Reefer Madness Is Back
Plus: Farm Bill updates & high housewives.
Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Time to read: About 6 minutes. Contains 1,201 words.
A little late today, but a shocking story caught my eye last night and changed the trajectory of today’s newsletter. Before we get to the news, I wanted to make an all-call for Valentine’s Day happenings. Is your brand doing something special? Do you have tickets to a weed-centric something in the coming weeks? Tell me about it! I think the romantic side of cannabis has a lot of potential for IRL activations, and I’m always curious.
This Friday, the monthly audio dispatch will feature a conversation about all things content with Olivia Alexander, the founder of Kush Queen. Known for many years for CBD bath bombs, the brand has expanded to include THC gummies and THCA flower. Through it all, Alexander has played a highly visible role in the marketing and has been an outspoken presence in the cannabis community in general. Being the face of one’s own brand certainly has cost-effective benefits, but I’ve often wondered about that double-edged sword of your company relying on you to produce content. I reached out to her to learn how she navigates this public persona and the pros, cons, time management, and personal boundaries therein. Sign up as a paid subscriber to catch this candid, unedited, and invaluable interview for founders and entrepreneurs.
One-Hitters: Cannabis News at a Glance
Peak cannabis psychosis paranoia. It’s been a tough month of headlines for cannabis. From Dr. Drew to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, seemingly every mainstream media outlet ran a recent story on the rise of cannabis-related psychosis and the dangers of cannabis in general. Many are referencing the higher potency products and the subsequent rise in weed-related visits to emergency rooms, as well as a study that shows a 47% higher chance of a person developing schizophrenia or bipolar disorder after one “psychotic episode.” Cannabis is a known risk factor for schizophrenia; however, to be clear, the notion of “cannabis psychosis” isn’t a concrete thing. We haven’t actually reached a point in medical science where we fully understand the connection. But it does happen, for some reason—about 2.7 in 10,000—and it’s in our best interest to acknowledge that, learn more about it, and not avoid conversations about it. I know it’s not easy or fun to do so, but the less we have mature, balanced conversations about it, the more sensational and uninformed the conversation gets.
Psychotic case in point: Last week, a California woman claimed cannabis-related psychosis and successfully avoided jail time for committing a disturbingly violent murder. Based on the limited understanding of these kinds of episodes (and my layperson’s analysis), psychotic episodes could mean cannabis is triggering latent issues. By that logic, I think this woman should probably be committed. But because the members of the jury likely hadn’t been exposed to more than the fearmongering headlines of late, they put the bulk of the blame on the devil’s lettuce and let this woman off with a mere two years probation and 100 hours of community service.
It’s all science, good and bad. Like everything we put into our bodies, cannabis has drawbacks. (You can die from too much water, after all.) That doesn’t negate its profound and ever-expanding medical potential. Evidence of its antiproliferative effect on tumors is compounding. I’ve been talking to everyone about the testimonials from researchers studying the success of cannabis in treating dementia in Sanjay Gupta’s “Senior Moment” weed special, and I’m quite moved by the meaningful comments on this post about a study published in the Journal of Endometriosis and Uterine Disorders on the efficacy of a cannabidiol-infused tampon for the relief of pain during the menstrual cycle. This whole rescheduling hubbub is happening because government agencies are officially admitting this plant has the potential to do good without a high risk of abuse. For real change and normalization, we have to get real about all of this plant’s scientific truths.
Speaking of Reefer Madness. I dove into the origins of cannabis stigma and why it remains so hard to beat for Blunt Skincare’s blog.
Either way, smoking’s still cool. Polyester Zine explored the enduring allure of the act of smoking for younger generations, despite their heightened awareness for health and wellbeing.
The Justice Department strikes down the commerce clause lawsuit. The Biden administration is putting the kibosh on the Boies Schiller lawsuit—the one challenging federal criminal prohibition of interstate commerce—in the name of pending rescheduling changes. Perhaps that implies they assume rescheduling will happen?
Garden State consumption lounges coming soon. New Jersey released rules for cannabis consumption lounges, and while they won’t be allowed to sell food, patrons may bring their own food into the cannabis consumption area or have food delivered there. Lounges will have to be attached to licensed retailers, but medical patients can bring in product from home if they like.
Voters writing weed laws in Minnesota. Minnesota regulators are casting the widest net possible for input that will inform the state’s cannabis rules via a series of staggered surveys. A questionnaire asking how to create a fair licensing system for people referred to as "social equity applicants"—those who were harmed by the war on drugs—just completed, and the next is themed around lab testing and edible products standards. After that, a survey on medical cannabis and the patient registry program will run February 12–26.
Even Berner’s been burned. During an interview with Black Cannabis Magazine, Berner said he hasn’t seen significant profits from his cannabis endeavors yet. Although he feels like a corporate behemoth on the West Coast, it was a reminder that Cookies is nowhere near a Cresco or Trulieve in regards to scale or dominance in the grand scheme of things.
Farm Bill limbo. POLITICO published an update on the pending refresh to the influential legislation that made the current hemp-derived cannabinoid industry possible, but it doesn’t sound like much movement is at hand. Currently, the discussion seems hung up on crop insurance.
A weed chef mixed up in Real Housewife drama. Chris Sayegh of The Herbal Chef fired back at Denise Richards after she suggested irresponsible dosing during the infused dinner featured in the most recent season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I understand his frustrations, but did he really expect otherwise from a show fueled by constant overreactions?
All that jazz. I’ve recently discovered the wonders of Jazz Dispensary, a “one-stop cornucopia of mind-expanding, high-grade selections drawn from the finest sources” in jazz music from the 1960s and 1970s. Alongside thoughtful reissues of vinyl classics, they have some of the best weed-themed merch I’ve ever seen.
Order Green Scenes today! Presales for my upcoming book, Green Scenes: A Guide to Legal Cannabis Destinations and Experiences Across the US, have officially kicked off! You can preorder here. I’m not wild about pushing people to do it on Amazon, but apparently, these presales drive indie booksellers to stock the title when it launches on March 12. If you’re a retailer interested in stocking the book, let me know, and I can get you in touch with people to talk wholesale orders.
Gratefully & fragrantly yours,