Pink Cocaine: Colombia’s New Drug Rage

Heroin, cocaine, LSD, weed…we know these drugs. Even the lesser used drugs we know, like mescaline, 2C-B, and salvia. But then, there’s always something new popping up. From captagon taking over the Middle East to gas station heroin – a tricyclic anti-depressant sold in corner stores in America; people sure want to get high on something. What’s one of the latest to surface? Pink cocaine, the new rage of South America, and beyond.

Pink cocaine, what’s that?

The answer to that depends on who you ask. Though the main point of differentiation in answers, is concerning what specific ingredients are in it. The first thing to know, though, is that no, pink cocaine is not real cocaine; and in fact has nothing to do with that euphoria-bringing, stimulant drug.

Pink cocaine started as nothing more than a pink version of one of the drugs mentioned above, 2C-B. 2C-B was created in 1974 by Alexander Shulgin, the same guy who brought us MDMA, with a new method to synthesize it in 1976. He wrote about both in his book PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story. PiHKAL stands for ‘Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved.’ 2C-B is a phenethylamines drug, which means its a central nervous system stimulant.

2C-B is similar to mescaline, and was used in the mid-late 1900’s when psychedelics were legal for therapeutic use. It comes as a white powder, or as tablets, and is generally taken by mouth. It can also be vaped, and snorted (insufflation). It’s a Schedule I drug in the US.

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In the 1970’s the drug was manufactured by German pharma company Drittewelle, and sold under the brand name “Erox”. It was also found at that time under the names “Nexus” and “B-Dub”. When MDMA was illegalized in 1985, 2C-B became a short-lived replacement; and its now often sold as ecstasy, though its not the same thing. When it was first marketed, it was done so as an aphrodisiac, as it does have stimulating and entactogen properties, like ecstasy. Much like MDMA and ecstasy, its recreational use has related largely to the rave scene.

So what’s pink cocaine? According to many sources it’s merely a dyed pink version of 2C-B. Why? Well, perhaps switching up the aesthetic makes people think they’re trying something new and different. Both the worlds of drugs and marketing tell us that people like to try new things, and that the thing that looks ‘cool’ is often the one desired. It goes by different slang names that come from ‘2C-B’, like ‘tucibi’, or ‘tuci’, or ‘tussi’.

Is there another definition for pink cocaine?

So, that’s what it is? Just a pink form of a drug we already knew about? Not exactly. Much like MDMA and ecstasy, things can start going off the mark. The names ‘MDMA’ and ‘ecstasy’ are often used interchangeably; and truth be told, they can technically refer to the same thing: the pure version of MDMA.

More often than not however, while ‘MDMA’ does refer to a pure form, ‘ecstasy’ often refers to a cut version. As in, a lesser quality version that has other compounds in it so the dealer’s batch goes farther, or to make it more powerful to impress clients and keep them coming back.

Think about cocaine. Sure, you can get really pure stuff. But a lot of it isn’t. It’s known to be cut with baby laxatives, boric acid, detergent, aspirin, creatine, and meat tenderizers. It can also have caffeine or amphetamine to increase the intensity. Or drugs like Benzocaine and Lidocaine, which are for pain. The same idea goes for pink cocaine.

While it was originally 2C-B, these days sources say the drug is made from ingredients like ketamine, MDMA, and caffeine, among other compounds. Some versions may include opioids like fentanyl, meth, or amphetamine, as well. The names ‘tucibi’, ‘tuci’, and ‘tussi’ tend to refer more to this drug, and not straight 2C-B, as 2C-B is so infrequently in the concoction anymore. But it used to be.

Illicit drug lab

The origin of pink cocaine

So where did the stuff come from, and when did it make its way to the public eye? It first became big – like it’s namesake – in Colombia, around 2010. Back then it generally did contain 2C-B. It made its way to Colombia not from the States, but from Europe, where it was already a niche but staple drug in the nightclub scene. The rich of Medellin were some of the first to get the drug back to Colombia, where its use proliferated.

It was seen at that time as a more elite drug than the ever-visible cocaine, probably because it was first big among the upper class. It came with a higher price tag than cocaine, which was used more by middle and lower classes. At a certain point early on, it was mixed with pink dye that smelled of strawberries. This helped make it more appealing in general, as it was thought of as harsh and bad-tasting.

2C-B wasn’t in great supply though. It was only a niche drug in Europe, and only small amounts made it to Colombia. This encouraged local vendors to make their own versions; and hence, the birth of the pink cocaine that’s sold today, (which often has little-to-no 2C-B in it at all), was born. In fact, actual 2C-B is still not common in Latin America.

Pink cocaine going international

In the next couple years, pink cocaine made its way around Colombia. In mid-2015, it was found through an arrest of multiple traffickers, that the drug was being exported to countries like the US, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. Around this time it was established by manufacturers that they could use all sorts of ingredients as long as they maintained the look and smell of it, since that’s what the public associated with the 2C-B version. This made it quicker and cheaper to make, lowered prices, and increased exports.

By 2016 it had gotten back to Europe, which is kind of funny in that it was from Europe that the original drug came; and just a few years later, the same area was importing back the weakened, fake version. That year Spain captured nine operators who ran refining labs in Madrid. The labs were creating the drug with ketamine, cocaine, and meth. There is no standard recipe, and individual producers are known for creating their own individual concoctions.

Spain is pretty into it, with reports surfacing late last year that seven were arrested for selling both cocaine and pink cocaine in Madrid and Malaga. When their homes were searched, eight kilos of the pink drug were found. Prior to this, in late August, a bust of Brits in Ibiza, Spain turned up 13 kilos of pink cocaine, thought to have a street value of €2.3 million.

Pink cocaine can be powder or pills
Pink cocaine can be powder or pills

A UN report from late 2022 speaks of some form of the drug being found by law enforcement in the following countries: Austria, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. This was confirmed by Trevor Shine, the director of TICTAC Communications Ltd, a UK organization which identifies and gives information on drugs. He said that the organization “had come across a small number of samples of pink powder or crystals over the last two years,” which “contained MDMA and ketamine, and another caffeine and ketamine.”

He did point out that these findings account for only a tiny fraction of the drugs found, in the neighborhood of 0.5% of tested samples. It’s still generally new there, but in Colombia, where its been around longer, these pink concoctions are significantly more popular.

Though the drug is in Europe, it biggest base is in Latin American countries like Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay. As the price plummeted along with the quality, it now attracts a much less rich crowd, with the former users moving on to other drugs.

While 2C-B, like other hallucinogens, isn’t known to cause death, Senior Research Officer of the UK’s Drugs Science (a policy charity) reminds that, like it or not, there are a lot of crazy things out there, and some kind of testing is becoming more and more necessary for recreational users:

“Mixing drugs can be dangerous. For example, mixing two depressant drugs like alcohol and benzos is particularly risky as this can drastically slow down breathing and heart rate. It is good practice for people who may mix drugs to use tools such as TripSit to get some insights into particularly risky interactions. There’s also the ongoing risk that people don’t know what’s in their drugs – this is why we need drug checking services such as the Loop so people can make informed choices.”


Perhaps the biggest takeaway of pink cocaine is that if you want a quality drug, you’ll probably have to pay more. The cutting, cheapening, and replacing of pure compounds leads to low-level drugs, and more danger. Maybe 2C-B is fine, but do you have the slightest clue what’s in your pink cocaine?

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Brownie Mary and Her Contributions to Medical Cannabis 

If you’ve ever had a pot brownie, then you have Brownie Mary to thank for that. An elderly woman known for her exceptional baking skills, is not uncommon for many grandmas. Except Mary wasn’t baking treats for her grandkids, she was crafting cannabis edibles for a community of disenfranchised people that she cared for as if they were her own children.  

Often referred to as the Florence Nightingale of HIV/AIDS, and the creator of the weed brownie, Mary was famous for baking delicious, cannabis-infused treats for gay men and other people who were suffering from wasting syndrome, a condition categorized by diminished appetite and significant weight loss. It’s common in people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other illnesses.  

In addition to her humanitarian work, for which she was arrested 3 times, Brownie Mary was also the reason California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis, as she had a big part in the passage of Proposition 215 back in 1996.  

Bottom line, Mary was an amazing, powerhouse of woman. And she played such a huge role in the cannabis industry as we know it today, that everyone who smokes weed should know her name and her story. Let’s take a closer look at the incredible life of Brownie Mary.  

Who is Brownie Mary? 

Mary Jane Rathbun (yes, Mary Jane is her birth name given to her by her conservative Irish Catholic mother) was born in on December 22, 1922, in Chicago, Illinois. Soon after, her family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Mary attended a strict catholic school. One of her first acts of rebellion was at 13, when she hit a nun who tried to cane her.  

She moved on her own when she was a teenager and took to waitressing to support herself (keep in mind, this was during a time when it was especially hard for a young, unmarried woman to do such a thing). She continued to work as a waitress for most of her adult life. From a young age, she was drawn to activism and got involved in many important causes, from campaigning for miners’ rights to form unions in Wisconsin, to promoting women’s healthcare and abortion rights in Minneapolis.  

She moved to San Francisco, California, during World War II. Shortly after getting there, she married a man she met at a USO dance and had a daughter named Peggy, who was born in 1955. They divorced shortly after and Mary moved with her daughter to Reno, Nevada. In the early 1970s, Peggy was killed by a drunk driver, and Mary moved back to San Francisco.  

Cannabis activism 

Shortly after moving back to San Francisco, Mary met Dennis Peron at Café Flore in the Castro district, in a change encounter that would change the trajectory of her activism work forever. Peron was a well-known cannabis and LGBTQ activist. He was a prominent figure in California politics, and was an adamant supporter of medical cannabis use. He watched it how it provided relief to his partner, who eventually died from AIDS in 1990. He wanted other people to be able to benefit from weed as well.  

Mary started baking her brownies, and Peron was selling them at his Big Top pot supermarket on Castro Street – and thus Brownie Mary was born. The majority of Mary’s customers were gay men, especially after HIV/AIDS began to spread more rampantly in the 1980s. Noticing this, Mary started providing her brownies to sick people, whom she referred to as her “kids”, totally free of charge. Her $650 monthly social security check, along with donations from the community, helped her purchase baking supplies.  

“I know from smoking pot for over 30 years that this is a medicine that works,” Brownie Mary stated. “It works for the wasting syndrome; these kids have no appetite; but when they eat a brownie, they get out of bed and make themselves some food. And for chemotherapy, they eat half a brownie before a session, and when they get out, they eat the other half. It eases the pain. That’s what I’m here to do.” 

Around 1984, Brownie Mary started volunteering every week in the AIDS ward (Ward 86) at San Francisco General Hospital. She often helped by wheeling patients to and from the radiology department and taking their specimens to the lab. In 1986, she was named “Volunteer of the Year” by the hospital ward. TV reporter and author, Carol Pogash, also profiled Mary her 1992 book titled: As Real as it Gets: The Life of a Hospital at the Center of the AIDS Epidemic.  

Multiple arrests  

By the early 1980s, Mary was baking about 600 brownies per day. She advertised them in on local bulletin boards around San Francisco, calling them her “original recipe brownies” that were “magically delicious”. Eventually, an undercover officer caught on to what she was doing and a raid was conducted on her home on January 14, 1981. 

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Police found over 18 pounds of cannabis flower, 650 brownies, and some other drugs and paraphernalia. She was 57-years-old at the time of this arrest, and this is the time that the media started referring to her openly as Brownie Mary. In this case, she ended up pleading guilty to nine counts of possession and served three years’ probation as well as 500 hours of community service.  

A little over a year later, on December 7, 1982, Mary was walking down Market Street to deliver a batch of brownies to a friend who had cancer, when she happened to run into one of the officers involved in her arrest.  He searched her bag and found about four dozen brownies. She was arrested and charged with probation violation and multiple counts of possession, but the district attorney dropped the charges against her.  

Fast forward a decade to July 19, 1992, and that’s when Brownie Mary was arrested for her third time. She was held up during the middle of the baking process, while pouring cannabis into brownie batter at the home of a local grower. She was charged with felony possession again, 2.5 pounds this time, and released on bail. The district attorney tried to prosecute her, but she plead not guilty and was eventually acquitted of these charges too.  

Her legal team argued the defense of “medical necessity”, claiming that Mary was “able to testify that her deliveries were made to assist others in need, not to advance individual greed, that the nobility of her actions outweighed the reprehensibility of her offense according to the law.” 

In one of her most famous moments at a San Francisco rally in 1992, Rathbun reportedly cried out: “If the narcs think I’m gonna stop baking brownies for my kids with AIDS, they can go f*** themselves in Macy’s window”. This about a month after her third arrest, and she continued to bake about 600 brownies every day throughout the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis.  

Prop 215  

In the early 90s, Mary helped her friend Dennis Peron open the first medical cannabis dispensary in the United States, known as the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club. The Buyers Club operated from 1992 to 1998 and had over 8,000 members at one point. During that time, Peron and a group of cannabis activists drafted Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act.  

Prop 215 passed in 1996 with more than 55 percent of the vote, making California the first state to permit the medicinal use of cannabis. Less than two years later, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Nevada passed their own medical cannabis initiatives. Today, 37 states have medical cannabis, and 21 of those have passed recreational use laws as well.  

“It wasn’t the hippies per se, it wasn’t the standard establishment marijuana movement players, but it was the gay people who legalized pot in California because of the AIDS epidemic,” says John Entwistle, Peron’s husband and co-author of Proposition 215. “That’s been forgotten to some extent.” And Brownie Mary was right there at the heart of it all, lovingly helping people in her community while at the same time, bringing media attention to the cause.  

Brownie Mary’s legacy 

The work Mary Jane Rathbun did for AIDS patients is definitely under looked and under appreciated these days. During a time when there was no relief from the symptoms they experienced…she was their guardian angel. 

After the passage of Prop 215, Mary’s health began to decline, and she suffered from a few different health conditions including osteoarthritis, COPD, and colon cancer. As expected, she self-medicated with cannabis to ease her pain. In 1999, at the age of 76, Mary passed away from a heart attack (December 22, 1922 – April 10, 1999). The following week, 300 people gathered in a candlelight vigil in her name at Castros on Market Street. 

“We loved to ask her, ‘What’s the recipe?’ and she always made Betty Crocker jokes,” Entwistle remembered. “She once explained it to me: When you’re buying boxes of brownies, look at how much oil the recipe calls for, and go for the one that uses the most oil. But the mystery—the recipe for her brownies—goes to her grave.” 

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Mycoremediation: Using Mushrooms to Clean Environmental Toxins

Global waste is expected to increase to 3.4 billion tons by 2050. To put it into perspective, by that time, there will be more plastic waste than fish in the world’s oceans. So we need to make some changes fast. Scientists are looking at numerous different ways to weaponize natural resources in the fight against pollution. One of the more interesting methods they’ve come across is known as mycoremediation – in which mushrooms absorb various toxins from the earth. From wildfire zones in California to oil spills in South America, mushrooms are working their magic to make the world a better and safer place.  

Global pollution statistics  

Pollution is not a new phenomenon, but it has definitely become a much bigger problem over the last century as industry and agriculture became cornerstones of our society. Use of pesticides and herbicides in crops, urbanization, forest fires, and overuse of plastic products, and inadequate waste management have escalated the pollution issues at an alarmingly rapid rate, especially in low- and middle-income communities and countries. Economically impoverished people who do not have the resources to protect themselves from pollution tend to suffer the worst outcomes.  

Although some environmental regulations over the years helped to cut back on the toxic waste we create (think about how bad it was in 1970s era New York) it’s still not enough. To this day, pollution is the leading environmental cause of disease and early death. Pollution causes more than 9 million premature deaths annually, the majority of them due to air pollution. This is several times more than global deaths from tuberculosis, AIDs, and malaria combined.  

Pollution depletes our natural resources

Pollution also depletes the natural resources we need to live. According to a pollution overview from The World Bank, “Intensive material consumption depletes natural resources and causes negative environmental impacts at every stage of the product life-cycle including production, use phase, and end-of-life.” In the US alone, nearly 50% of freshwater is too polluted for drinking, swimming, or fishing. This not only impacts the water itself, put all the plants and other animals near the waterways that rely on that water. What happens when money doesn’t matter anymore because there is no clean water to drink, food to eat, or air to breathe? 

What is bioremediation? 

Bioremediation is the process of using living organisms or microbes to remove or neutralize contaminants from the earth. Bacteria is often used to “consume pollutants) and convert them into harmless and sometimes beneficial compounds like carbon dioxide, but a variety of plants, including hemp, can be used to detoxify soil, water, and air. The latter is a subset of bioremediation known as phytoremediation.  

It’s amazingly effective, even on products once believed to be irremediable like oil and plastic. For example, a study led by Kenneth J. Locey of Rush University Medical Center and published in Pnas a few years ago found that certain microbes can “degrade between 50% and 60% of [automobile] fuel, convert mercury to non-harmful chemicals, consume plastics at the bottom of the ocean, and even thrive within oil spills.” All this in just a few weeks.  

The research paper explains: “Bacteria have evolved for billions of years, and, as a result, they have developed a very diverse range of metabolic pathways that makes them capable of obtaining energy from virtually every organic compound. Their ubiquity in nature, metabolic diversity, high growth rates, and their ability for horizontal gene transfer, shapes them into perfect candidates for bioremediation of pollutants, including fuels.” 

The team conducted their study by examining the surfaces of automobile tank lids to find what type of different strains of bacteria have survived or developed there. Any such microbes would be adept at living under high stress situations, as the tank lids come in contact with fuel and high temperatures. Simplified, they would then take the bacterium, multiply them, and introduce them in greater numbers back into the polluted environments. 

Co-author of the study, Biologist Manuel Porcar Miralles, added that, “there are two fundamental biological strategies: either you wait for the microorganisms to act on their own or you can intervene, inoculating the selected ones because they degrade hydrocarbons particularly well.” 

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Cleaning the world with mushrooms 

Mycoremediation is a type of bioremediations that uses fungi for pollution removal. Different fungi function in different ways when it comes to cleaning up toxins. Some use their mycelium network, which is their very complex root system, to absorb, degrade, and convert various toxins into compounds that are no longer harmful.  

Other mushrooms, like oysters for example, absorb toxins toxins and store them in their fruiting bodies (caps). In these scenarios, the mushroom caps would then need to be treated as if they are toxic and properly discarded. Afterwards, a new generation of mushrooms can be grown in the same area and most toxins will be completely removed after a few flushes.  

Mycoremediation is already being used throughout the world to clean different areas of concern. In California, where record wildfires have been recorded over the last few years, researchers are testing different strains and methods for mycoremediation in Paradise, a town in Butte County, California, that was decimated by a wildfire in 2018.  

Remnants of a burned home in Paradise, California, after the ‘Camp Fire’ that occurred in November 2018

In Washington state, ecologists from The Lands Council managed to reduce levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Spokane River by using native bacteria and fungi. By the end of their experiment, there were 46% less PCBs in the water. Mushrooms were also used to clean up toxic oil pits left in Ecuador, in what is known as The Amazon Mycorenewal Project. Scientists and mycologists are also trying to determine if mycoremediation is effective on heavy metals.  

Hundreds of non profit organizations and independent research teams are developing all over the world, and they’re promoting mycoremediation as one of the safest, most effective, and least expensive solutions to our rampant pollution problem. Fungi are also becoming a go-to alternative for many local clean crews as well.  

Air pollution – the silent killer  

It’s clear that mycoremediation works well for water and soil, but what about air pollution? Air pollution is the greatest environmental threat to public health, globally. Here are a few statistics you should know: 

  • Air pollution alone accounts for an estimated 7 million premature deaths every year (out of the 9 million total caused by overall pollution).
  • In 2019, just under 99 percent of the world population was living in a place where the World Health Organization’s strictest air quality guideline standards were not met.
  • Exposure to air pollution can lead to a wide range of diseases including stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), ischemic heart disease, and lung cancer.
  • Air pollution also has a huge impact on our largest organ – the skin. Toxins in the air can cause eczema, acne, psoriasis, and even skin cancer.   

As it turns out, fungi can be useful for cleaning up the air as well. Data suggests that fungi can break down up to 80% of carbon they absorb and turn it into food for other organisms. As per the research, “When the mycelium-fused fungi grows, it safely sponges up hydrocarbons, helping create cleaner air in towns and cities”.

As such, a design student at London’s Brunel University developed a prototype that uses hexagonal mycelium tiles to cover building facades. “Myco-Hex tiles are a great example of biomimicry,” said Brunel Design School lecturer, Ayca Dundar. “It is using nature to solve a global problem that is also fully sustainable and renewable.”

In Northern India, one of the most heavily pollution regions in the world, researchers have created a fungal spray for farmers to use that will help degrade agricultural waste from local crops. Initially, the goal was to cut back on the air pollution which plagues their major cities, but there are other obvious benefits like cleaner soil and better-quality food. 

Final thoughts

“For so many years, humans have worked against nature and have slowly destroyed it,” says Thomas Sault, creator of Netflix documentary Fantastic Fungi. “Instead of working against nature, we need to look to nature and see that it contains the answers to our environmental issues.”

It certainly seems that bio and mycoremediation are the long-awaited solutions to our problem with environmental toxins. We’re quickly getting to the point where the majority of our planet and natural resources are polluted, and we desperately need cost effective alternatives that get the job done. Once again, it’s mushrooms to the rescue.

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Opioid Lawsuit Money: Where Does It All Go?

Johnson & Johnson and friends are paying out a lot of money for their misdeeds; even if they refuse to admit to doing anything wrong. In fact, every state in the US has at least one opioid lawsuit; with the question now of, where does all that settlement money actually go?

How much must be paid & by who?

There isn’t a finite answer to this question, as not every case against the major players like Johnson & Johnson has been settled. And we’re only talking about America right now anyway. So far, over 3,000 suits have been filed by different states and local governments over the pills which have caused a major death toll in America, Canada, and beyond.

The biggest payout comes in the form of a $26 billion settlement that was made between 46 US states and Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson. It was brokered in 2021, and dubbed the ‘National Settlement.’ This settlement does not include the four states that didn’t sign on, or anything previously decided or still ongoing. The number also doesn’t include separate lawsuits that have been waged against retailers like Walgreens.

Another of the big settlements has to do with the Native American population of America, a population hit very hard by opioids. This lawsuit was also against the four companies involved in the National Settlement, with a total of $590 million to be paid out to federally recognized tribes. It started as a settlement between AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson and just the Cherokee tribe for $75 million. This was then increased to $440 million, with a stipulation that it can be accessed by any federally recognized tribe member.

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For its part, Johnson & Johnson was also included and has two years to pay out $150 million in this particular case. Of that, $18 million is specifically for the Cherokees. To give an idea of the brazen ego of these companies; upon making this settlement, Johnson & Johnson said in a statement that “This settlement is not an admission of any liability or wrongdoing and the company will continue to defend against any litigation that the final agreement does not resolve.” I guess the company just likes paying out big sums of money.

Even more opioid lawsuits

It’ not just the pharma companies and distributors that are set to pay a lot of money. Even retailers got hit with lawsuits. CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart were staring down over 300 lawsuits over opioids, and settled for $13 billion in late 2022.

And what of Purdue specifically? The company that skyrocketed this whole issue with the creation of Oxycontin, and all the lies surrounding the usefulness and addictiveness of this drug? It also is in the process of dealing with the fallout of its blatant disregard for humanity. This company isn’t a corporation, and is privately owned by the Sackler family. The family was made to pay out $6 billion in a 2022 settlement, which goes mostly to local and state governments. And this as a part of a revised bankruptcy settlement, just to give an idea how much these little pills are hurting everyone…including those who made them.

Opioid lawsuit money

Even the federal government, which allows the opioids through regulation, is a part of it. The US Justice department made an $8 billion settlement with Purdue, which was reported in October 2022. And who gets this money? It goes to the Treasury Department, which is allocating $1.775 billion for states, tribes, and local governments for the future. And only $225 million for a “public benefit trust” to state and local communities now. It’s thought that once its all told, approximately $50 billion will be paid out from opioid lawsuits altogether on the state and local level.

Opioid lawsuit money: How is it split?

The whole point of these lawsuits is that the drugs hurt (and are still hurting) a lot of people. Now, sure, you can also say the disability damages affect a wider audience, including governments, but the thing to really remember in this, is who the victims are. And that’s primarily people who started opioids for pain issues. When you think about it, these lawsuits have less to do with people who decided to take up the drugs on their own.

So how does the money get to them? Or does it even? States are bringing in millions and billions of dollars from these opioid lawsuits, so where does the money go? This is where things get a bit complicated. And where we have to hope that the created systems, actually use the money appropriately.

The National Academy for State Health Policy is interested in this question, and compiled data to help elucidate the situation by looking at “state legislation, opioid settlement agreements and spending plans, advisory committees, and other entities charged with disbursing state funding”. According to the agency, all the states are setting up regulated structures for money dissemination; some related to the settlements themselves, and some as a part of new policy.

As the biggest payout as of yet, the National Settlement includes both the ability for states to create their own policies, while also defining some aspects of the payment structure. For example, this settlement includes a timeline for payouts, which stipulates 18 months. The money is split due to factors like overall population; how many overdoes deaths the location had, as well as how many active use cases there are now; and how much of the medications made their way into the location.

What about once a state has the money? The settlement agreement goes on to stipulate a standard rate for dissemination past that point, with 15% of the payment going to a State Fund, 70% to an Abatement Accounts Fund, and the last 15% to a Subdivision Fund. Should a state want to change this policy, it can challenge it. While all this applies to the biggest lawsuit, many settlements have similar instructions.

Lawsuits over opioids
Lawsuits over opioids

The ’State Fund’ is money which is “awarded directly to the state, with final spending authority residing with legislative appropriation, attorneys general, the Department of Health, or the state agencies responsible for substance use services.” The Subdivision Fund (Local Share) is money paid “directly to participating political subdivisions, including participating cities and counties.” And the Abatement Fund is to “distribute funding across the state.”

Essentially, each state is tasked with coming up with “unique process and administrative structures for allocating funding across state and local entities, identifying abatement needs, obtaining input from the public and experts, providing guidance on priorities and spending activities, and promoting transparency around the use of funds.” And these processes can be used for any opioid lawsuit money from future or already on-going cases.

Opioid lawsuit money, and how it can be used

With the National Settlement as the example, there are some stipulations as to how the money can be used once a state takes it in. This is where we need to make sure that these avenues lead to something useful; and that they don’t get corrupted. Which means watching over the process from beginning to end.

The main point is that at least 70% of this money must be used for ‘opioid remediation efforts,’ which essentially means policies that target the problem and attempt to solve it. As per the wording of the agreement:

“Care, treatment, and other programs and expenditures (including reimbursement for past such programs or expenditures except where this Agreement restricts the use of funds solely to future Opioid Remediation) designed to (1) address the misuse and abuse of opioid products, (2) treat or mitigate opioid use or related disorders, or (3) mitigate other alleged effects of, including on those injured as a result of, the opioid epidemic.” It’s not, however, more specific than this, leaving the individual locations to figure out what these measures should be.

The money must also be used to set up Opioid Settlement Remediation Advisory Committees. These committees are designed to provide some guidance for the remediation process; they only deal with the 70% allocated to the Abatement Accounts Fund.

Lawsuit money allocation
Lawsuit money allocation

The problem is that such systems have shown to be corruptible time and time again. To combat this (in some form) there is a guideline set up to try to deter unrelated spending. It stipulates a requirement to report all use of the funding money, including unrelated costs like payments to lawyers, investigation costs, court fees, and administrative fees. However, a requirement to report, doesn’t mean the funds won’t still be used for these purposes. If reported unrelated costs are still covered, the simple action of reporting does not mean the funds won’t be misused. We’ll have to keep an eye out.

Moving forward

Will any of this work, or are we simply filling government coffers, to be blown like so much other government money? The way I see it, there are two ways to look at progress. The first is if those who have been hurt, get repaid for their losses. And the second is in how it works to change the current landscape. Considering most new regulation focuses on decriminalizing drugs and setting up safe use sites, instead of looking at alternatives like ketamine; its certainly hard to see a path for positive change. And realistically, so long as the doctor is the dealer, can we actually expect this problem to go away?

It’s best to remember that no state pursuing an opioid lawsuit has barred the sale of opioids in the state; even with lawsuit money rolling in. Not even one made a guideline for making them harder to get. Kind of a contradiction, and one that shouldn’t be ignored if people really expect that governments are working on their behalf.

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Amsterdam: Ban on Cannabis Smoking in Red-Light District?

Amsterdam, the capital of Holland, is famous around the world for its liberal and progressive attitude. You can buy cannabis from a variety of coffee shops, you can purchase magic truffles from smartshops and sex work is respected as a profession in the red-light district. However, this reputation has been under scrutiny from the Dutch establishment in recent years, with tourists coming to the beautiful city for all of the wrong reasons.

With many threats and potentials over the last few months, it seems something concrete is actually going to be done. Amsterdam has decided to ban smoking cannabis on the red-light district streets. Is this just an anomaly, or are many more clampdowns soon to follow? Let’s find out. 

Amsterdam: the Liberal City

Amsterdam is a city known for its unique culture and progressive attitudes towards social issues. The city’s liberal mindset is a defining characteristic that sets it apart from other places in the world. From its liberal drug policies to its acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, Amsterdam is a place where people can feel free to be themselves.


One of the most famous aspects of Amsterdam’s liberal attitude is its policy towards drugs. While drugs are illegal in the Netherlands, the government has taken a lenient approach to soft drugs like cannabis. This has led to the birth of “coffee shops” throughout the city, where customers can purchase and consume cannabis. There are over 160 of these establishments in the capital, and together they add around 400 million euros to the nation’s wealth every year.

The policy has been in place for decades and has been largely successful in reducing drug-related crime and improving public health. Many visitors come to Amsterdam specifically to experience the city’s cannabis culture. In fact, in 2019, the capital received around 20 million tourists. Smartshops also sell other sorts of substances, particularly magic truffles. These contain psilocybin and are essentially a legal, embryonic version of magic mushrooms. Those in Amsterdam are free to purchase these products, head to Vondelpark and trip out. 


Another aspect of Amsterdam’s liberal attitude is its acceptance. One case of this is in regards to the LGBTQ+ community. The city has a long history of tolerance and inclusivity, and it was one of the first places in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. The annual Amsterdam Gay Pride celebration is one of the largest and most vibrant Pride events in the world, drawing visitors from all over to celebrate diversity and acceptance. In addition to these well-known policies, Amsterdam is also known for its progressive attitudes towards issues like sex work. Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, and sex workers are unionized and protected under the law. The red-light district in De Wallen – one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam – is a section of the city where sex workers can do their job safely. 

The Problem

Whilst Amsterdam is known globally as this beacon of acceptance, it also has another side to it. Tourists from all over the world come to this city to take advantage – to utilize only the hedonistic pleasures. You’ll only have to walk the streets for a few minutes before you see a couple of young Brits falling over themselves, throwing a whitey, after smoking too much weed. It’s a common sight. The incorrect assumption is that Dutch locals smoke cannabis constantly due to the fact that it is accepted, but as is often the case, the legality of it normalizes it and thus makes it less common.

Or, for those that enjoy recreational substances, they do so respectfully and privately without causing a commotion. Amsterdam’s liberal attitude is not without its critics. Some argue that the city’s policies towards drugs and sex work contribute to social problems like addiction and exploitation. However, supporters of Amsterdam’s approach argue that it allows for greater personal freedom and reduces harm by regulating these industries rather than driving them underground. But the issue lies in tourism, not the policies themselves. 

Red-Light District

The red-light district, in essence, is an incredible idea. A place where sex workers can exist, work and be protected. It is also a place for those who desire sex, to come and not feel judged either. Whatever you think about the world of prostitution, in a world where it exists, the red-light district is probably the most ideal and safe solution. However, this is not how it always runs. Amsterdam is now having to tackle the fact that much of their tourism is based around exploiting sex and drugs. The mayor of the city, Femke Halsema, has announced the idea of moving the red-light district somewhere else. Dutch news quotes her saying:

“Sex work belongs to Amsterdam and it will never go away… But the situation in the inner city is unsustainable. Livability has been under pressure for years for residents due to the stream of tourists who regularly misbehave and cause nuisance… By setting up an erotic center, we will lessen the pressure on De Wallen and at the same time create an extraordinary place where sex workers can work safely, legally and undisturbed”

The issue lies in how the red-light district ends up working. Obviously sex workers desire pay, like any other profession. However, many tourists stroll around the red-light district, gaping at the workers, acting abominably and never actually paying for sex. Beyond even the disrespect, the workers aren’t even receiving any financial gain a lot of the time. This is why Halsema wants to move the location, creating an exotic center, where the new spot would hopefully encourage visitors who want to pay for the services. However, as of yet, this idea has not been given the green-light. 

Amsterdam Cannabis Ban

This isn’t the first time the mayor has had an idea that hasn’t come to fruition. Over the last few years, the idea of banning tourists from coffeeshops has also been floated. Whilst these ideas may not have materialized, what it shows is that those who care and live in Amsterdam want a change in how tourists are existing there. The issue, of course, is how much money tourism brings in. Nonetheless, after much uncertainty, there seems to be some concrete change right around the corner. The Guardian announces that Amsterdam is to: “outlaw cannabis-smoking in the red-light district streets”. It reads:

“Smoking cannabis on the street in Amsterdam’s red light district will soon be illegal, the city council has announced, as part of a range of bylaws designed to deter tourist excesses and make life more bearable for despairing local people.”

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This cannabis ban will not only be within the red-light district, there will also be a ban of any weed smoking in the entirety of the inner city of Amsterdam starting mid-May. Other changes are also included. Sex workers will now have to shut at 3am, rather than 6. Restaurants will also be forced to close earlier at 2am, rather than 2 on weekdays. On weekends this will be 3am instead of 4. In regards to drinking, shops within the inner city will have to remove alcohol from their windows anytime that it’s illegal for them to sell it (which is now anytime after 4pm, Thursday-Sunday). The city where anything is possible – has now begun closing its doors. 

The Positives

Whilst some may look upon this news with disappointment, the cannabis ban truly a necessary decision and – in many ways – a positive one for Amsterdam. Ever heard the phrase: ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it’. For too long, tourists have taken advantage of Amsterdam’s uniqueness and turned it sour. Openness, freedom and acceptance should not mean irresponsibly taking recreational drugs, making too much noise, disrespecting locals and using the city as a theme park. Like Icarus, as a society we have yet again flown too close to the sun. We have turned something beautiful into something ugly.

For locals in Amsterdam, the inner city was becoming practically unlivable. Something had to change. But this change isn’t a negative one. For those tourists who still love the city for its immense and diverse attractions – the beautiful canals, the museums, the cafes, the bars – they will have no problems. The city is open and always will be for those who truly love its identity. But for those weekenders who came to Amsterdam for cheap and legal thrills – to cause havoc and leave without cleaning up after themselves – they will be deterred. Is that a bad thing? Probably not. 


Ultimately, Amsterdam’s liberal attitude is a defining feature of the city’s culture and identity. Its policies have made it a unique and fascinating place to visit, and they continue to draw people from all over the world who are interested in experiencing a different way of life. However, this tourism has caused debates over the years and has turned from curiosity to exploitation. It is no surprise that the mayor of Amsterdam has enforced a cannabis ban in the red-light district. Until tourists begin treating the city with the respect it deserves, these sorts of law changes will continue to happen. 

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What It Really Means to Be Charged with a DUI for Cannabis 

When we think of a DUI, we tend to think of people driving drunk. It makes sense, as a huge number of vehicular accidents are indeed caused by drunk drivers. But as cannabis legalization sweeps the country, the topic of getting a DUI for using cannabis while driving has become of greater interest and importance. We know that smoking weed and driving is illegal, but is it really as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a DUI? 

The terms DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI/OWI (Driving/Operating While Intoxicated), are pretty self-explanatory. It means that a person was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a mind-altering substance. Most often, these cases involve alcohol or some type of illegal substance like heroin, methamphetamine, or even cannabis. In some circumstances, even OTC medications like Nyquil and Benadryl can lead to a DUI arrest because they cause drowsiness and can negatively impact motor skills. 

While some people can handle perfectly handle driving after smoking a little bit of weed or taking some cold medication (pro tip, opt for the non-drowsy varieties), the general rule of thumb is that you should be sober and clearheaded when behind the wheel of car – and never drive after drinking alcohol or using any other heavy substance. Afterall, driving is a huge responsibility. It’s not just your own life you hold in your hands, but those of your passengers as well as other drivers and pedestrians on the road.  

That being said, an alarming number of people seem to disregard this fact and drive while intoxicated anyway. In the United States, 10% of all criminal arrests are for driving under the influence, more than all violent crimes combined. South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming lead the nation in DUI arrests, and in In Rhode Island, North Dakota, and New Hampshire, more than 40% of traffic deaths involve drunk drivers. Vehicular accidents are also the leading cause of death among young people ages 12-19 years old.  

What happens when someone is charged with a DUI is dependent on several different factors such as what substances where involved and level of intoxication, whether an accident occurred, if someone was injured and the severity of the injuries, and so on. What state you are in also plays a role, but generally speaking, if you’re involved in a simple DUI incident (one that in which illegal drugs were not present and an accident wasn’t caused), you’re still looking at heavy fines and a suspended license for your first offence.  

Cannabis and DUIs 

Although cannabis is legal in more than half of the US, and is expected to be federally legal soon as well, it’s still illegal to drive while under the influence of it. This holds true anywhere in the US, but the laws and penalties still vary from state to state. For example, some states affirm that something as simple as a positive urine test is enough to charge someone with drugged driving, despite the fact that urinalysis can detect THC in the system for up to 4 weeks after use. This is obviously problematic, especially in medical situations where a patient might have used cannabis many hours before driving and are no longer “intoxicated”. 

A small number of states take these testing limitations into consideration and prosecutors have to prove impairment, regardless of how much THC is detected in a person’s system. Examples of acceptable evidence include erratic behavior, speech patterns, or the arresting offer’s testimony that they smelled cannabis in the vehicle (but that last one also raises the question of whether police can use it as an excuse to unlawfully search someone’s car).   

A newer method used to test for cannabis impairment behind the wheel, is check for blood-THC content. In the US, this is typically measured in nanograms per milliliter of blood, but there is no general standard and each state has their own limits. Some companies are also working to develop THC breathalyzers that can be utilized in the field.  

Cannabis DUI statistics  

It’s up for debate whether cannabis intoxication even has that much of an effect on driving at all. Although driving stoned can sometimes affect reaction times and peripheral vision, people typically compensate for these shortcomings by driving more carefully. 

That being said, some people really just do not drive well after using cannabis products and they should avoid doing it. What’s nice about these situations, is that people are can’t drive stoned usually avoid doing it anyway because it’s unpleasant and causes anxiety. When it comes to accidents involving only cannabis and no other substance, there is very little statistical data indicating that it’s as unsafe as driving drunk.  

For example, a 2010 study published in the American Journal on Addictions, which compared the effects of driving on cannabis versus alcohol, researchers stated that “Epidemiological studies have been inconclusive regarding whether cannabis use causes an increased risk of accidents; in contrast, unanimity exists that alcohol use increases crash risk.” 

They did mention that the effects of driving on both, alcohol and cannabis combined (cross-faded), were more enhanced than driving on either substance alone. And of course, alcohol and driving don’t mix, all studies will tell you that. But the fact remains, the results of their research were “inconclusive” as to whether cannabis was even that much of problem for drivers or not.  

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Another, more recent, study published in 2022 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, claimed that legalization of recreational cannabis was associated with a 6.5% increase in injury crashes overall. However, the rates varied quite a bit, with some legal states reporting an 18% increase and others actually reporting up to 8% decreases in crashes. With such a wide range, it’s unlikely that cannabis has anything to do with the changes at all, and it’s likely something else (or a number of different factors) entirely. It’s also important to note that these statistics were only temporary. About 1 year post legalization, the numbers went back to normal.

Other studies even found that car accidents decreased overall in areas where cannabis was legal, and even more so near dispensary locations. In states/cities with dispensaries, insurance premiums went down by an average of $22 per year after legalization. According to the study authors, “we find premium reductions are larger in states with greater patient enrollment and in states that allow smoking.” They added that “existing legalization has reduced health expenditures related to auto accidents by almost $820 million per year with the potential for a further $350 million reduction if legalized nationally.”

Weed DUIs in the news 

With cannabis DUIs still being less charted territory from a legal standpoint, and because we know that weed doesn’t cause the same level of impairment as alcohol and other drugs, we rarely hear stories of arrests or car accidents related to cannabis use. However, some occasionally do make the headlines. The arrest of Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell in 2014 for driving under the influence of marijuana got a lot of attention. 

During a traffic stop, police found 20 grams of cannabis in his possession, and as expected, they confiscated and he was to be charged with possession of an illegal substance. Much to Bell’s surprise he also received a DUI citation for the cannabis, to which he responded “I didn’t know you could get a DUI for being high. I smoked two hours ago. I’m not high anymore. I’m perfectly fine.” As a regular cannabis user, I can safely attest to the fact that 2 hours after consumptions, I’m definitely stone-cold sober.  

Another arrest that has garnered some media attention is that of 22-year-old Isabella Herrera, who was recently arraigned for hitting and killing man on Vista, CA, freeway while “high on pot”. According to documents, at around 10:20 a.m. on February 26, Rafael Cardona was changing his tire in the center median of State Route 78 at Emerald Drive when Herrera’s car hit and killed him. Rafael was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The prosecutor said they believed the suspect was “high on marijuana”, but they did not offer any additional information as to why they believed that. Was a field sobriety test performed? Did the police find evidence of cannabis use in her vehicle? Did Herrera undergo any type of blood testing? All the articles I found about this are incredibly vague – probably intentionally so – but the fact of the matter is, a young woman is going to trial for killing someone while driving stoned, and the outcome of her trial is something we should all pay attention to.  

Final thoughts

It’s important to note that we’re not encouraging anyone to use any substance while driving. However, based on years of anecdotal evidence, as well as recent data on the subject, it’s safe to assume that weed is safer to drive on than alcohol, heroin, or pretty much any other intoxicating substance. Regardless, if you’re pulled over for some type of traffic violation and the officer believes you’ve been smoking in the car, you can still be charged with a cannabis DUI.

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Hyphai Psilocybin Cup Is 1st Magic Mushroom Competition

There are plenty of cannabis cups at this point, though perhaps the High Times Cannabis Cup is the most well-known. As mushrooms become a bigger deal, the question comes up, can they be judged in the same way? And the answer is a resounding yes!  The company Oakland Hyphae is the first organization to create the Psilocybin Cup. Read on to find out more about it.

What is a cannabis cup exactly?

A cannabis cup is a competition whereby growers can compete on different levels to essentially see who has the best bud. Different aspects are judged, like potency, flavor, smell, how it looks, benefits, and how smooth the experience. Sometimes these competitions, like the High Times Cannabis Cup, also act as a trade show and festival for weed itself; including tie dying, body painting, lectures, and other fun activities. In the past, High Times Cups have even had high-class entertainment like Wu Tang Clan or Nas.

One of the benefits of participating in these events, is that it brings a lot of attention to winners, and is associated with increasing sales for those whose buds are judged as best. It’s also how we, the public, hear about new strains, some of which go on to become household names. And at the same time, it means we learn more and more about weed and these different strains in general.

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The High Times Cannabis Cup is one of the most popular and longest running of these competitions. It was founded back in 1988, and was originally held in Amsterdam, as at that time, Amsterdam was one of the more lenient places for weed use. It has since become an industry leader in the cannabis competition field. The panel of judges identifies the top three products per each judging category (mentioned above), and the top spot wins the trophy.

The Cannabis Cup used to be more of an underground thing, when weed was still completely illegal everywhere in the US. Then it morphed into a competition for medical products only, when that avenue was opening up. And now it, and similar competitions, operate openly, and usually hold their competitions in weed friendly states.

Many different people can be judges, including unknown names. However, some of the interesting past judges for the High Times Cup, include: “Tommy Chong, Snoop Dogg, Patti Smith, Wiz Khalifa, Joe Rogan, Damian Marley, Kid Cudi, Method Man, Redman, Rita Marley, B-Real, B.O.B., Alex Grey, and the Brotherhood of Eternal Love,” among others.

The High Times Cannabis Cup might be the most prestigious and well known, but its joined by a host of others, like “The WEEDYS Awards; Best Bud, D.C. State Fair; Cultivation Classic; Sticky Icky Carolina Cup & Title Belt Asheville NC 420; Dope Cup; Emerald Cup; High Times Medical Cannabis Cup; Northwest Cannabis Classic; Oregon Cannabis Growers’ Fair; Stony Awards; and The Grow-Off. These are all US competitions, but there are plenty more held internationally as well.

What’s the Hyphae Psilocybin Cup?

Right now, though cannabis cups are all the rage, there’s a new entrant into the world of judging drugs and giving awards: magic mushrooms. Not only are they being decriminalized and legalized in different places; but their overall growth in acceptance, has led to the opening and growth of markets. And this opens the door to similar competitions, in which psilocybin mushrooms compete against each other. As of yet, there is only one in the US, the Oakland Hyphae Psilocybin Cup, hosted by Oakland Hyphae.

The founder of the competition is one cool dude, and he’s quite the entrepreneur in the mushrooms field. The guy’s name is Reggie Harris, and not only is he a seasoned veteran of political campaigns, working on everything from city councils to presidential elections, but the guy is also one of those really awesome figures who sees the problems in his own neighborhood and fights for change. In Oakland, California, Reggie worked with the Black Organizing Project in West Oakland to institute guidance counselors, instead of police, in Oakland public schools.

Psilocybin Cup judges different aspects of magic mushrooms

He’s been in the mushrooms world a while, consulting and working with large-scale cultivators. Within the past few years, he established the company Oakland Hyphae, which hosts not just the Psilocybin Cup, but a range of nationwide conferences on psychedelics as well. He also created Hyphae Labs, which is a leader in testing for mushroom potency; as well as Hyphae Nootropics, which is geared toward providing products made from non-psychedelic mushrooms. On top of all this, he’s the creator of HyphaeLeaks, a news publication which among other things, seeks to promote small businesses and legacy operators.

What does the Hyphae Psilocybin Cup judge?

So now we know a pretty cool guy, started a pretty cool competition, that acts like the many cannabis cups out there; except that its for magic mushrooms. But what exactly is the point of this competition, and what are the judges judging?

First off, this competition is (at least for now) solely about submissions of the specific magic mushrooms species Psilocybe cubensis, which is home to many popular strains. Hyphae Labs is the tester for all participants in these competitions. The lab looks at the percent of both psilocybin and psilocin in each specimen, and the percent of tryptamines as well. The results of these tests dictate some of the winners of the competition.

Awards are given in different categories, just like with cannabis cups. These include: the effects of the mushrooms, aesthetic appearance, and strength: which accounts for the balance created by both strength and overall effects. The titles given to winners include: Spiritual/Therapeutic Champion, Recreational Champion, Microdose Champion, and Bag Appeal Champion.

The very first Hyphae Psilocybin Cup was held in the spring of 2021. So far there have been four of these competitions. In both spring and fall of 2021, and both spring and fall of 2022. I unfortunately did not see information for a competition this spring (2023), but it’s quite possible the announcement is coming, or that it might be becoming a once-yearly competition. For information on the previous competitions and winners, you can look here.

As a side note, while the Amanita muscaria mushroom industry grows, it is not a part of this competition, as these mushrooms contains different compounds for which Hyphae does not currently test. Perhaps in the future this will change. For those interested in how Amanita products fair in competition, this year’s People’s Choice Hemp Cup – also put out by High Times – actually has a couple products that include Amanita mushrooms.

How does such a competition help?

Remember that part under the cannabis cups section, when I said these competitions greatly help growers in gaining publicity; as well as introducing the public to more and new strains? Well, the same applies here. Plus, as a new field, with new compounds to measure and things to consider, this competition helps bring information and awareness on the topic in general, right to the masses.

Lab testing psilocybin mushrooms
Lab testing psilocybin mushrooms

According to one of the biologists and researchers at Hyphae Labs, Ian Bollinger, its hard to know how to dose mushrooms by weight alone, which is the general strategy, regardless of strain. This competition, and the lab itself, aim to bring more specific information to users, so things like dosing per strain can be more accurate.

Much like cannabis cups expanding our general knowledge, the Psilocybin Cup works similarly. With all the hundreds of samples submit to the lab as part of the competition, the organization is able to get a much better view of the landscape of potency between different Psilocybe cubensis strains. Which means more information, and more precise purchasing and dosing strategies, for users.

Want to be a part of it?

Unfortunately, no information is posted yet for the next Hyphae Psilocybin Cup. But registration is generally announced not long before the competition is held. Anyone with a submission to make, is welcome to register and participate. Information for registration for the competition is posted on the Oakland Hyphae site. Alternatively, (since its not there yet), you can contact the company directly for further details. You may use the contact form from the website, which is here.

While registration is open to anyone, there’s less information available for the requirements that actually get a mushroom grower approved for entry. Once you’ve registered, the company will contact you with more information for submitting your product, with plenty of further information on how exactly the submission process goes.

I see no information stipulating an end to this competition, so I expect a Psilocybin Cup will be held sometime in 2023. However, as mentioned, I also see nothing specifically related to it yet. With the mushrooms industry only growing, there are sure to be more of these competitions popping up in the next few years; so interested and prospective registrants should definitely pay attention. We’ll be sure to keep you updated!


It was bound to happen. Cannabis cups are huge because cannabis is huge. And as the magic mushrooms industry grows, so does the desire for competition. Reggie Harris sure made something special with the Hyphai Psilocybin Cup; and we should all keep our eyes out for information on the next competition.

Psilocybin mushrooms
Psilocybin mushrooms

This competition is certainly one to keep track of. But with psychedelics (and hallucinogens, in general) growing in popularity, there are plenty more events to check out. In the US, here are some of the psychedelics events you definitely don’t want to miss this year. And if you’re not in America, or looking for a good reason to travel, check out these events, which happen worldwide.

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Are Cigarette Butts Recyclable?

For centuries, human beings have taken part in the habit of smoking cigarettes. In various forms people have consumed tobacco and the addictive substance of nicotine. However, with new disposable vapes causing concern for the environment, it does beg the question: are cigarette butts recyclable? The truth is, this problematic form of litter that can be found in virtually every corner of the world.

According to the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project, an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered each year, making them the most common form of litter on the planet. While there has been a growing awareness of the negative impact of cigarette butts on the environment and public health, there is still confusion about whether or not cigarette butts are recyclable. We’re going to explore this, as well as examine the potential benefits and challenges of recycling them.

What are Cigarette Butts made of?

Don’t be concerned if you don’t know what cigarettes are made out of – we’re going to go through that now. Cigarette butts are small, often overlooked pieces of litter that are composed of a combination of cellulose acetate and various chemicals. Cellulose acetate is a type of plastic that is used to create the filter found at the end of most cigarettes. This material is designed to trap some of the harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke, such as tar and carbon monoxide, before they are inhaled. That’s why anyone who smokes a cigarette without a filter is enhancing the damage it will have on the body. However, this filter material is also responsible for much of the environmental impact associated with cigarette butts. Earth Day writes:

“Cigarette butts are actually the most abundant form of plastic waste in the world, with about 4.5 trillion individual butts polluting our global environment… cigarette filters, or the plastic part of butts, can take up to 10 years to completely degrade”

Why Are Cigarette Butts a Problem?

As the quote suggests, when cigarette butts are discarded, they can take years to break down. During this time, they release harmful chemicals and microplastics into the environment. These chemicals can leach into soil and water, potentially harming wildlife and posing a risk to human health. In addition to the environmental impact, cigarette butts are also an eyesore, and their presence can contribute to a negative perception of a place. Many people assume that each part of a cigarette is recyclable, especially due to the fact that so many smokers gracefully throw them onto the floor all the time. However, this is simply not true. Why do more people not know about this? You wouldn’t throw a piece of plastic on the floor (at least most wouldn’t), so why is it so common to throw away a cigarette butt?

Recycling Cigarette Butts: Is It Possible?

While cigarette butts are made of plastic, they are not commonly recycled in most municipal recycling programs. This is due to the fact that the filter material is often contaminated with tobacco and other chemicals, which makes it difficult to separate and recycle. Additionally, the small size and lightweight nature of cigarette butts make them difficult to capture in recycling streams, and they can easily become mixed in with other forms of litter.

Despite these challenges, there are a number of initiatives aimed at recycling cigarette butts. Some companies are experimenting with new technologies that can separate and recycle the plastic and other materials found in cigarette butts. These technologies range from mechanical separation methods to chemical processes that can dissolve the filter material, leaving behind the plastic and other components for recycling. In addition to these technological solutions, there are also grassroots efforts to recycle cigarette butts.

One example is the TerraCycle Cigarette Waste Brigade, which collects and recycles cigarette butts and other tobacco products. This program has partnered with a number of companies and organizations to collect and recycle cigarette waste, and has diverted millions of cigarette butts from landfills. There was even a situation recently, in a Swedish city, where they attempted to train a mass of crows to pick up the cigarette butts for rewards. The city in particular has around 1 million butts littered every year. They believe it will save 75% of the cleaning costs. Whilst this is still a trial concept, it highlights the possibility.

The Benefits of Recycling Cigarette Butts

It is evident that we’re now facing a climate emergency on Earth. Every single possible sign is pointing towards this. Well, the fact that cigarette butts are the most common form of littering, proves why dealing with this issue is so important. Thus, the benefits of recycling cigarette butts are numerous. Let’s take a look at some of these. 

Environmental protection

As we’ve established, cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item in the world, and they can take years to decompose. Recycling cigarette butts helps prevent them from ending up in landfills, waterways, and other natural habitats, protecting the environment and wildlife. In the UK, 52% of smokers believed that throwing a cigarette butt down the drain was acceptable. This highlights the issue at hand. People are not aware of the problem, and this needs to be resolved. 1 cigarette alone is extremely toxic to water animals. 

Resource conservation

Recycling is also majorly important for re-using integral resources. Recycling cigarette butts can recover valuable materials, such as plastic and paper fibers, that can be reused in other products, reducing the need for new materials and conserving natural resources. 

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Gas emissions

By recycling cigarette butts, less waste goes to landfills, which can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and extend the life of landfills. 

Public health benefits

Cigarette butts can contain toxic chemicals that can harm the environment and human health. Recycling cigarette butts can help reduce exposure to these chemicals and improve public health. In addition, the simple aesthetic of a city or location can be improved massively by a reduction of thrown cigarette butts. 

Challenges to Recycling Cigarette Butts

Whilst this is all completely true, the simple fact is that recycling cigarette butts is not happening enough right now. But why is this? Well, recycling would seem like an obvious solution to the problem of cigarette butt litter. However, doing this can be difficult for a number of reasons.


One of the biggest challenges to recycling cigarette butts is contamination. As we’ve said, cigarette filters are made of a combination of cellulose acetate and various chemicals, including tar and other toxins. These chemicals can make the filters difficult to recycle, as they can contaminate other materials in the recycling stream. Additionally, the filters may be contaminated with the saliva and other bodily fluids of the smoker, which can pose a health risk to recycling workers.


Cigarette butts are also difficult to recycle because of their small size. They are lightweight and can easily become mixed in with other forms of litter. This can make it difficult to capture cigarette butts in recycling streams, and they can end up in landfills or the environment.

Lack of infrastructure

Another challenge to recycling cigarette butts is the lack of infrastructure. Many recycling programs are not equipped to handle cigarette butts, and they are not accepted in most municipal recycling programs. This lack of infrastructure means that cigarette butts are often not properly disposed of, and end up as litter.

Lack of awareness

Finally, there is a lack of awareness about the problem of cigarette butt litter and the potential for recycling. Many people do not realise that cigarette butts are not biodegradable and can take years to break down. They may also be unaware that recycling cigarette butts is possible. Education certainly needs to increase if we want to globally deal with the issue of cigarette butts. 


Whilst recycling cigarette butts is difficult due to a number of factors – including contamination, small size, lack of infrastructure, and lack of awareness – the environmental impact of cigarette butt litter is significant. Therefore, the efforts to recycle these items are important for reducing the amount of litter in the environment, conserving resources, and creating economic opportunities in the recycling industry. With the BinTheButt campaigning, and others like it, gaining traction, the awareness of the problem is certainly increasing. Plus, new technologies and infrastructure are being developed, so it is possible that recycling cigarette butts could become more common in the coming years. Whether it be done by flying crows or hard work, recycling cigarette butts is integral to life’s survival on Earth.

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Legal Cocaine, Amanita Pee Method, Vape Bong & Drug Cartels – The Cannadelics Sunday Edition

Welcome to The Cannadelics Sunday Edition, Cannadelics’ weekly newsletter, sent every Sunday morning 11am est with the main stories of the week. This week we look into some unusual drug activities such as legal Cocaine, Amanita pee method, vape bong, drug cartels, Amanita HHC gummies, Cannabis chocolate, DEA & FDA, hemp in Argentina and more.

Don’t forget to check the article on the Amanita Pee Method as while it is not advised, it’s alot of fun to read about… Also see why there is legal Cocaine is Canada, even they didn’t really planned that to happen… Last, the Vape Bong is a new device. What is it and what makes it so special?

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The Cannadelics Sunday Edition (3/5/2023) – CA Legal Cocaine, Amanita Pee Method, Vape Bong & Drug Cartels and more


Welcome to the Cannadelics Sunday edition, going out every Sunday with the top stories from the cannabis and psychedelics industries. This week we have a mixed bag of stories as well as a few deals from our deal-of-the-day segments.

Thanks for stopping by!


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This week we have some exciting news, starting with a story about Canada selling legal cocaine, Amanita pee method, Psychedelic products at this year’s High Times Hemp Cup, DEA clarification on cannabinoid laws, Vape bong, Drug cartels and much more!

legal cocaine:

Stepping It Up: Canada Approved Two Companies to Sell Cocaine

Canada approved legal cocaine sales for two companies in BC
Canada approved legal cocaine sales for two companies in BC

Legal Cocaine???
One of the few substances we consider when we think of drug reform is cocaine. Yet in Canada, that’s exactly what is going on, as Health Canada just announced that they have made allowances for two companies to legally sell cocaine. Yes, Cocaine, the famous white central nervous system (CNS) stimulant people use for sun. This comes after British Columbia already decriminalized hard drugs within the province, as a way of dealing with the growing opioid use, and overdose rate.

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Amanita Mushroom Products at 2023 High Times Hemp Cup

Amanita Mushroom Products at 2023 High Times Hemp Cup Kits. But no legal cocaine...
Amanita Hemp Cup products
(Screenshot from hthempcup)

The 2023 High Times Hemp Cup is introducing a new product to the competition – Amanita Hemp Cup products that contain muscimol from Amanita muscaria mushrooms, combined with popular cannabinoids. The Amanita Hemp Cup products include gummies and pre-rolled joints containing muscimol combined with HHC, Delta 8 THC, and CBD.

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The Vape Bong: Best of Both Worlds

Both bongs and vapes have become staple items in the world of cannabis. Both promote a somewhat cleaner way to consume cannabis than your average blunt or bowl out of a pipe, so it makes sense to combine the two into one super-product! The vape bong represents the best of both worlds, with most vape companies offering a bong attachment as an aftermarket product. Here’s more on how it works.

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Cannabis Chocolate: Does it Taste Like Weed?

cannabis chocolate
Cannabis Chocolate: Does it Taste Like Weed?

Although many people love both cannabis and chocolate, the flavor often leaves something to be desired, if they’re not prepared a certain way. the taste of infused treats can depend on various factors, including the quality of the product, the type of cannabis used, and the manufacturing process. In this article, we will explore these factors make for the best cannabis chocolate.

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Additional Reading:

A few more articles for your reading pleasure, such as legal cocaine in Canada, Amanita pee method, Cannabinoid laws by the DEA, Vape bong, Drug cartels and more!

DEA & FDA: The Confusion Over Legal Drugs VS Legal Products

Does DEA or FDA determine legal products? What about legal cocaine?
DEA & FDA: The Confusion Over Legal Drugs VS Legal Products

It’s been an ongoing battle, but the DEA and FDA have released statement to clarify their stance on various cannabinoids. Are hemp-derived cannabinoids that are completely or partially synthetic, legal? Are the cannabinoids that show up in nature, but are only used for production as synthetics, legal? And what about the products that are made from these compounds? Are they legal? Short answer, no. But click the link to learn more.

Continue reading »

The Amanita Pee Method: Not Advised, But Fun to Read About

Would you drink amanita reindeer pee to get high?
Would you drink amanita reindeer pee to get high?

The amanita pee method is one of the older ways to get high off amanita mushrooms. Luckily, you don’t need to drink any pee just to have an amanita experience. Even back in the same general time period, many Siberians did what you can do today: boil the mushrooms to make a tea. However, the ancient pee method is quite interesting to learn about.

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New Argentina Hemp Law Expected to Widen Domestic and Export Markets

New Argentina hemp law in place, Illegal Synthetics. What about legal Cocaine?
New Argentina Hemp Law Expected to Widen Domestic and Export Markets

With the help of activist groups like Mama Cultiva, Argentia forced its way into the medical cannabis market. Now, Argentina making even bigger moves by opening the doors for increased hemp production for both domestic and export markets. The announcement for the implementation of the Regulatory Agency for the Hemp and Medical Cannabis Industry (ARICCAME), came out on January 25th, with its first working group to start immediately.

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What is a Drug Cartel?

What is a Drug Cartel?

In the world of illegal substances, drug cartels are the kingpins. If you’ve ever heard of Pablo Escobar and his Medellin Cartel in Colombia, then you’ll have heard of these organizations. But that was then and this is now. Who are the current drug cartels to look out for? But not only that, what actually are they? We’re going to be explaining how drug cartels work, how they thrive and how they do or don’t get caught.

Continue reading »


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Keep Yourself Informed

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News from the Week:

*** Ecuador Expanded Hemp Industry to Include More Industrial Uses

*** What’s The Deal with Shoddy Vape Carts Lately?

*** Brazil: Cannabis Startup Capital of the World?

*** 2023 Farm Bill Under Construction: What to Expect For Hemp

*** Does A Medical Setting Affect Psychedelic Treatment?

*** How Legal Cannabis Affects Pharmaceutical Sales

Legal cocaine, Amanita pee method, Drug cartels – Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this week’s review. We work hard to find and verify the best products, so we may include affiliate links to support the maintenance and development of this site. 

The Cannadelics team 

*** Disclaimer: As the legality of cannabinoids and psychedelics changes between state to state, you should always check with your local authorities first.

The post Legal Cocaine, Amanita Pee Method, Vape Bong & Drug Cartels – The Cannadelics Sunday Edition appeared first on Cannadelics.

Ecuador Expanded Hemp Industry to Include More Industrial Uses

Most industrial hemp these days is produced for medical cannabis, whether for local use or to export from the country its grown in. More and more, however, we’re seeing different countries further embrace the other uses of industrial hemp, like for building materials, plastics, clothing, and so on. Ecuador recently joined in on this when it expanded its hemp cultivation and production industry, to cover more industrial uses.

Ecuador basics

Ecuador is a country in South America that borders the Pacific Ocean to its left, and Colombia and Peru to its northwest and southwest, respectively. Officially known as The Republic of Ecuador, it also includes the Galapagos Islands to its east in the Pacific, an island that became famous for its many varied birds, and Charles Darwin’s research into natural selection.

By the 15th century, most of the local indigenous groups of the area had converged into the Inca Empire, until it was colonized by Spain in the 16th century. The country declared its independence in 1820, at that time a part of Gran Colombia (a larger version of Colombia, which split off to form Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela, and parts of Peru, Brazil, and Guyana). It split from here, becoming it own sovereign nation, in 1830.

Ecuador is home to close to 18 million people, and while Spanish is the main language, it also has 13 other native languages recognized. Ecuador is considered a developing country, and relies on its farming and petroleum industries, mainly. It holds the 8th largest economy of South America, which puts it in the bottom half, though it did show high growth in the beginning of the century, and is considered an upper-middle-income country. Having said that, it struggles with extreme poverty, with numbers decreasing in the beginning of the century, just to rise to 34.60% in 2020.

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Cannabis in Ecuador

Ecuador might not be as far along as a country like Uruguay (the only Latin American country, aside from Mexico, which has legalized recreational cannabis), but it certainly has made great strides recently when it comes to cannabis; akin to other Latin American countries like Argentina, Colombia, and Costa Rica. In Ecuador, cannabis isn’t legal for recreational use, but there is a decriminalization policy that allows up to 10 grams for personal use. The 2008 Constitution of Ecuador was the first reform policy, and doesn’t stipulate drug use as a crime, but rather a health issue.

This was backed up in 2014 with the introduction of new policy by Attorney General Diego Garcia, who stated “the law allows use and does not consider it criminal, but cultivation, trafficking, and sale of little or large amounts of drugs continue to be prohibited.” He did stipulate that “according to the Constitution (article 364), we do not criminalise drug use. We consider it a health problem and not a crime.”

In 2014, new legislation passed called the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code, which updated the section on criminal offenses under the previous Law 108, which was instituted in 1991. Law 108 was noted for it harshness, with punishments up to 10 years for cannabis sales; and the ability to slap crimes together to create bigger sentences of up to 25 years. So, say, you were caught selling, you might also be prosecuted for trafficking, which could mean years more onto the sentence.

These new laws set better parameters for the distinction of specific crimes, so that punishments could more correctly fit each crime. For example, it differentiates between large-scale, and small-scale trafficking; rather than prosecuting all trafficking crimes the same way. The law also decriminalized personal cultivation of cannabis, but specifically outlawed growing any psychoactive plants for commercial use.

Then, in 2019, the Reform of the Criminal Law, was published, and went into effect in June of 2020. This included reforms like the institution of medical cannabis: “decriminalization of possession of drugs that contain cannabis or derivatives as their active ingredient for therapeutic, palliative or medicinal ends, or for the practice of alternative medicine”. It also amended the Law of Control and Prevention of the use of Drugs, to exclude “non-psychoactive or hemp cannabis from control, extended to the cannabis plant or any part of the plant, whose delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content is less than 1%.”

Ecuador’s National Assembly passed the medical cannabis bill with a vote of 82 to 23 (with 23 abstentions). Then President Lenín Moreno had a month to veto the voted-in action, but did not, allowing these measures to pass into law. Together, these reforms regulate cannabis and derivatives for legal medical use. The law gave the Ministry of Agriculture up to 120 days to come up with regulations for the cultivation, importation, production, sale, and export of industrial hemp.

Hemp regulation in Ecuador

Ecuador and industrial hemp cultivation now

Ecuador’s hemp market kicked off in 2022 when it was announced AYA Natural and Medical Products became the first company to gain GMP certification to begin production. That was in March, nearly a year ago. Since then, the country has continued to catapult itself into the industrial hemp global market. However, recently, it made some interesting updates.

Reported in early 2023, the Ecuadorian government approved an initiative between two private companies (Green and Growth, Quito; and Nobis Holding de Inversiones) and the Latin-American organization Industrial Hemp Association (LAIHA). As a group, the three will grow between 100 to 1,000 hectares of hemp in Ecuador, at an expense of approximately $25 million, going up to $50 million, starting in 2025.

Executive Director of Green and Growth, Jaime Gómez, stated: “Among the main objectives of this initiative is to position the country as one of the economies that join the global commitment to the production of sustainable materials and resources,” and that it “will generate hundreds of jobs.”

What’s the difference between this, and what is already cultivated outside the program? Aside from this, pretty much all flower has been grown for export in a medical market. This new partnership is meant to grow hemp for fiber and grain production, to be used in “high-grade materials, such as technical fibers, biochar and other value-added products, for export and stimulation of the national market,” according to the group.

Ecuador sure jumped into the world of hemp quickly. Information released by the Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investment and Fisheries last year, stated that up until October, 2022, there were already over 150 cannabis products on the market; all in line with regulation through the National Agency for Health Regulation, Control and Surveillance. Of the more than 150 products, 56% were for cosmetics, 25% for medicinal use, and 19% for food products. As of December 2022, according to the National Registry of Hemp Licensees of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, 169 licenses were given out.

What else is Ecuador up to in the world of hemp?

This year from February 9-11, Ecuador hosted the Fourth Meeting of Expert Professionals in Phytocannabinoids, put on by Cannamerica. It happened at the Universidad de las Américas campus UDLA Park, in the capital city of Quito. These meetings are in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, regarding areas such as health and related issues, education, general industry, and innovation and infrastructure.

Convention speaker
Convention speaker

For its part, Cannamerica is an international organization that works to establish connections between companies and associations within the industry, with a focus on access and use of medical cannabis. Previous meetings were held in Peru, Chile and Argentina. The event had approximately 50 exhibitors from different countries, who represent expertise in clinical use, as well as research, and the industry in general.

The meeting showcased varied professionals within the field of cannabis. This included Eliana Eberle, the Undersecretariat for Productive Innovation Projects for the Ministry of Production, Science and Technology, who presented an agronomic model of cannabis cultivation for climatic conditions like winter; and the provincial Ministry of Health, which expounded on results for the very first survey about medical cannabis, which was administered to health teams.


As of right now, there are no specific plans for a recreational legalization in Ecuador, but it wouldn’t be surprising if one came up soon. For now, Ecuador maintains as one of the more forward-thinking countries when it does come to cannabis, with an eye on expanding its industrial hemp market even further.

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