Anthony Néron’s Hemp Revolution

Most teenagers haven’t decided what they want to do with their lives. And if they have, it’s likely that their aspirations will morph and change as doors open and close, as youthful idealism makes way for pragmatic considerations.

But as a teenager, Anthony Néron already had a plan: “I knew very early on that hemp was an answer for environmental, social and economic crisis,” he says. “It truly was my intention to bring my contribution to make this world a better place.”

And so, Néron started a hemp clothing line at 18 years old, learning the clothing design trade and honing his sewing skills. For two years, he toiled at the sewing machine, crafting hemp clothes that he hoped could bring a revolution of sorts, until his big dreams crumbled under more practical realizations.

“Clothing from China was way too cheap for me to [compete with],” he explains. “I couldn’t make a living out of it.”

Anthony Néron feels the wall to properly place billions of grains of sand, carve the corners and polish the entire surface with a river pebble until the wall becomes a solid and impervious stone.

But as fate would have it, a new door was opening for him: Néron received an invitation to visit the first hempcrete house in Quebec. He became a helper on the site and developed relationships with the craftsmen. He followed them along to other job sites and apprenticed for four years.

It was a natural fit. His mother was a designer and would often bring him along on projects, giving him small jobs on construction sites. And after learning the ins and outs of hempcrete construction, he was ready to strike out on his own with his vision: Art Du Chanvre.

After working on many hempcrete job sites, Néron saw a need for a different kind of look. Most houses he worked on were out in rural areas and had a rustic vibe. “It was not for everyone,” he said. With his Quebec-Canada based Art Du Chanvre (which translates to Art of Hemp), Néron combines hemp and lime construction with a more refined and minimalist aesthetic.

“My goal was to make something very universal,” he said. “It was my intention to bring hempcrete into contemporary design. I never gave up on my dream on making hemp a solution for everyone.”

Art Du Chanvre believes choosing to build with healthy ingredients and surrounding yourself with materials that respect the environment is a way of caring for the future.

It’s clear that Néron is focused on the plant’s revolutionary properties, and for good reason. Hempcrete offers a wide variety of benefits compared to traditional building materials. It’s fire- and vermin-resistant. It keeps interiors cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s simultaneously airtight yet breathable, making it virtually immune to mold and other humidity-related problems. So why aren’t all homes built with hempcrete?

Right now, it costs about 10 percent more to build a house out of hempcrete compared to traditional materials. However, that cost is expected to drop as more people adopt the material, and more people likely will switch to hempcrete with the realization they can save money in the long run on energy costs while getting a structure that will last centuries.

“People are kind of afraid of change,” says Néron. But he hopes that his clean and modern constructions will help bring hemp to a broader audience. With Art Du Chanvre, Néron prefers to focus on beautiful lines and textures, while using whites and grays to create a canvas for eccentric furniture, colorful décor and elegant art.

Natural materials — lime, hemp and clay — are loaded into a van.

There’s also the issue of education – many are simply unaware of the material. Néron says a significant part of his job is teaching others about hempcrete, so he travels frequently to speak at various conferences.

“Construction can literally lead a revolution,” says Néron. “If we’re using hemp and making buildings, we’re not just stopping pollution – we’re also cleaning the earth.” Hemp captures carbon at it grows, while releasing oxygen, and can also help remove heavy metals and toxins from soil. Meanwhile, traditional construction materials that hemp oil can replace are petroleum byproducts such as floor wax, caulking material and house paint.

“You have the petroleum industry in the construction industry and they have too much power,” says Néron – citing yet another challenge he runs up against in his hemp revolution.

Anthony Néron holds a tool used to work with hempcrete – a medium that can keep interiors warm in winter months and also cool during hotter seasons.

The good news is that hempcrete is catching on. Néron says he is seeing more and more interest, especially in the United States. “The most receptive and open-minded people are the Americans,” he says. “I have more and more calls from the U.S.”

And while hemp and psychoactive marijuana are two very different plants, the liberalization of cannabis laws are propelling both forward. “[Legalization] opens a lot of doors. People are going to stop considering cannabis and hemp as a drug,” says Néron. “It really is a good thing and we have beautiful years ahead of us.”

Originally published in print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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‘Dirt Is Inert, Soil Is Alive’

It’s a dreary late-November day at Alter Farms and Cody Alter is ecstatic. No, not because of the 3,000 plus cannabis trees he and the crew were able to tackle before the rains came. Nor was it the fresh batch of seeds they collected from hand-pollinated varietals. For Alter, the excitement is in the soil.

“We planted our cover crop a little late but it sprouted and by spring these rows will be knee high in vegetation,” Alter says. “We are constantly growing something in our soil, the continuous growth maintains the microbial communities.”

I lean down and stick my hand into the soft earth, layered loosely with decomposing leaf matter and speckled with the tiny seedlings.

“This is some nice looking dirt,” I say.

From the look on Alter’s face, I can tell I’ve said something silly.

“Dirt is inert, soil is alive,” he responds with a grin.

Cody Alter examines the soil. Alter Farms sends soil samples in for regular testing to ensure it contains the right mineral balance for optimal plant growth.

This is my second trip to the licensed recreational cannabis producer outside Grants Pass, Oregon. I had visited earlier in the fall with my wife, a mycologist, who was tasked to sample root tips on the farm for fungal diversity. During that visit, we were blown away by the size and consistency of their acre of canopy, packed with vibrant bushes of colorful colas and buzzing with biodiversity. I had to ask what they fed their plants.

Alter replied proudly with their farm’s motto: “sun, water and soil.”

In an industry fueled by bottled liquid nutrients and heavy chemical fertilizers, it is a rarity to see low-input organic cannabis farming, especially at scale.

A few months later, I returned to the farm to learn some tricks-of-the-trade from Alter and his co-founders, Jason Rambo and Jodi Haines. None of the three 30-somethings match my stereotypical expectations of an organic farmer and neither does their jargon.

Rambo and Haines say they bought the property about three years prior. The grounds are neatly kempt and sprouting garden beds dominate the main field, while two greenhouses, fruit trees and compost piles all claim smaller sections of real estate. A pasture dotted with sheep and goats occupy about a third of the land. The livestock are for meat and their waste is used for compost.

Alter Farms, as viewed from above. The outdoor farm uses cover crops and works to improve the clay soil layer that is common in their growing area by adding all-natural nutrients to the soil.

The trio attributes some of their success to the better part of a decade they’ve spent growing cannabis together. According to Alter, sustainable farming practices have always been a priority. As far as pulling off this season’s massive field of flower with minimal inputs, they say it’s not so simple.

“I’ve done side-by-side comparisons with plants grown in commercial soil mixes and fed bottled chemical nutrients to others grown in a local soil with only top dressing and water,” Alter says. “I noticed a huge difference in flavor and pest resistance and, even though we aren’t able to completely quantify it yet, a more nutritionally complete flower.”

The concept of a nutritionally complete cannabis flower is entirely new to me and takes a few minutes to sink in. We know through scientific research that plants need little more than NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) to survive, but if a plant has the option of a complete diet of natural ingredients, won’t it thrive more? Akin to the difference between a greenhouse-grown tomato in a grocery store and a juicy mid-summer varietal grown at home, not all fruits are created equal. The color and shape may be the same, but I can’t shake the feeling one is better for the soul.

All of the founders agree the farm has taken plenty of labor and lots of love. For example, below their land is a common clay soil layer that growers in Southern Oregon refer to as the infamous “red clay death.” While many farmers would truck in hundreds of yards of pre-mixed peat moss, perlite and coco coir to cover the clay soil, Alter Farms took a different approach and worked to improve the clay soil itself.

ETV blooms brightly at Alter Farms.

“Everyone worries about heavy clay soils,” Alter says. “They are mineral rich, but the difficult part is making those minerals available.  We send our samples off for soil nutrient analysis every season and add what we need to allow our plants to uptake what is here.”

It’s only been a few weeks since Alter Farms finished harvesting, and the rows have already been tilled, amended, broad forked, planted with a cover crop and layered with locally collected leaf material.

I ask how much topsoil, sand, pumice or perlite they brought in initially to mix with the clay, and again, I feel as if I’ve said something silly. Their list of soil additives is incredibly short. However, they do admit, almost with shame, that before their first season they had enough forest humus trucked in to cover their rows with about a half-inch of material. Over the last two seasons, they’ve started building their own.

“Our cover crop is a mix of vetch, peas, cereal grains, a couple different mustards and a type of rye that, when we till it in the spring, has a fumigant effect that drives away pathogenic fungi and root-feeding nematodes and symphylans,” Alter says.

He explains that without tilling, the perennial grasses would take over the farm’s garden beds. The cover crop keeps the weeds at bay, adds biomass and restores nitrogen to the soil. In the spring, they till again, add amendments, plant the cannabis and top-dress a few remaining nutrients. Once in the ground, the plants only drink water.

Cody Alter Farms Oregon Marijuana Cover Crops Cannabis Now

Cody Alter walks the sprouting field at Alter Farms in November. Continually growing something in the soil helps to restore nitrogen levels.

In the grey gloom of the late fall day, my mind travels back to my previous visit in the sunshine. At the ends of the beds and along fence lines, I saw brightly blooming zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers, with hummingbirds and butterflies sucking their nectar. One entire row was dedicated to herbs and brassicas and a corner of the property covered by a corn and cucurbit patch. The back of the field was dotted with fruit-bearing trees.

Alter Farms’ founders say their land provides enough to feed the crew and supply Haines’ local restaurant, Ma Mosa’s. Their theory is that the cannabis flowers bring beneficial bugs to the farm, and that having a healthy balance of many species will work to persuade any particular pest from taking over.

Even on my return trip to the farm, life is still abundant.

“Our goal is to leave the land healthier than when we arrived,” says Alter. “We are not fertilizer applicators, we are farmers, hands in our soil, and constantly working with and studying the effects of nature.”

I say my goodbyes after the tour. Back in my car, I head down the driveway and an advertisement pops on the radio for a local dispensary offering “Alter Farms Pineapple.” In a region that grows enough cannabis to feed the state and half the nation, I’m happy to hear their name stand out above the pack.

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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The Secret World of Trichomes

They’re purple, magenta, creamy white and yellow, opaque and translucent. They come in a surprising array of colors, even though the naked eye might only see sparkly white. Yes, we’re talking about trichomes, the part of the pot plant where the cannabinoids and terpenes reside, which is responsible for making frosty nugs sparkle like dank little diamonds. Seeing them up close is like peering into an alien world you never knew existed. But this is not some radical DMT trip. This is photographer Shwale’s trichome collection and it is astounding.

Macro photography has captured close-ups of cannabis trichomes for decades. But the images created by professional pot photographer Kale Worden – better known as Shwale – are stunning. He’s captured two-headed trichomes before even three-headed ones. He’s shot some that tower and then lean forward under the weight of their own bulbous heads. And he manages to capture their sparkling essence in a way that deserves high praise.

A foxtail of Silver Surfer reveals a sea of trichomes, the resinous bulbs on cannabis flowers that contain cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.

One double-headed trichome that shares the body of a purple stalk looks like some underwater alien life form you’d see on “Blue Planet,” with conjoined bulbs for eyes that are not too dissimilar from the Cookie Monster — but actually on Cookies. From pink and purple stalks with creamy heads (or glands) to bright magenta trichomes protruding from green stalks and even multiple colors on a single trichome, Shwale’s photography produces some of the most fascinating images we’ve seen.

Some of the most interesting photos in his repertoire include a creamy white trichome with burgundy racing stripes down either side that Shwale found on a Black Cherry Soda plant. One particularly eerie and mysterious shot features what appears to be a little alien trichome family, with two parents looking down lovingly on two conjoined twin trichomes. “I’ve seen a few weird things,” he says. “Once I thought I could see a skull in a gland… but that was more like cloud-gazing.”

Trichome Head Macro Photography Marijuana Cannabis Now Shwale

Over 300 photographs of a trichome on a Sunset Strip strain are stacked together to produce one image.

But the colors are far more concrete. According to Shwale, “Most trichomes start clear, then the glands turn ‘milky’ (gray), afterwards amber, [and] finally into dark red glands as time progresses. Purples, magentas and reds are actually quite common in the trichome stalks and glands of similar colored flowers. It’s actually odd if a purple plant doesn’t have a few purple trichomes.”

Inspired by Jason King’s “The Cannabible,” and having a lifelong interest in photography thanks to his professional photographer father, Shwale developed a love for cannabis and film early on.

“I would actually sneak away with my dad’s expensive camera to similarly document the various ‘dank kind’ I was smoking in high school,” he says.

Macro Photography Marijuana Bud Cannabis Now Shwale

Kruple Fantasy #1 from Farmhouse Studio.

Getting shots that are so up close and personal is no easy feat, and can take several days and many long hours to achieve. For just one shot, Shwale, who mostly sources his material in-house from Denver’s Farmhouse Studio garden, must sometimes shoot 200-300 photos over several days, then layer (or “stack”) them to get the clear and up-close end result.

As Shwale explains it, “The concept of photo stacking stems from macro photography’s short depth of focus. Simply put, macro photos allow for only a small portion of the photo to be in focus. To work around that, we move the camera’s position very slightly several times. Each time we take a photo it shows a new section of the subject in focus.”

Eternal Knot Cannabis Oil Photography Macro Shoot Cannabis Now Shwale

Shwale titled this photograph “The Eternal Knot” as a reminder that everything is connected.

And it’s just as incredibly tedious as it sounds. “Sometimes I’ll retake a shot over several days to get it right. Then we have hundreds of photos of one subject that need to be digitally stitched together, ” a process that can take anywhere from an hour up to several days. Editing the final photo adds another hour at minimum.

“Yes,” Shwale confesses. “All of that for just one image of cannabis.

But Shwale doesn’t just shoot cannabis trichomes. He’s also shot stunning trichome images from other plants, including a fuchsia trichome on a long-stem rose and striking opaque trichs with magenta heads on a hazelnut bush.

Glue Hash Rosin Cannabis Photography Cannabis Now

Hash rosin, made from the strain Glue, glistens in the studio light.

Currently, Shwale uses a Canon 6D body, “usually with the MP-E 65mm lens for extreme macros; sometimes a 100mm macro for wider cola shots.” As for flashes, he says, “The more flashes, the better.” He uses a 150-watt studio strobe and a macro twin flash. “A StackShot automated focusing rail is essential for large stacks,” he says. Finally, he employs a Manfrotto tripod for stability and says “concrete floors help with vibrations.

For the hours and hours he pours into creating just one photograph, what exactly makes it all worth it?

“A glimpse into the unseen,” Shwale says. “Today’s macro photography gives us a brand new view of the tiny world around us and the technology keeps getting better.

And so does our understanding of the cannabis plant, enhanced as it is by peering into the secret and alien world of trichomes.

Trichomes Marijuana Macro Photography Shwale Cannabis Now

Each trichome glistens in its own unique manner.

TELL US, do you know what trichomes are?

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Henna, Herb & Healing with Natasha Singh

Natasha Singh is no stranger to trauma. The henna artist and cannabis advocate, who has been rising to fame on Instagram with her incredibly ornate designs and vulnerable confessions in her captions, has witnessed a darkness that she cannot seem to shake.

“Life has led me to be the first responder to complete strangers and family members attempting or succeeding in taking their life,” Singh says. “As a result, I have suffered from anxiety and PTSD. I decided to start using cannabis and to this day, it’s the only thing that works for me and my body.”

Singh’s story is unfortunately not unique; but many people are now finding relief from a myriad of mental health conditions through the use of cannabis. What is remarkable about Singh are her efforts to not only remove mental health stigmas but also to break down cultural stigmas regarding the use of medical marijuana. Singh is from Fiji and of Indian descent, and says she has become one of the first cannabis advocates within her community.

The Los Angeles-born mother of an 18-month-old daughter recently went public with her medical cannabis use in an effort to show that there are patients of all ages, races and cultures benefiting from the plant. However, if you would have asked Singh if she thought she would be an acclaimed henna artist and cannabis activist someday, she more than likely would have laughed.

Natasha Singh says she took years to go public about her cannabis use because of conservative attitudes in the Indian American community.

In 2009, Singh tried cannabis recreationally for the first time. She immediately noticed it had a profound effect on her creative side. Simple doodles on notebook pages soon turned into elaborate drawings on her friends’ hands and feet.

“Before I started smoking, I wasn’t an artist — I never even drew,” says Singh. “In fact, I remember skipping art class in high school.”

Soon, Singh had quit her job in banking and enrolled in cosmetology school. Her talent for intricate and ornate henna tattoos (as well as lash extensions and traditional make-up) developed quickly. However, in 2010, Singh began to develop symptoms of PTSD after bearing witness to several suicides.

“While in cosmetology school, my life experiences caused my anxiety and PTSD to manifest severely, so I decided to visit a psychiatrist,” Singh says. “As a result, I was prescribed several medications to help combat these issues. After just two office visits, I knew prescription drugs were not for me; they actually worsened my condition.”

Despite the fact that Singh began consuming marijuana in 2012, it wasn’t until recently that she decided to go public with her use. She credits her hesitation to the conservative nature of Indian culture, but says that her move has since inspired others in the Indian community to learn more about the potential benefits of cannabis.

“[In late 2017,] I openly shared my cannabis experience and how I finally was brave enough to share my usage of this miracle plant with my Indian parents,” she says. “There’s a lot of stigma created around cannabis within the Indian community. Cannabis is labeled as a ‘hard drug,’ and I’m working hard every day to combat this false information.”

Today, Singh runs a henna and lash business called My Shanti Bar, which has locations in both Los Angeles and Seattle. She says she designed the bars to offer a relaxing environment with individualized beauty services available, with the goal of leaving clients refreshed and feeling their best.

“The ability to be a woman and an entrepreneur, and make other women feel amazing every day, all day long, is truly a gift that I do not take for granted,” Singh says. “I feel like cannabis not only saved my life, but in a way built it. I don’t claim to be a cannabis expert — experience is all I have to share — but I am so enlightened and encouraged that it’s gotten me this far, and if I’m able to help even one person by telling my story, I’ve done my job. Advocacy was a pure fluke, and is just my life.”

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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5 Best Practices for Cannabis Consumers

For legal states, the days of furtive alleyway exchanges of cash and dime bags, followed by an all-too-often realization that the weed was dirt – not to mention that the bag was light and the dealer had vanished like a vape puff – are finally fading fast in the rearview mirror.

Fortunately, legalization has brought with it the legitimization of commercial enterprise. As I write this, self-regulatory organizations such as the nonprofit. ASTM International, the National Association of Cannabis Businesses and the Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards (to name a few) are addressing standards and best practices for this fledgling industry. These issues include things like quality, consistency, safety, organic certification, processing, testing, labeling, packaging, ethical labor practices, security and much, much more.

While “best practices” is typically a phrase reserved for industries trying to set universal standards for doing business, I propose that we as the thoughtful cannabis-consuming public also develop a canon of our own best practices, our own personal code of conduct.

It simply makes good sense, but it also speaks to long-term success. Just as best practices from a business standpoint will improve the industry’s image and an individual company’s bottom line, so too will our sharing responsibly and being as informed as possible go a long way toward improving public perception and putting the onus on cannabis-related ventures to offer the highest-quality product possible.

Here are a few ways we all can be a positive part of this important endeavor:

1) Know Before You Buy

Ask your friendly neighborhood budtender all of the questions in your head, like how your flower was grown and what, if any, pesticides or additives were applied. Question what is known about the strain you’re considering, such as what terpenes it contains, whether it also offers CBD and at what percentages.

Also, find out what extraction process was used to concoct the edibles and concentrates you’re considering. Try to determine if the producer of these consumables knows what strains they contain, or if it’s just a mishmash. All of these things can affect your health and reactions to the product and are worth figuring out.

2) Communicate Effectively With Fellow Consumers

In the early days of legalization, some friends and I took a package of commercially made edibles on a river rafting trip. Because the label information was confusing, we all wound up ingesting about four times as much THC as we should have (or would ever want to). Needless to say, although it ended well, it was an extremely unpleasant experience of heart-racing, paranoia and lethargy that lasted for about 8 hours.

Since then, I’ve attended multiple industry parties where homemade and commercially infused products were shared widely with attendees, and the people who were sharing them weren’t disclosing the THC content or anything about what was in them. In a legal, educated era, that’s wildly inappropriate.

If you made the edibles, calculate how much THC is in them and share that information so that the people who eat your edibles know what the potential potency is and can make an informed decision about dosage and portions. This disclosure goes for flower, too. For some, THC percentages could mean the difference between a fun evening and an anxiety-ridden early departure.

3) Be a Standup Representative of the Community

Hitting a vape pen in the single-stall bathroom at Starbucks barely leaves behind a scent, but lighting up a joint or a pipe there is something else entirely. For one, the next person using the restroom might not enjoy the lingering smell, and for another, the smell could also only add fuel to the false-impression fire that people who imbibe cannabis are irresponsible.

If you long for normalization and a universal acceptance of cannabis as a regular part of our lives, treat it like the regulated and serious commodity that it is.

4) Be Proactively Involved

If you’re in a legal state, it’s a good idea to remember that the majority of people in this country — let alone the world — still don’t have access.

Be as aware as you can of what’s happening in the new era of marijuana and get as involved as possible. Find causes that are meaningful to you and jump in to help. For instance, groups such as Students for Sensible Drug Policy are always looking for knowledgeable and committed legalization advocates.

That’s just one example of the hundreds of organizations out there working to make this a better weed world. There’s bound to be one that speaks to you and could use your help right now.

5) Share Information Responsibly

Don’t mindlessly repost a story just because it has a catchy headline you agree with. Search around for corroboration of the facts and the reporting, and only give it your stamp of approval if you feel 100 percent certain that it has bona fide origins. Fake news can only hurt the cannabis community at large in the long run, so just say no to passing it along to others.

Originally published in Issue 31 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

TELL US, what are your best practices as a cannabis consumer?

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Q&A: NBA Player Al Harrington Passes the Joint

Al Harrington is no stranger to pain. After 16 seasons battling it out on the basketball court with some of the best professional athletes in the world, the former Indiana Pacer understands just how much the human body can withstand before it starts to break.

Throughout his career, Harrington endured a number of injuries, some of which threatened to bring his game to an end. But it was only after he discovered the healing benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) that his attitude toward recovery changed.

Harrington has since spun his appreciation for cannabis into an entrepreneurial slam dunk with his companies Viola Extracts and Harrington Wellness. These operations produce a variety of medical marijuana products, such as live resins and CBD cream, for both athletes and the average citizen living with chronic pain. Cannabis Now Magazine recently caught up with Harrington to discuss his dedication to the herb.

Cannabis Now Magazine: You didn’t use marijuana in your younger years. How did you get involved with the cannabis industry?

Al Harrington: I was in Colorado. Everybody was talking about the benefits of cannabis, the business of cannabis. How I got interested in it was through my grandmother. She had come to see me while I was playing for the Denver Nuggets and two days before I had been reading about how cannabis helped glaucoma. So while my grandmother was there she was telling me about how bad her eyes hurt and how she had glaucoma. So I just told her ignorantly, “I was just reading the other day that cannabis actually helps glaucoma.” And she’s like, “Boy, I’m not smoking no reefers. You better get out of my face.” So I said, “You’re taking all this medicine and you’re still in pain. At least give it a shot.” She was still like, “No!”

The next day, I had a game, and she’s sitting in my kitchen with her hands on her face. I said, “Grandma, are you sure you don’t want to give it a try? It will be between you and I. It’ll just be our secret.” So finally, I was able to convince her. We vaporized something called Vietnam Kush. I took her downstairs and I went and took my pregame nap. About hour and a half later, I went to check on her. I said, “Hey Grandma, you OK?” She was crying and she said, “I’m healed.” I mean, we were both stand in the doorway crying. At that point, I started reading up on it and seeing that it helps kids with epilepsy and even helps people that are terminally ill have a better quality of life. That how I got into cannabis.

al harrington viola wellness

PHOTO Viola Extracts

Now that you’re a part of the cannabis industry, you’ve probably sampled just about everything legal marijuana has to offer. What is your preferred method of consumption?

I’ve sampled a little bit of everything. I prefer to vape. I like vaping just because it doesn’t have that loud smell. I can actually vape right in front of the kids and not be a nuisance. From the point of maintaining my body with CBD, I like to use a lot of the creams.

If you were given five minutes alone with President Donald Trump, what would you say to inspire him to rethink his anti-pot position?

All I would talk about the entire time is research. That’s the issue. I just feel like everybody’s making comments and they have no factual information. I’ve heard so many stories from people, where I feel like cannabis has actually almost cured them. But we can’t make those types of statements. But the proof is in the pudding. The stories are real.

Do you think marijuana can benefit NBA players on the court?

I think so, man. I mean it’s not about on the court. Like I would not sit here and say that I think players should smoke weed before they go out and play in a professional basketball game. What we’re talking about is after the game. I use myself as an example. I’ve had a couple major injuries, but I’ve always had knick-knack problems. I took [anti-inflammatories] morning and night. That was the only way I could be the best that I could be at my job. Who knows what I put my body through compared to if I had used cannabis? Since my introduction to CBD, I’ve had three more surgeries. And after each, I got prescribed Vicodin and OxyContin. I promise I have not taken them. I use cannabis and I use CBD. I love that I now have that option. There are just so many beneficial things that the plant provides. That’s why I’m such a big advocate.

Al Harrington Basketball Marijuana NBA Cannabis Now

Larry Bird was one of your coaches during your time with the Pacers. If you had ever passed him a joint, would he have hit it or would he have benched you?

I think he would have hit it. Larry Bird is old school, man. All of those old school players used to smoke. I think at the time that they played, they got one drug test to start the season. And after that, they did whatever.

Have any current NBA players reached out to you for advice on medical marijuana?

Yes. But their main question is: Am I going to get in trouble for using it? Because of how much I respect my relationship with these guys, I tell them I don’t know. If I can get these guys to try it in the summertime, when they’re not on the clock, and if they see that it works, then they can start going to the NBA and saying, “Look, I tried this CBD cream. It really worked.” At the end of the day, the league has got to start taking notice.

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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