Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Sends Medical Pot Regulations to N.C. Assembly

According to the Citizen Times, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) Council met on Jan. 12 and successfully voted to introduce the tribe’s medical cannabis regulations to the North Carolina General Assembly. The resolution states that this is done with the intention “to further the agenda effectively and efficiently coordinating in the administration of medical cannabis laws across the jurisdictions of the state of North Carolina and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.”

EBCI Chief Richard Sneed addressed the Tribal Council at the meeting, which consists of 12 members, about the necessity of keeping in communication with lawmakers in North Carolina. “All this is, is it as a matter of tribal law, before anybody does any work engaging with the state or federal legislature, we have to have permission of the governing legislative body to do so,” Sneed said.

“Any tribal council member—chief or vice chief—who engages in Raleigh or in D.C., we need essentially marching orders to do so. As this next legislative session in Raleigh gets started and we’re down there doing lobbying work, this just grants permission for us to talk to them about medical cannabis, and the subsequent North Carolina law that will probably be on the floor during the next general assembly.”

In August 2021, the EBCI Council voted 8 to 4 to legalize medical cannabis. Over one year later in November 2022, the EBCI announced that they harvested their first medical cannabis crop, and also began accepting job applications for the tribe’s medical cannabis dispensary, which is being operated by Qualla Enterprises LLC and is set to open sometime in 2023.

The EBCI Council voted in December 2022 to give Qualla Enterprises $63 million. According to Qualla Enterprises General Manager Forrest Parker, the tribe will be able to properly regulate its business. “It gives us a lot of confidence that we’re surrounded by people that have done this so many times, that have the experience, that have the understanding,” said Parker. “This tribe, I’m so proud of us for putting us in a position to learn from other people’s mistakes so that when we do this right, that number is precise. It’s not $150 million because we’re trying to cover all these things that we don’t know. We actually feel like we actually know.”


The EBCI is also funding its own Cannabis Control Board to manage the business, including licensing, audits, annual reports, and more. One control board member, David Wijewickrama, who is also an attorney, shed some light on what to expect in 2023. “There are a lot of moving parts to this project that we’re learning every day,” Wijewickrama said. “The tribe’s given us a lot of resources to ensure this process succeeds.”

As for nearby states with cannabis, only Alabama and Virginia offer medical cannabis programs. Once the EBCI dispensary opens, it will only allow patients who have a tribe medical cannabis card to purchase cannabis. Those patients must also be approved as suffering from acquired immune deficiency syndrome (such as AIDS, anxiety disorders, cancer, or glaucoma), a medical condition that causes wasting syndrome, muscle spasms (such as those caused by multiple sclerosis), and chronic pain, as well as neuropathic conditions or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Cardholders will be allowed to purchase one ounce (or about 2,500 milligrams of THC) or less per day, and no more than six ounces (or 10,000 milligrams of THC) per month. This particular limitation will be enacted until at least August 2024. After that time, the board can review and change the rules.

The EBCI is just one of many tribes looking to take part in the medical and/or adult-use cannabis industry. In New York, the Oneida Indian Nation announced last year that it was seeking to launch a seed-to-sale cannabis business in 2023, while the Saint Regis (Akwesasne) Mohawk Tribe partnered with actor Jim Belushi to open a dispensary in October 2022. This is followed by the Seneca Nation of Indians, which seeks to open a dispensary in Niagara Falls in February 2023.

Across the country in San Diego, the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel currently operates its own dispensary, called Mountain Source Santa Ysabel. The Las Vegas Paiute Tribe owns a dispensary called NuWu Cannabis Marketplace.
The Lower Sioux Indian Community recently announced that it will build a hemp processing facility with the goal of creating a hempcrete test home. “There are 20,000 uses for the plant. I can’t think of a better one for our community members than to give them a home that will last forever,” said Lower Sioux Tribal Council Vice President, Earl Pendleton.

The post Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Sends Medical Pot Regulations to N.C. Assembly appeared first on High Times.

Indigenous Unlicensed Cannabis Stores

A second Indigenous unlicensed cannabis retail shop has opened in London, Ontario. Sewatohwat Cannabis recently opened without approval from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the province’s cannabis regulator. “The store is operated by sovereign people on sovereign land,” says a sign on the business. “We are exercising our constitutional and inherent rights.” The first shop, Spirit River Cannabis, is saying the same thing. “We’re exercising our constitutional rights and our treaty rights to fend off economic genocide.” Canada […]

The post Indigenous Unlicensed Cannabis Stores appeared first on Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana | News.

The High Times Interview: Russell Means

On December 24, 2008, a delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department announcing that their people were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties signed with the US. No longer would they tolerate the federal government’s gross violations of these agreements; America was put on notice that the Republic of Lakotah had been re-created. The new nation would issue its own passports and driving licenses, and living there would be tax-free-provided residents renounced their US citizenship. As has been the case for the past 40 years, Russell Means, the longtime Indian-rights activist, was there, helping see the declaration through and cosigning it. “We are no longer citizens of the United States of America, and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us,” he stated.

Means is one of the best-known, most influential activists in the Indian community. He rose to prominence as a leader of the American Indian Movement, and participated in the 1969 takeover of Alcatraz that lasted 19 months. He also participated in AIM’s takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs office in Washington, DC, and was one of the leaders in the famous standoff between Native Americans and the government at Wounded Knee in 1973. In recent years, he has directed Indian youth programs and worked vigorously to improve the conditions for his people in Pine Ridge, 90.

In addition to his lifelong commitment to Indian rights, Means has sought the governorship of New Mexico and battled Ron Paul for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 1987. He is also a talented actor who has appeared in numerous films, most notably Last of the Mohicans and Natural Born Killers In all his dealings, Means says that he strives “to speak from the heart.” That forthrightness has sometimes caused controversy, but Means remains a vital presence in the American Indian community.

High Times: Describe growing up as an Indian.

Russell Means: I was born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, but I didn’t grow up there—I was five years old when we moved to California. My dad worked in the defense industry as a welder. In large part, I grew up in Northern California, in the Bay Area. I was the only Indian at San Leandro High School until my brother got there in the 10th grade. I was always very conscious of who I am. I always have been—through my relatives and extended family. I made continual visits back home.

When did your activism begin?

Not until after I got out of high school—then the Indian-relocation program was going full swing. [The Relocation Act of 1956 provided funding to establish “job-training centers” for American Indians in various urban areas, and financed the relocation of individuals and whole families to these locales. It was coupled with a denial of funds for similar programs and economic development on the reservations themselves—in fact, those who availed themselves of the “opportunity” were usually required to sign an agreement stating that they wouldn’t return to the reservation to live there.]

I started hanging around with Indian people at the bars in Los Angeles. The forced relocation of American Indians from their land into urban areas forced us to get together as independents. They didn’t put us in specific neighborhoods; they dispersed us throughout different ghettos and barrios. Our only social activity together would be at a local bar. But from the local bar, we formed athletic leagues and social events. That’s how we did our socializing as Indian people. It really opened us up to a whole range of different experiences in thinking from the different Indian peoples.

Talk about the early days of the American Indian Movement.

The American Indian Movement began in Minneapolis. Dennis Banks and Clyde Bellecourt were the founders of AIM. We sat in a hotel room one Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis, and we’re all drinking beer and socializing, and there’s about seven or eight of us, which included some of the women who were founders. We asked questions of ourselves: Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we? And where are we going? It was the consensus that we return to our respective reservations and find out. We were fortunate that the real old people who had been born in the 1800s were still alive. They’d been raised by people who had been born free. None of them had been contaminated with the white man’s education; they had a clarity of mind and a purity of heart. They had our worldview intact as indigenous people—and, of course, our own language, our own songs.

AIM certainly caused concern for the government. Were you frightened of repercussions?

No, it was an exhilarating time. Freedom is an exhilaration. I believe if you have fear, you can’t be free. We come from a matriarchal society. Patriarchal societies are fear-based societies. Therefore, we had a head start on the rest of humanity, and we had no fear. We have trust in the unseen, to put it one way. The pride that was engendered, the self-dignity, was enormous—and it spread. It was thrilling.

Often there was dissension within the AIM ranks. What caused that?

We’ve all been colonized, unfortunately, and to what degree varies from individual to individual. Those disagreements were initiated out of misguided ego.

You became a prominent spokesperson, a handsome, articulate presence—even charismatic. How do you think you are perceived?

[Laughs] You know, I never thought of myself as good-looking. It wasn’t a consideration in my life. When I first joined AIM, a Crow man told me: “Now that you’ve joined AIM, you’ve made yourself a target. Remember that. But always speak from the heart and you can’t go wrong.” That’s all I’ve done my whole life is speak from the heart. Actually, our whole tradition is that way.

AIM often staged events and protests that were meant to tweak the government—like the Mount Rushmore event, where you and others planted a prayer staff there and renamed it “Mount Crazy Horse.”

The one thing I love in the American Indian Movement, and it was the first thing I learned: Don’t fool with bureaucracy—go right to the top. If you’re going to go to Washington, DC … figure it out. At Mount Rushmore, we went right to the top: These are our treaty rights, we own that land, and we’re going right to the top, man! Four white men up there, and I peed on George Washington’s head—one of the proudest moments of my life. Right in front of God and everybody.

What current obstacles do Natives face?

Well, as far as AIM is concerned, the obstacle has been and will always be the United States of America government and its subsidiaries—until it destroys itself.

Has activism changed over the past 40 years?

There’s a very big difference between then and now. When the civil rights movement began, it wasn’t called “civil rights.” Everything was liberation—freedom, free speech, black freedom, women’s lib, gay liberation. Liberation, liberation! It was a great time in America. Everywhere you went, everywhere you turned, people were talking about liberation, and it lasted for a good 10 years. When you’re young, that’s a long time.

Then the government threw a couple words in there that killed it all: “civil rights.” All of a sudden, everybody lowered their sights on freedom down to “I want to ask the powerful white males for permission for the same rights and privileges that they have.”

We were now fighting for our “civil rights,” our “equality.” I don’t want to be “equal” to a white man—I don’t want to lower myself! Who wants to be a white male in terms of values? I come from a matriarchal society. Why women would want to lower themselves is beyond me!

How do you view Obama?

The problem is, everybody wants freedom as long as it’s easy—and that’s Obama.

Actually, I have to hand it to the controllers of Americas. They brought in the emperor with new clothes—and the whole world suddenly just changes. Obama offers hope because he’s like a preacher. Americans feel good about themselves. We were the worst people in the world under Bush. But now we’ve got Obama! We’re great Americans again! Even though Obama said before the election he’d consider invading Pakistan. And he’s not leaving Iraq—that’s the new Indian reservation.

Mass psychology, and it happened overnight! I have lived a very fortunate life in a fortunate time. In my lifetime, I witnessed this about America: In the late ’50s, it started turning itself from a producing, productive country into a consumer nation. By the mid-’80s, it was complete—a beautiful study of mass-psychological control of the masses. It was amazing. George Orwell saw it all. Americans are so easily led, like the slaves that they are.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about Native Americans?

There aren’t any misconceptions. There aren’t any conceptions, either—we’re out of sight, out of mind. And Hollywood is the second-mostracist, anti-Indian institution in America—just short of the American government. They’ve perpetuated stereotypes, and that’s what people think of us: We don’t have a brain, we’re still primitive. That’s why they won’t get rid of those sports-team names—we’re out of sight, out of mind. We don’t have any power in the white man’s world, so they don’t have to pay attention to us. They can’t be harmed politically or economically.

You must have distinct views on Hollywood’s Indian films. Give us your take on Dances with Wolves.

Remember Lawrence of Arabia! That was Lawrence of the Plains. The odd thing about making that movie is, they had a woman teaching the actors the Lakota language. But Lakota has a male-gendered language and a female-gendered language. Some of the Indians and Kevin Costner were speaking in the feminine way. When I went to see it with a bunch of Lakota guys, we were laughing.


Good movie … great movie. It was based on the truth—but, unfortunately, it was fictitious. I wish they had focused more on the story of Leonard Peltier itself.

Black Robe?

One of the worst. One of the worst! One of the most anti-Indian movies ever. It’s a statement of the Jesuits.

Pathfinder, which you were in?

Huge disappointment. It was Marcus Nispel’s second movie. He remade The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; it made $100 million, so he was hot at the time. He got to do his passion, which is American Indians. It’s all about violence, and there’s no story—it was a horrible, stereotypical movie and, of course, it starred a white superman who taught us how to fight, where to go, and how to walk across ice and everything else. The Native cast got together to change the dialogue, but it was all cut out. It got panned by critics.

Last of the Mohicans?

Great movie, except for that one scene—what I call the “African village” scene. Back before black liberation took hold on the African continent and in the United States, you always saw the star rescuing the fair maiden in the African village, with the chieftain on his throne and his sub-chiefs around him with all their plumage on. Of course, the entire village is yelling for blood.

I’ll name the movies that were good. In the ’50s, there was Broken Arrow, about Cochise. In the ’60s, there was Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here and Little Big Man. Then there’s The Outlaw Josey Wales and Last of the Mohicans.

One of the things Hollywood does to Indian people is, we’re only allowed to make two kinds of movies:

Either we dress up in leather in the summertime, or we have to be drunken, dysfunctional misfits in movies like Skins or Smoke Signals.

In January, Lakota leaders withdrew from all treaties with the United States. You were at the forefront of this action. You even called some tribal councils “Vichy governments,” an allusion to French collaboration with the Nazis during World War II. Do you feel your rhetoric is divisive?

Listen, colonialism is divisive. Not only in America: look at Guatemala, at Africa, Pakistan, India. Colonialism takes its toll. I try to call a spade a spade—I can’t help it if people are brainwashed.

What challenges does the Republic of Lakotah face?

Back in the ’80s, under Carter, this whole five-state area, which is the Republic of Lakotah, was designated as a “national sacrifice area” because of its richness in coal and uranium and iron ore. The Black Hills Alliance defeated mining in the Black Hills through the lobbying of state legislators: Union Carbide, all of them—we beat those guys. That coalition was made up of Indian people, white ranchers—pure Westerners. Now they’re gone, our old people are gone, and just a few Indian people are hanging on.

But there are more battles in the future. We defeated the government interests once with the people of South Dakota, the landowners. And that’s what the Republic of Lakotah is all about: We want to include the landowners—especially family farmers and founding ranchers—in a free country.

The Northern Plains have been called by experts the “Saudi Arabia of wind energy.” The sun shines on the Northern Plains over 300 days a year. We have all of this free energy—we have enough wind, according to experts, to light up every major city in America 24/7, forever.

But the coal companies control the energy of the West. Some may say that it’s an impossible dream to fight against those guys and expect to win, but we’re going to. People can only take a police state for so long, and you can’t mess with rural people. Because rural people are, by and large, mostly self-sufficient, or they have a very recent memory of self-sufficiency. They’re not used to being pushed around. So they will react like we did in the ’80s against the planned sacrifice that opened mining in the Black Hills. I can see that through arbitration and mass psychology in this country, they plan to colonize this rural area and the people. That’s another reason why the Republic of Lakotah was re-created. We can defeat them again.

We have non-Indians who have come in. These are new immigrants to the Republic of Lakotah, but these are all professional people, very skilled people. It’s amazing—they’re moving here. It’s not massive, and we wouldn’t want that, because we’re rebuilding the foundation of freedom. It’s going to be a free society. We have our four major plans: health, education, economics and politics.

You’ve run for tribal president in Pine Ridge four times. If you were elected, what would your agenda be?

Freedom—outright sovereignty. If you want to be sovereign, you have to act sovereign. Freedom isn’t free. You’re free to be responsible, and if you want to be responsible—therefore free—it’s hard work. But it’s pleasurable work.

I ran on the “Freedom” ticket on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and 45 percent of my people who voted wanted freedom.

Do you plan to run again?

No. We got a country to run.

Visit russellmeans.com or republicoflakotah.com

This article was published in the July 2009 issue of High Times Magazine. Subscribe here.

The post The High Times Interview: Russell Means appeared first on High Times.

Canadian Government To Review Cannabis Legalization

Canada’s Liberal Party government launched a review of the country’s legalization of cannabis on Thursday, four years after the country became the world’s second to legalize marijuana for adults. Canada legalized marijuana with the passage of the Cannabis Act in 2018, five years after Uruguay became the first country to legalize cannabis for adults in 2013.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said at a press conference on Thursday that the review will help legislators and other policymakers determine if cannabis legalization is meeting the needs and expectations of Canadians.

“Through this useful, inclusive and evidence-driven review, we will strengthen the act so that it meets the needs of all Canadians while continuing to displace the illicit market. I look forward to receiving the panel’s findings,” Duclos said.

The Cannabis Act mandated that a review of cannabis legalization be conducted three years after the law was passed. The review, which is being initiated one year later than required by the legislation, is required to study the impact of cannabis legalization on Indigenous people, the cultivation of cannabis in housing complexes, and the health and cannabis use patterns of young people.

“Our government legalized cannabis to protect the health and safety of Canadians, particularly minors, and to displace the illegal market,” added Duclos.

Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, a co-chair of the all-party cannabis caucus, said that the review can help reveal the shortcomings of the groundbreaking Cannabis Act, which made Canada the first country in the northern hemisphere to legalize recreational marijuana.

“We have been, in many ways, world leaders in advancing sensible drug policy and legalization and regulation of cannabis is an example of that,” said Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who co-chairs the all-party cannabis caucus, at a press conference. “But we didn’t get it perfect, we didn’t get it exactly right for the first time.”

Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Carolyn Bennett agreed, noting the review is designed to focus in part on the mental health implications of cannabis legalization, particularly among the young.

“Young people are at increased risk of experiencing harms from cannabis such as mental health problems, including dependence and disorders related to anxiety and depression,” said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Carolyn Bennett. “While a lot of progress has been made on the implementation of the Cannabis Act and its dual objectives of protecting public health and maintaining public safety, we need to assess the work that has been done and learn how and where to adjust to meet these goals.”

Protecting Youth and Displacing the Illicit Market

When Canada’s Liberal government passed cannabis legalization in 2018, the stated goals of the Cannabis Act included protecting the health of Canadians and displacing the country’s illicit marijuana market. The review will help officials determine how effectively the legislation is meeting those goals so far.

“We are going to displace the illicit marketplace. It’s only a matter of time and you are going to, over the next three years, five years and 10 years, see those numbers shift,” said Erskine-Smith. “The legal marketplace will be where Canadians continue to turn.”

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce expressed support for the review, saying that the comprehensive evaluation would help foster the growth of the regulated cannabis market.

“However, to effectively displace the illicit market and protect the public health and safety of all Canadians, law enforcement, businesses, industry and all levels of government will need to continue to work together,” the Canadian Chamber of Commerce National Cannabis Working Group said in a statement.

The mandated review has been expanded to include an investigation of the social and environmental impacts of the Cannabis Act, the legalization and regulation of medical marijuana and the effects of reform on minority communities and women. Erskine-Smith said that including the additional areas of focus in the review is responsible for the government’s failure to meet the three-year deadline specified in the legislation.

“Getting the scope of the review right was much more important than the timeline,” he said. “If we’d followed the legislation to a ‘T’ — both in relation to the three-year timeline, but also the considerations that are set out in the legislation — we would have missed a major opportunity to get this right.”

The review will be conducted by a panel of experts led by Morris Rosenberg, a former deputy minister of justice. The government has not yet named the remaining members of the review panel.

The panel will hear from members of the public, government officials, Indigenous groups, youth, cannabis industry representatives, and medical cannabis users. The panel will also hear from leaders in public health, substance abuse, law enforcement, and health care.

“I look forward to working with the panel and to providing evidence-based advice to ministers to strengthen this particularly important piece of legislation and advance public policy in this area in Canada,” Rosenberg said Thursday.

The post Canadian Government To Review Cannabis Legalization appeared first on High Times.

South Dakota Reservation Bans Alcohol, Allows Cannabis

One South Dakota reservation, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, allows legal cannabis, though they still ban alcohol from within the reservation borders. 

In 2020, the Oglala Sioux Tribe overwhelmingly voted to legalize recreational and medical cannabis. The site has banned alcohol for the last 100 years, and they aren’t planning to change that anytime soon. Cannabis was legalized in 2020, but some of the structure was delayed thanks to the pandemic. Now, they have a thriving industry. However, when they legalized cannabis they also had the option to make alcohol legal on the reservation again, and chose not to. 

Folks who live on the South Dakota reservation claim that they see cannabis as a safe and natural alternative to alcohol and a tool for managing things like mental health issues and chronic illnesses. They still see alcohol as something that can impact not only health and safety but also life expectancy. 

“Cannabis is a natural plant that comes from the Earth—and our people lived off the land, and they got their medicine from the land,” Ann Marie Beane tells Press Herald from a local dispensary called No Worries. “Our Indigenous people, they suffer a lot from diabetes and cancer and various other illnesses, but the cannabis really helps them.”

Shoppers at the store also shared that they feel alcohol, meth, opioids, and other illegal drugs are more dangerous than cannabis, and that cannabis is different and better for their community. 

The Pine Ridge Reservation was established in 1889 and takes up 2 million acres and several small towns. It also comprises ranches, prairies, and badland formations. About 20,000 people live on the Reservation, and community members say some folks may not be counted by the U.S. Census Bureau and there are actually closer to 40,000 residents. 

Throughout the history of the South Dakota reservation, alcohol has been illegal almost the entire time, but bootlegging is still common, and alcohol abuse is still an issue on the reservation. 

“It’s killing our youth—It’s killing our future generation,” Beane says about the still-prevalent alcohol abuse problem. 

The Oglala Sioux Tribe filed a 2012 lawsuit alleging that about 25% of children born on the reservation had health or behavioral problems caused by exposure to alcohol in the womb. They sued beer stores across the border in Nebraska that they claimed were taking advantage of folks with alcohol problems who lived on the reservation. 

Indigenous people usually have a lower life expectancy and higher rates of health problems, which medical experts say are due to poverty and the harm their communities have been caused by the federal government. Reservations often lack good access to healthcare and healthy food. They are usually serviced by a group called the Indian Health Service, which is underfunded and not always able to provide the best care. 

Of the customers polled at No Worries by the Press Herald, only a few of them said they only use cannabis for recreational purposes. Most of them use it for things like anxiety and pain, as well as other medical conditions. Reporters saw a patient with an ostomy bag who had lost part of her intentions, as well as patients who suffered drug addiction and cancer. 

“I’d rather smoke than do other drugs because I almost gave up on my kids,” says Chantilly Little, a recovering addict. 

“Unfortunately, the health care services provided by the Indian Health Service have failed so many in countless ways,” says Stephanie Bolman, a breast cancer patient who used to work in health care. She also serves on the city council for the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. “It has left many to fend for themselves and endure so much pain and suffering that medical marijuana has proven to be lifesaving.”

While the folks on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and many Indigenous people in South Dakota, are still struggling with lack of access to healthcare and social services and equity, legal cannabis access is a positive first step for them, as well as a clear alternative to alcohol. 

The post South Dakota Reservation Bans Alcohol, Allows Cannabis appeared first on High Times.

Exclusive: Heilung Speaks Out on Cannabis and Ritual

Heilung has made an impact on the entire world with its powerful, ritualistic brand of Germanic folk music. The band is known for its inclusive, global approach, bringing indigenous people on stage at every performance to help celebrate the ritual of humanity and music. 

But, until now, the band members have had to stay silent on one crucial part of their ritual world—cannabis. Now, as cannabis acceptance is finally coming to Europe, they decided to speak out and share with High Times how cannabis has influenced their journey. 

We spoke with vocalist and world-famous tattoo artist Kai Uwe Faust about how cannabis plays a role in his songwriting and ritual practice.

Photo by Addison Herron-Wheeler

What made you feel that now is the time to finally speak out about cannabis?

I used to sell High Times magazines because I worked in a head shop in Germany, so when this invitation came through, I had to say yes. [But I hesitated before because] a lot of countries in Europe keep it on the illegal side, and that limits certain information that people can share and still be safe. 

How does cannabis play into the realms of spirituality and music for you?

First of all, it gives me peace of mind to actually truly become creative, because I wasn’t always so focused. If I were born today, they would have raised me on Ritalin and just parked me in a corner somewhere. 

Coming from a Christian household, I was very wild, very aggressive. But with regular consumption, it really did seem to shift something in my mind, and it makes me peaceful and quiet enough to sit down and start drawing, start writing, and contribute to my surroundings in a much more positive way. 

How does it come into play with being more connected to spirituality?
It allows me to really slow down, take a slow walk in the forest, actually appreciate my surroundings and not have my brain processing so quickly. 

It really opened me up as an artist to take a meditative look at nature and see the natural, geometric patterns in nature, the grids and structures, which really influenced my art as well. 

How does cannabis impact you if you consume before going onstage or before band practice? 

That’s a weird one because in the rehearsal situation, I’m usually pretty stoned, but on performance day, I don’t smoke that much. Then it’s really time to get the beast out, and I have to push myself over the edge. There’s a wild energy to it, and I really get to this restless point, and [not smoking] just pushes me over. 

Photo by Addison Herron-Wheeler

Where do you want to see legalization headed in Europe? What do you hope the future holds?

I really hope that Europe gets completely on board with legalization. It has a lot of benefits on many levels. Police can focus on the more important work, and the countries can get more money and revenue. 

Also, then there would be no pressure, no attraction to something illegal. You can try it if you want it, but there’s nothing taboo about it, and if you don’t want to, that’s fine, too. It keeps it off the streets and out of the illegal market. 

What’s your favorite way to consume? 

Oh without a doubt, mixed with tobacco. That’s how I got started, and that’s still how I smoke. 

Do you have a particular strain you gravitate towards? 

Sometimes, since it is still illegal in most of Europe, I take what I can get. But if it’s available, I gravitate towards Northern Lights. I like those very much. I was also in Denver, and the lady at the dispensary advised me to try Ghost Train, and I really liked that too. 

Why is it important to you to specifically invite indigeouns people on stage with you when you play shows?

We have a standing invitation everywhere we go, so that we can represent ancient people all over the world. It’s cool because we see so many similarities. For example, when we were wrapping up our show yesterday, we were all wearing traditional European stuff, and all the First Nations dancers were wearing their traditional clothing. At the end of the night, we found a ring cross bracelet, and we had no idea who it belonged to, since that symbol is found all over the world. 


The post Exclusive: Heilung Speaks Out on Cannabis and Ritual appeared first on High Times.