puede hablar de porro, de porno, de cine y de música. Y cuando escribe lo hace desde el corazón. Porque cuenta en primera persona. Y si algo le parece una verga, lo dice. Y si no, también lo dice. En este mundo donde todo se pone en tela de juicio, Hernán representa la autosuficiencia.

Contenido relacionado: ¿Cuáles son las Películas de Terror que NO Tenés que ver si Fumaste Marihuana? Hablan los Expertos

Es un culo inquieto: siempre está en movimiento, siempre está en alguna. Y cuando creés que no está haciendo nada, seguro está pensando en qué otra cosa va a hacer. Que tenga su propio fanzine impreso habla del pasado y, también, habla del presente. Donde todo es digital, el guacho se manda con lo impreso.

Hernán es un coleccionista, es punk rock en estado más puro. Es como ese vómito adolescente de los ’90. Me hace acordar a cuando iba a los recitales de Buenos Aires Hardcore y terminaba a las 9 de la mañana. Esas noches en las que, después de tomar tres petacas, me echaba un pato en la calle y ahí nos íbamos con mis amigos a comer algo para desayunar. Me recuerda a esa sensación de estómago vacío: de estar todo roto, pero feliz.

Pensar en Hernán me lleva a esas caminatas que hacíamos a los 17 años por el Parque Rivadavia sabiendo que tenías 17 pesos (o 17 dólares) y que esa tarde sí te ibas a animar a comprar el CD de The Exploited. Hernán hace una revisión de los ’90, entiende el consumo irónico cultural como muy pocas personas. Hernán es como ese CD de Flema que viene grabado el mismo tema dos veces y que igual lo escuchás.

Los últimos románticos

Como asegura Winograd en su texto iniciático, Mondo Porro entroniza la idea romántica de ir a contrapelo del cosmos digital: se trata de un ¡¡¡fanzine impreso!!!, un formato que representa la última resistencia artesanal contra la avanzada algorítmica.

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El fanzine, símbolo de resistencia cultural, es –justamente- una oportunidad para hablar de “otros temas” en “otros formatos”.

Aquí, debajo, a modo de adelanto exclusivo, una selección arbitraria de dos textos de Mondo Porro:

Los Visionadores

Hay pitadas a porros, sartenazos de coca e inyecciones de heroína. Hay gritos desesperados, puteadas inflamadas y sexo afiebrado. Hay un dúo adicto a las películas argentinas “directo a video”. Hay, en rigor, una historia que comienza en un Blockbuster, pero que ya había empezado hace tiempo.

Los VIsionadores mondo porro

Los Visionadores narra la fábula de Fede (Rotstein) y Santi (Calori), dos jóvenes aturdidos que caen rendidos ante los sinuosos encantos del cine desconcertante. Acá, Fede y Santi mantienen una relación alimentada a rayos catódicos, policiales de baja estofa, lecciones de moralina y una catarata color rojo, que pretendía ser Technicolor, pero que era apenas un rojo VHS nacional.

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En ese sentido, Los Visionadores se ensancha como una reflexión pop, como un mash-up que copia, combina, pide prestado, roba, deforma y transforma a un tendal de films en VHS para crear un producto nuevo y original.

Y en el pico de su pedo, la Rannix, ese vórtice cinéfilo en el que Rodolfo Ranni (con bigote, sin bigote, desnudo o displicente) se yergue como una especie de Dios. La época de oro del videoclub, esa que mezcla nostalgia llorona con formación omnívora, encuentra en esta aventura de Néstor Frenkel a su mejor tributo.

Shin Ultraman

Hace tiempo que los japoneses están tratando de explicarnos que los kaijūs no son monstruos, sino que son, justamente, kaijūs: unos dispositivos arquetípicos que responden a su propia lógica. Que son monstruos, sí; que son bestias enormes, también; pero que representan a antiguas leyendas y que tienen a Godzilla como su principal referente.

Ultraman mondo porro

En esa línea, Tsuburaya Productions viene machacando en el asunto desde los ‘60 con Ultraman, uno de los personajes más emblemáticos de la cultura nipona. Un proyecto que, cada tanto, se resetea y que ahora encontró en Shinji Higuchi e Hideaki Anno, dos de los más legendarios miembros de Gainax (la productora detrás de Neon Genesis Evangelion), la entronización del talento indicado.

Y el link no es gratuito porque Shin Ultraman, en su cosecha centennial, recoge el guante de los kaijūs míticos (de hecho, los primeros minutos son un desfile de referencias pop) y comprime un pulso más que curioso: podría pasar por live-action revirado del anime Evangelion.

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En la historia, un alienígena aterriza en la Tierra persiguiendo a un bicho deforme. Por una serie de cuestiones, el alienígena toma el cuerpo de un humano y se convierte en una suerte de patrón de nuestra especie.

Con un ritmo alucinante y un guion que plantea mil preguntas –nadie debería quedarse con lo superficial de ver a gigantes tipo “Intergalactic” de Beastie Boys y nada más-, Shin Ultraman se coloca derechito entre lo más desprejuiciado e inteligente de los últimos tiempos.

La versión impresa de Mondo Porro: Guía elemental de cine 420 se consigue acá.

Más contenido de El Planteo:

The post Un Fanzine 420 Recorre las Mejores Películas Fumonas del Universo: Conocé Mondo Porro, de Hernán Panessi y Gonza Varas appeared first on High Times.

Hemp Chic

Founded by Ally Ferguson in 2014, seeker made its public debut in 2016, offering a contemporary and sustainable low-impact wardrobe for modern, conscious consumers. Celebrities including Billie Eilish, Jameela Jamil and Charlize Theron are fans of the sinsemilla streetwear brand based on thoughtful designs and timeless silhouettes.

The name Seeker is a nod to the fashion line’s stated ethos of evolving to be better than what we’ve been, of knowing more, of exposing people to another way of thinking—and being comfortable with your evolution.

 Ferguson first noticed hemp fabrics being used as backpacks and baggy pants in hippie headshops and flea markets. She instantly recognized the potential of the fabric and wondered how to get it out of the “super hippie mindset and elevate it to a bigger consumer population.” That opportunity would present itself while she was consulting for a luxury fashion brand. As words like “organic cotton” and “small batch” entered the lexicon, these natural fabrics became touted as high-end options.  Ferguson witnessed the public’s interest in this new direction grow. Fortuitously, on a trip to a fabric show, she discovered a company selling hemp fabric. The vendor told her it was suitable for making backpacks, but as Ferguson cast her mind back to those old burlap sacks, she had other ideas for the affordable, durable, planet-friendly fabric.

Ally Ferguson models one of her popular hemp fashion creations from her Seeker label.

Contrary to popular belief, hemp is luxe and becomes deliciously softer and more comfortable over time. Ferguson decided to make a pair of yoga-esque pants and a jacket, dyeing them rich, luxurious colors. And while they initially resembled those burlaps sacks she remembered, the more she wore the pants, the better they started to look and feel. Ferguson was initially “a little self-conscious about wearing them because I looked at them and thought, ‘Oh, they look like those hippie headshop backpacks,’” she recalls. 

She soon started receiving compliments on her creations. Instinctively aware that she was on to something, Ferguson developed new silhouettes and colorways. As she worked with hemp, the garments started to take their own form.

 The fashion industry is one of the world’s worst polluters and accounts for up to ten percent of global carbon dioxide output. It’s also one of the most water-intensive industries. Since 2020, the industry has used more than 79 trillion liters of water annually creating garments. In contrast, hemp is the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly fabric available. When growing, the hemp plant requires less water than cotton and is naturally resistant to most insects and disease, eliminating the need for toxic insecticides. The hemp plant also replenishes and purifies the soil and sequesters carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, helping combat climate change. Hemp fabric is naturally antibacterial, odor-resistant and breathable. Hemp’s tensile strength is eight times that of cotton fiber; historically, hemp was used in sails and rope for British and US naval ships.

Sustainability is a crucial pillar of the Seeker brand, Ferguson asserts. All garments are made in a solar-powered B-Corp-certified LA factory that runs off gray water and uses low-impact dyes. The fabrics are organic hemp or organic cotton, the latter of which is knitted five blocks from the factory. Ferguson also plans to create accessories featuring alternative leathers such as pineapple and mushrooms. “I want to make a grocery tote from vegan leather because it’s so durable, and it looks gorgeous. And I think it would wear really beautifully,” she says.

Ferguson was chosen to appear on season two of Making the Cut (Amazon Prime) starring Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (both formerly of Project Runway), which she saw to be an excellent opportunity to inspire younger designers worldwide with sustainable design and influence the greater good.

Seeker unisex hemp fashion loungewear
The name Seeker is a nod to the brand’s ethos of evolving to be better than what we’ve been.

“It was interesting to be on the show as a sustainable brand; while they were pushing sustainability, they were also mindful of the Amazon customer,” Ferguson says. “They want to open the pathway for sustainability, but they’re not marching down the streets for climate change. Going on Making the Cut and being a unisex hemp wear designer was new for them. They cast me because I’m crunchy, gay, organic and very California—I’m that person. But I think that’s an edge and an angle they wanted to give the world. And that was a huge win for sustainability.”

Ferguson says she believes that hemp fashion is only getting started and predicts that we’ll see more avant-garde hemp designs on the runway imminently.

“From my experience on Making the Cut, I’m seeing people gravitating towards universal outfits—uniforms—but absolutely sustainable and beneficial for the planet,” she said. “I want to see people taking their items after they’re done wearing and putting them in green spins because they’re biodegradable. Once something is worn all the way through its life, people can give it back to the earth.”

Seems like a fair—and stylish—deal.

This story was originally published in issue 47 of the print edition of Cannabis Now.

The post Hemp Chic appeared first on Cannabis Now.