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November 30 2011

Brazil Maconha

If New York City is the "Big Apple" then Sao Paulo, or Sampa as the locals call it, should be known as "The Big Pineapple"! This notion puts a smile on a Brazilian's face because they have an expression in this culture, where if you have a thorny issue to deal with, you must; "Descascar o Abacaxi", which roughly translates to "remove the peel from the Pineapple" and as you well know that can take a sharp knife and considerable force but what you find inside is one of the sweetest and tastiest fruits on earth. The parable to this story is also that the pineapple can be tough and sharp, even intimidating on the outside - just like this city. This is the reason my crazy attorney friend, the Brazil Poker Pro, suggested the new nickname of Sao Paulo, Brazil as the "Big Pineapple".

On a recent get together with my friends here in the Big Pineapple, we took pleasure in the age old ritual of splitting up a block of Brazil Maconha. The weed was as fresh as I've seen here in Brazil, super compressed and wrapped in a special packaging that was easy to cut through. Sort of reminded me of the way good cheese is sold, with a thick outer shell. The smell was faint, a little musky but definitely that unique maconha scent, that which the deep inner mind knows instinctively, will bring satisfaction. Needless to say, the first order of the day, when splitting up a brick of maconha, is to smoke as much and as often as you care to indulge in. So, some nice reefer rolling craftsmanship was also displayed at this festive event.

In case you're wondering, the chunk of maconha in the photo as 100 grams and cost $400Reais at $4/gm (equivalent to about $238 USD), basically a standard priced deal. The convenience of buying in the block this size is the freshness, not so much the price but the habit here is to keep it in a sealed container, in a cool, dry place, without direct sunlight and it'll last for along time, depending on how chronic you are.

The photo added is in it's maximum size so that you could take a really close look at the density and the quality. For the fun of it, take a look at the little photo gallery I published here: www.reefersmoke.com/gallery/maconha/ - Also: I published another article related to Maconha in Brazil back in December 6, 2008.

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May 31 2011

April 21 2011

Happy Four-Twenty Humour

Happy 320 - happy four-twentyThe National Institute on Drug Abuse interrupts this broadcast to bring you the following misinformation about the health effects of pot. WARNING: The following information may be offensive to people who care about truth.

Q: What happens after a person smokes marijuana?

A: Within a few minutes of inhaling marijuana smoke, the user will likely feel, along with intoxication, a dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, some loss of coordination and balance, and a slower than normal reaction time. Blood vessels in the eye expand, so the user's eyes look red.

For some people, marijuana raises blood pressure slightly and can double the normal heart rate. This effect can be greater when other drugs are mixed with marijuana, but users do not always know when that happens.

As the immediate effects fade, usually after 2 to 3 hours, the user may become sleepy.

Q: How long does marijuana stay in the user's body?

A: THC in marijuana is readily absorbed by fatty tissues in various organs. Generally, traces (metabolites) of THC can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days after a smoking session. In heavy, chronic users, however, traces can sometimes be detected for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana.

Q: Can a user have a bad reaction?

A: Yes. Some users, especially those who are new to the drug or in a strange setting, may suffer acute anxiety and have paranoid thoughts. This is more likely to happen with high doses of THC. These scary feelings will fade as the drug's effects wear off.

In rare cases, a user who has taken a very high dose of the drug can have severe psychotic symptoms and need emergency medical treatment.

Other kinds of bad reactions can occur when marijuana is mixed with other drugs, such as PCP or cocaine.

Q: How is marijuana harmful?

A: Marijuana can be harmful in a number of ways, through immediate effects and through damage to health over time.

Marijuana hinders the user's short-term memory (memory for recent events), and he or she may have trouble handling complex tasks. With the use of more potent varieties of marijuana, even simple tasks can be difficult.

Because of the drug's effects on perceptions and reaction time, users could be involved in auto crashes. Drug users also may become involved in risky sexual behaviors, which could lead to the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Under the influence of marijuana, students may find it hard to study and learn. Young athletes could find their performance is off; timing, movements, and coordination are all affected by THC.

Q: What are the long-term effects of marijuana?

A: Although all of the long-term effects of marijuana use are not yet known, there are studies showing serious health concerns. For example, a group of scientists in California examined the health status of 450 daily smokers of marijuana, but not tobacco. They found that the marijuana smokers had more sick days and more doctor visits for respiratory problems and other types of illness than did a similar group who did not smoke either substance.

Findings so far show that the regular use of marijuana may play a role in cancer and problems of the immune and respiratory systems.

Cancer

It is hard to find out whether marijuana alone causes cancer, because many people who smoke marijuana also smoke cigarettes and use other drugs. Marijuana smoke contains some of the same cancer-causing compounds as tobacco, sometimes in higher concentrations. Studies show that someone who smokes five joints per day may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day.

Tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke may work together to change the tissues lining the respiratory tract. Marijuana smoking could contribute to early development of head and neck cancer in some people.

Immune system

Our immune system protects the body from many agents that cause disease. It is not certain whether marijuana damages the immune system of people. But both animal and human studies have shown that marijuana impairs the ability of T-cells in the lungs' immune system to fight off some infections.

Lungs and airways

People who smoke marijuana regularly may develop many of the same breathing problems that tobacco smokers have, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent chest colds, a heightened risk of lung infections, and a greater tendency toward obstructed airways. Marijuana smokers usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer, which increases the lungs' exposure to toxic chemicals and irritants.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Tags: Parties 420

April 15 2011

2011 Dr. Greenthumb, Tommy Chong & Snoop Dogg Spring Gathering, Powered by WeedMaps!

GUERILLA UNION PRESENTS
DR. GREENTHUMB, TOMMY CHONG AND SNOOP DOGG'S
SPRING GATHERING MUSIC FESTIVAL AND MEDICAL MARIJUANA EXPO
POWERED BY WEEDMAPS

SATURDAY, JUNE 11 AT THE NOS EVENTS CENTER IN SAN BERNARDINO, CA
TICKETS ON-SALE APRIL 9

FEATURING LIVE PERFORMANCES BY
SNOOP DOGG, CYPRESS HILL, TRAVIS BARKER with MIX MASTER MIKE,
STEPHEN MARLEY, COLLIE BUDDZ
AND MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED

SNOOP DOGG AND WEEDMAPS ANNOUNCE
OFFICIAL PARTNERSHIP WITH SPRING GATHERING

FIRST ANNUAL CANNABIS CLASSIC RECOGNIZES
EXCELLENCE IN MEDICAL MARIJUANA INDUSTRY

GUERILLA UNION IN CONJUNCTION WITH MEDICINE AND MUSIC PROJECT ANNOUNCE
SAFE AND SECURE ONSITE CONSUMPTION AREA
FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS

Guerilla Union has announced the return of the second annual Dr. Greenthumb, Tommy Chong and Snoop Dogg's SPRING GATHERING Music Festival and Medical Marijuana Expo powered by Weedmaps, taking place on Saturday, June 11 at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, CA. In 2010, SPRING GATHERING established itself as a premier lifestyle destination celebrating music and activism. The second installment will feature a powerful line-up that continues to perfectly blend the worlds of music and cannabis culture. SPRING GATHERING 2011 will feature live performances by SNOOP DOGG, CYPRESS HILL, TRAVIS BARKER WITH MIX MASTER MIKE, STEPHEN MARLEY, COLLIE BUDDZ plus more to be announced. SPRING GATHERING'S ambassadors, Dr. Greenthumb (B Real of Cypress Hill), Tommy Chong, Snoop Dogg and special guest Shelby Chong, will host the day-long festivities.

Festival organizers have also announced an exciting partnership with music artist, Snoop Dogg and technology company, WeedMaps.com, further solidifying B Real, Tommy Chong and Guerilla Union's mission to create a platform for compassion, activism and education for the entire medical marijuana community. B Real states, "We are thrilled to have Snoop Dogg join our partnership. He is an icon in music and medicine. His commitment to Spring Gathering solidifies our vision with Tommy Chong, and myself. You can count on us to bring innovative ideas that continue to shape this movement." Chang Weisberg of Guerilla Union also shares his excitement, "We have been looking for a technology partner that would make an immediate impact with our music and medicine platforms. WeedMaps' combination of web optimization, community, and content will help us power the future of this platform."

In addition to the music portion, the festival will also offer a full day of activities and attractions to further educate and drive awareness toward the ever-changing social and political landscape surrounding medical marijuana. The WeedMaps Medical Marijuana Expo @ Spring Gathering will play host to advocates, non-profit organizations, medical marijuana collectives, eco-friendly exhibitors and more. While visiting the WeedMaps MMJ Expo, fans will be treated to a full schedule of expert discussion panels, celebrity guest appearances, speakers and meet and greets. In addition to sharing hosting duties, B Real, Tommy Chong and Snoop Dogg will also participate as special guest speakers at the WeedMaps MMJ Expo.

Guerilla Union and WeedMaps have also teamed up to launch The Spring Gathering Cannabis Classic, hosted by Tommy Chong. This new platform, which will take place at SPRING GATHERING, was created for medical marijuana patients to commemorate their favorite collectives, products and strains of the season. Patients will also be able to recognize activists and artists in their communities who have helped bring integrity, compassion and progress toward marijuana reform.

Following the unprecedented and successful implementation of onsite medical marijuana consumption at the Cypress Hill SmokeOut 2010, Guerilla Union and the Medicine and Music Project have announced the first integration of onsite consumption for medical marijuana patients at SPRING GATHERING. A complete and comprehensive list of procedures and regulations for festival attendees is available online at www.springgathering.com. Festival organizers urge all attendees to carefully review all protocols and prerequisites prior to attending the festival.

The Guerilla Union ticket pre-sale, for registered Guerilla Union newsletter subscribers, will begin on Friday, April 8 from 10:00am PST- 10:00pm PST, exclusively on Ticketfly.com. Tickets will be available to the general public online via Ticketfly.com and at key retail locations starting Saturday, April 9. SPRING GATHERING will also be streaming live courtesy of B Real TV on Saturday, June 11. The live stream will feature artist performances, exclusive backstage content and artist interviews throughout the show. Fans can sign up and log on at www.breal.tv. Visit www.springgathering.com to sign up for the Guerilla Union newsletter and receive up to date information and festival announcements.

For more information:
www.springgathering.com
www.guerillaunion.com
www.weedmaps.com

Stay connected:
www.facebook.com/springgathering
www.twitter.com/springgathering
www.twitter.com/weedmaps
www.youtube.com/nugporn

April 01 2011

Strain Hunters India Expedition


From the first day I arrived in Amsterdam I heard about The King of Cannabis and then learned about the famous Strain Hunters.

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January 25 2011

Brazil Maconha

brazil_maconha.jpgIf New York City is the "Big Apple" then Sao Paulo, or Sampa as the locals call it, should be known as "The Big Pineapple"! This notion puts a smile on a Brazilian's face because they have an expression in this culture, where if you have a thorny issue to deal with, you must; "Descascar o Abacaxi", which roughly translates to "remove the peel from the Pineapple" and as you well know that can take a sharp knife and considerable force but what you find inside is one of the sweetest and tastiest fruits on earth. The parable to this story is also that the pineapple can be tough and sharp, even intimidating on the outside - just like this city. This is the reason my crazy attorney friend, the Brazil Poker Pro, suggested the new nickname of Sao Paulo, Brazil as the "Big Pineapple".

On a recent get together with my friends here in the Big Pineapple, we took pleasure in the age old ritual of splitting up a block of Brazil Maconha. The weed was as fresh as I've seen here in Brazil, super compressed and wrapped in a special packaging that was easy to cut through. Sort of reminded me of the way good cheese is sold, with a thick outer shell. The smell was faint, a little musky but definitely that unique maconha scent, that which the deep inner mind knows instinctively, will bring satisfaction. Needless to say, the first order of the day, when splitting up a brick of maconha, is to smoke as much and as often as you care to indulge in. So, some nice reefer rolling craftsmanship was also displayed at this festive event.

In case you're wondering, the chunk of maconha in the photo as 100 grams and cost $400 Reais at $4/gm (equivalent to about $238 USD), basically a standard priced deal. The convenience of buying in the block this size is the freshness, not so much the price but the habit here is to keep it in a sealed container, in a cool, dry place, without direct sunlight and it'll last for along time, depending on how chronic you are.

The photo added is in it's maximum size so that you could take a really close look at the density and the quality. For the fun of it, take a look at the little photo gallery I published here: www.reefersmoke.com/gallery/maconha/ - Also: I published another article related to Maconha in Brazil back in December 6, 2008.

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January 08 2011

The Real Gateway Drug

high_times_encyclopedia_recreational_drugs.jpgWhen I was a teenager one of my friends had a subscription to High Times Magazine and back then, as a bonus, he received "The Encyclopedia of Recreational Drugs" which we used to marvel at and brashly proclaim

"Oh such little time, and so many substance to try"
- keep in mind that we were young and reckless, LSD and cocaine was prevalent, as were magic mushrooms, speed and MDA were occasionally around and of course lot's of weed, hash and hash-oil. Personally I was not attracted to any synthetic drug. I always felt that my group were spoiled in the selection of recreational drugs available to us but mostly all we did was smoke weed and drink beer. I managed to experiment with Peyote, which intrigued me because I'd been reading Carlos Castaneda back in the 80's and then happened to meet a Dude in a pipeline construction camp, while I was working inside the Arctic Circle, who had a stash of Peyote buttons, real true mescaline, what an experience that was, I'll never forget it. Then not long after that I left Canada for Australia and traveled through South East Asia where I experimented a little with opium, and smoked more great weed. Once I arrived in Australia I discovered that there was heroine but aside from smoking a few puffs through a bic pen (tube), which was interesting, I never had the desire to inject it but I was well aware of it's effect

Over the years I've witnessed a major shift in the mindset of young people when it comes to recreational drugs. I pride myself on remaining up-to-date with the trends in our society. Hanging out with hip people all over the world, and having lived on both coasts of the USA, I've been back-stage, in the back-rooms and in the limos with the movers and shakers of popular culture. I am qualified to know a thing or two about the modern-day use of recreational drugs. The pusher today is big-pharm, the drug of choice comes in a pill, and kids know how to use a combination of these potent pharmaceuticals like a simple recipe but the gateway drug, now more than ever is alcohol. As much as things change, some things remain the same, such as an otherwise honor roll student, losing their sensibility and suffering a momentary lapse of judgement and making a stupid mistake, by putting a harmless-looking little pill in their mouth, or getting in the car with the cool kids outside the party, it always happens much, much easier, after a few drinks.

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Maybe this has been said a thousand times and stated in a thousand different ways but there is no comparison in the dangers of marijuana, compared to alcohol, so I'll try it again, and make this statement one thousand and one:

marijuana reduces the risk of danger to young people - alcohol is the true gateway drug
One of the things that prompted me to write this article was televised statements from Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske related to the release of a major study last month, by the office of National Drug Policy Control in which he talks about the rise in the number of young people admitting to smoking marijuana, which he blames on the medical marijuana movement. He is so upside down as to be out of touch with reality. And on a side note I think that he's been wrongly nick-named and Drug Czar should be changed to Drug Warlord. However, the point is that the real problem is much different than what we're told and his statement is completely bogus but Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML already identified the SPIN and sets the record straight on his blog and then again on theHill.com.

drugs_graph.gif

There were two other reasons I decided to write this piece, which has accidentally turned into a rant. One of this blogs readers asked if I could mention how out-of-control modern day pharmaceutical drug addiction has gotten, specifically how today's teenagers are getting addicted to pills and how epidemic this problem is. This particular reader is of the belief, as am I, that cannabis may actually hold the key to combating this problem. The other reason for my writing this article was for a family from a very wealthy community in South Florida, good friends, who have suffered so terribly and now recovering from having their family torn to pieces by an Oxy abuse problem with their teenage son, whom they save through intervention. I witnessed first-hand the psychological scars on the family as well as the damaged attitude of the youth, it was scary. Another friend from Las Vegas wasn't as lucky and his son crashed his BMW at high speed, taking with him his life and those of 2 passengers and left behind massive tragedy.

The last time I heard, the family from South Florida have managed to save the sanity of their son and keep the family together but they have become so convinced about the promise of marijuana in changing or at least addressing the huge problem of designer drug abuse that they've decided to sell their house in Florida and are looking to buy a Marijuana Dispensary in California and they don't even smoke weed.

December 21 2010

Teapot Party Meetup

Teapot Party on FacebookOur new leader of the 420 Army has taken up the mantle! This is the catalyst we've been waiting for, the blunder of one dumb cop, has gotten the ball rolling in what will become the movement to turn the tide in the battle to legalize marijuana. Take action now! This is an insurgency (peaceful, since we're stoners) and this is your call to duty.

Willie Nelson sparked a new political effort after his arrest for marijuana, telling CelebStoner.com, "There's a Tea Party. How about a Teapot Party?

Our motto: 'We lean a little to the left.' Tax it, regulate it, legalize it."

Now it's our chance to join together to get this Teapot Party started! We need to demand change and back candidates who want to legalize marijuana and hemp as their main issue. Get together with other Teapot supporters by joining a Meetup near you, or take action on-line by joining, and then sharing the Facebook group with your friends.

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December 16 2010

LA Confidential

 LA Confidential cannabis strainOf all the great strains I smoked in California, LA Confidential was not the best, although it was right up there, however, to me, it's often about timing (how long since harvest) and some times it's about the finish (flushing out the hydro) and always it's about the attention to detail. Have you ever noticed buds where all the trichomes are gone and there's hardly any pollen left, or just a butcher trim job? Then you know what I mean by the attention to detail. One grow-pro I met from the Bay area told me that his coveted Kush buds were manicured not twice but 3 times - now that's attention to detail.

The LA Confidential I bought didn't look quite like the sample in this photo (sadly), mine was from a weed home-delivery dude who was referred by a friend from Hollywood. So here's how it went down; this funny, scrawny little character (almost bald but with a thin little pony tail) arrives in a beat-up Japanese car, at my friends house in Beverly Hills, I waited at the gate and jumped in his car when he arrived, to avoid bringing him on the estate but also since I was going jogging anyway, and love running on Mulholland Drive but not crazy for the steep uphill incline getting there. Anyway, my delivery dude pulls over at the top and proudly hands me, what he calls, a grab bag - which was kind of cool, since it was strains I wouldn't normally have bought from the dispensary; such as AK47 (which was the best of the grab bag), Green Crack, a couple other strains and LA Confidential. The grab bag was 8 grams, an extra gram free since I was a friend of his friend, and a new potential customer (yeah, yeah, etc... So the next thing that happens, as we're smoking a sample (so I can get tuned for my run), he asks me if my friend with the mansion would like to rent it out, to shoot a porn movie around his pool - I start laughing and ask him why someone with a multi-million dollar mansion would need to rent it for shooting porn movies? he laughs back, and tells me it happens all the time. Next thing you know, he pulls out a bunch of DVD's from under the seat and tells me it just so happens that he's a porn producer, also a leading man in his own productions - Damn! how about that, delivering weed is just his side-job, and sure enough there's his smiling funny-face, grinning from the covers of his own DVD's while he's mounting some buxom wanna-be porn star, poolside at somebody's luxury California crib. I congratulate him for his entrepreneurial zeal, stash my grab-bag, kindly refuse the DVD, since I had no room in my running shorts (and didn't want to insult the dude), then hit the trail. I laughed for 5 miles as I ran, and was never sure how good the sample was, because I couldn't stop thinking about how crazy it is, to live in LA.

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December 14 2010

Reefer Leaks

Julian-Assange-WikiLeaks.jpgI just read a letter from Michael Moore called "Why I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange" and it strikes me as so accurate and important, that I feel compelled to add my two cents worth, and try to make sure more people understand his point of view. This topic is at the crux of the "War on Drugs" and may be a small step for mankind, towards truth in "why marijuana is illegal?" and a better understanding "what caused the prohibition of cannabis?".

Please don't confuse me for being a big fan of Michael Moore's, although I've enjoyed some of his work and agree with some of his ideas, I am a huge fan of his courage, for speaking his mind and saying things in public that make conservatives cringe. Michael Moore is an American patriot, in the truest sense of the word because he's put his own country ahead of his own personal security. This man is doing the world a great service by raking the muck that no-one else wants to smell, let alone touch.

This entire story reminds me of one of my favorite Ziggy Marley songs:

Be Free :
The system's got too much control,
and they don't wanna let it go
I'm a prisoner fighting to be free,
I'm breaking out of captivity

Be free, be free
to be free

Little by little, I'm losing control
as little by little my rights erode
I stop the deputy, now you know
mama don't try, you see I got to go

( Chorus )

The government's got too much control,
now is there some place that we can roll
the politics of fear and oppression is everywhere now
the law is closing in, just take what you can bring

( Chorus )

The system's got too much control,
now is there some place that we can roll
I'm a prisoner fighting to be free, the law is closing in
just take what we can bring

I'm no authority on what was released in Wiki Leaks and I'm not convinced that Julian Assange had (or has) altruistic motivations but I heard the statements from his former partner, who claims that he's carrying on with a new format called OpenLeaks.org, which will be a private membership site where news groups and the general public will be able to gain access to archives of data but in the future there won't be a massive out-pour of dirt. So to me, it seems that something really good is coming from this info-war, as it was nick-named by John Perry Barlow:

"The first serious infowar is now engaged. The field of battle is WikiLeaks. You are the troops," Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow said in a tweet reposted by WikiLeaks to its 300,000-odd followers.

Now there's someone I'm a huge fan of (ie. JPB of EFF), in many ways he's my hero and inspiration. In the year 1999 JPB agreed to become an adviser on my advisory board for Rock-n-Roll.com when I was the CEO, but only under the condition that our business be completely and 100% open source - it took me a few years to fully understand what he meant by that term (I thought, at first, he was referring to the software) and even longer to realize the significance of open source. Think about how much better the world would be if we all lived in complete open source? Would total open source end all war, including the war on drugs? Truth will set us free.
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That Dirty White Flake

cocaine_debate.jpgI never wanted to publish the word cocaine on this blog and always avoided writing about the dirty white flake but how could a modern-day story be told, honestly, and have pertinent details be omitted? How would I be able to honestly tell the story of the people I've met and the places I've been if I omitted the details about the substances they were abusing? Does that make me a bad person, or for that matter them? Would I be guilty just by association? Could Hollywood portray a story about a bachelor party, for example, without the characters carving-out lines on a mirror. How about the stereo type of the party-girl in the bathroom at the nightclub? Popular culture is filled with references to the white powder and how many movies have featured the inner-city black dude who rises and falls as the purveyor of the stinky rock? The reason these stories have been told over and over is because our culture is completely saturated with cocaine, if we were using cancer as a comparison we'd be diagnosed at level 4 and talking about the term metastasis, meaning that it's beyond malignant and moved to other parts of the body.

The worst drugs are as bad as anybody's told you. It's just a dumb trip, which I can't condemn people if they get into it, because one gets into it for one's own personal, social, emotional reasons. It's something to be avoided if one can help it. ~ John Lennon

In the past few years I've traveled to major cities on 3 continents and seen pretty much the same signs in all of them - crack-blight. The other day I saw a photo of a pregnant woman from my city, Sao Paulo, smoking crack in an area of the city called Cracklandia - see what I mean about metastasis? The poor people here can afford to smoke the rock in the ghetto but have no shoes, what's with that? Now I know I once stated that I didn't want this blog to turn into a drug war rant but last night I watched the John Lennon documentary and couldn't stop thinking about his efforts to change the way we think about peace, he definitely made a difference, even though it wasn't overnight. I think John would have loved the Internet because it enables people to work on causes in an intellectual, peaceful way, which shouldn't be entirely offensive to the masses, or attract radicals. Therefore I'm going to suggest we give peace a chance and try a new method of dealing with drug abuse, since war doesn't seem to work....

One thing I believe is that cannabis can be used to solve addiction problems, of all kinds, from all substances. The magical green herb can be especially effective to combat the dirty white flake. It's shameful how little is being spent to study this method, and yet lot's of people know it to be true. It's even more shameful how much money is spent on addiction treatment in comparison to how much is spent on eradication or law enforcement. So I guess I've had my little rant and in case you're wondering why the expression "dirty?" it's because of all the blood stains.

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December 12 2010

11:11 Awakening or 4 Aces

4 sexy acesPoker provides the perfect parables for real life, and I believe it's an ideal game of skill to master, especially for young people, as it teaches awareness, plus cause and effect of action, not to mention the beneficial power of bluffing. I've never claimed to be, or set-out to become a master of poker, instead I embarked upon a quest, many years ago, to know my customers and to become the best poker room operator I could become. Admittedly, I still have a long way to go, however during my recent trip to North America I experienced a revelation, in California and Nevada, in terms of truly understanding who poker players are, what compels them to play, where, when, and (sometimes) how. The reason I was allowed access backrooms where mere mortals dare not tread, and freely given insider information about the inner workings of multi-million dollar per day operations: my association to Reefer Poker

The people I've met and the operations I was on the inside of were truly remarkable, some of the all-time heavy-weight champions of Vegas operations opened the doors to their backrooms, for example on one visit to Vegas I found myself VIP'd to the top of the Palms Hotel in the Playboy Casino, to discuss the nuances of dealing Black Jack, with one best managers in the business. Another time I was hanging-out with the top whale hunters in Vegas, as he shared details about the high-rollers of the Hard Rock but none of this knowledge, as fascinating as it is, compared with what I learned in California about the intricacies of running a high-stakes Poker home-game, in the legal grey-zone. Before I expand on my amazing adventures in the high-stakes home-games of California, and because today is 12.12.10 (full house with aces over deuces) I want to share more personal insight about my own personal 11:11 Awakening but I promise I'll return to the juicy topic of the California poker home-game.

It's so cliché to say; that I don't believe in coincidence - or, everything happens for a reason - or how about; the people who enter our lives are there for a purpose. Sometimes though, things that happen are so obviously of profound importance that the body produces goose-bumps, or the hairs on the back of your neck and arms, stand on end. When this happens allot, all a person can do is smile, and accept that you're in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. I had known about the 11:11 prediction for several years, it was explained to me by some light-workers from the Island of Kauai, people I respected for their work on energy grids, meridians, spiritual locations and vortexes. Side-note: go to Sedona, Arizona, hike up to a vortex area for your own evaluation, then try to explain it? Even for my mind the explanation of 11:11 was related to the time/space continuum, an Aquarian age topic, somewhat like that defined by Robert Anton Wilson in Prometheus Rising. All very cool stuff, maybe a little too deep for my simple mind, even if I saw, and was gratified by the occasional occurrence by the digital time of 11:11.

What started happening to me in LA was too weird to ignore, not only was I seeing 4 aces randomly, everywhere I was going but tons of pairs and full-houses galore - like on the back of buses, on the sides of buildings, or receipts from Starbucks, for example but something even weirder started happening, as the rooms I was bagging on Priceline, which were from an inventory of over 100 possible hotels, would be either addresses with 4 aces, or once I'd check in I'd be handed the key to a room - you guessed it - on the eleventh floor. I told a couple of people about this, even showed them the proof, then we'd have a good laugh together and pass it off as amusing. Then one day I was getting my hair cut in the LA when the nice woman originally from Rosarita Beach, Mexico, a single mom of a 9 year old boy, mentioned how her son had told her that he'd been seeing 4 aces all over the place, and what was the meaning? That's when I got the really major goose bumps and she told me that my hair was standing on end - I was totally freaked out. Then, in a matter-of-fact kind of way, she says that they looked it up on Google and joined a Facebook group related to the phenomenon.

Still mystified by the frequent occurrence of the four aces, I compared the probability to a poker hand and discovered that the odds in Texas Hold'em, are 594 : 1, whereas a full house is 37.5 : 1 and a Royal Flush is 30,939 : 1 but imagine if it were happening multiple times in a game, or in every game that you played? Perhaps the point is, what you do with the cards, how you play them. I was really curious to understand why I was seeing the signs of something, what it meant and what I should do about it. Then one day I met Freddy and had my mind expanded to a new dimension but the interesting thing is that Freddy was once upon a time the most famous poker home-game operator in LA, with a legendary weekly game in a plush Penthouse near the corner of Hollywood and Vine, it lasted for years until one day Freddy decided to change his life and become a family man, plus dedicate himself to saving the world through the scientific breakthroughs in cannabis genesis knowledge.

DNA - Double HelixFreddy has 2 advanced degrees, one in chemistry and another in physics, and he's applied an immense amount of his energy towards advancing quantum theory, especially as it pertains to Einstein's theory of relativity as it related to unlocking the connections between DNA and THC - yep, super-duper deep, outside the box thinking. Freddy had some explanations for the 11:11 phenomena but he says that people first need to understand that there is sacred math in every living thing, and that we're all connected to a cosmic, universal clock, in a much more predictable way. That clock is approaching an important time, that was pre-set , as the Mayan's suggest, since the beginning of time itself. Many of Freddy's ideas are way over my head and I'm not going to attempt to share here, now but he kept on returning to one theme: light and time - asking what came first, light or thought? What is time? Freddy believes that the cannabis plant can not only help us save our world but within the genetics of weed lays the key to unlocking the mystery of how the DNA strand, found in every living thing, is nothing more than an antennae and that humans are on the cusp of a an evolution, which will enable us connect in a more powerful way, using this antenna to a much higher degree than we'd previously been able to.

From my personal stand-point, I'm still not completely sure what to think about 11:11 although I find myself very drawn towards a theory of relativity, between time and space being altered through the DNA, as my new friend Freddy attempts to explain to me but from the perspective of a person who travels much more than the average Joe, and moves around the planet amongst a far broader cross-section of the global population, and I live right at street level, in the world's second largest city - Sao Paulo, Brazil, where the wealthy fly above in personal helicopters while the poor pick through the garbage for bread crusts. I see a unique spectrum of the planet's people and I can say this, to use a poker parable: we're all in!

I get the sneaking suspicion that 11:11 represents November 11, 2011 and it's the date for a transformation of energy, from the old way to a new way. Somewhat like a last call at the bar, to get your last drink because as of 12/12/12 the bar is closed. It's really difficult to know anything about the future with certainty, except this: If we don't evolve, we perish.

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Tags: Poker poker

December 11 2010

Best Hash Bar in LA

Scoring lousy Arizona ditch weed from the Mexican escort promoters (hooker hawkers), working the crowds on Las Vegas Boulevard, with their girly photo handouts, took me about an hour, and I'm not sure it was worth the hassle but I'd just picked up a SUV/Crossover with satellite radio and GPS from a rental car company at the airport and was looking forwards to driving into the sunset on my way to California. Side-note: always make sure you have a GPS when driving in Los Angeles (unless you really know the city). The dirt weed was so mild and sad, after the massive quantities of BC Bud I'd been enjoying for the prior couple of months, and the desert temperatures so ferocious, that I was forced to grab a cold six-pack to help me make through the night. I drove straight to the sea.

paradise_cove.jpgThe Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH as it's known, is about the only safe place I know-of where a person can sleep in a car in Southern California, but also I had a lunch meeting scheduled for a swank seaside restaurant called Geoffrey's, so it just made sense to drive directly to Malibu, then pass-out in the back of the SUV, since I'd been awake for about 36 hours at that point. It was nice to awake to the smell and the sounds of the beach, so I drove until I found Paradise Cove (see photo) and went for a big run along the shore, under the houses of the rich and famous, then had a nice shower and got cleaned up for my first big meeting. The scene was right out of a movie but I'd cased the place that morning and was completely prepared, so the luncheon went down like it was rehearsed. I left Malibu with an invite to come back to what turned out to be the coolest poker room I'd ever seen (up until that day), feeling confident, based on the extensive conversation, that funding for Reefer Poker was imminent.

The drive from Malibu to LA is one my favorites and one that I was to make a few dozen times, in both directions, in no less than a dozen different cars. My trick for getting great cars on the cheap, is to use Priceline and bid on full-size cars by the week, for pick-up at the airport late in the evenings, when you know most of the business users are dropping cars off to fly back east, then upgrade to better rides. Same for cheap hotel rooms, you can nab 4 star rooms for $60 per night at LAX if you know when to bid on them, same with rooms in downtown, it's all a matter of knowing how many nights, what to bid and for what nights. Forget about Hollywood or Beverly Hills using Priceline, beside with a nice new Camaro, Challenger, Mustang, or Corvette who cares about the extra drive time, as long as you land a good deal on a 4 star room and a great car for $25 per day. So I'd use hotel rooms a couple nights per week, hang-out all night at poker home-games a couple nights per week, then drive back to Vegas for the $50/night Vegas Hilton (or similar), stay there a few nights, lurking the poker rooms and meeting with people at the Bellagio, then drive back to LA at attend more poker home-games in Beverly Hills, Malibu and other cool cribs.

medical-kush-beach-club.jpgVenice Beach is was my next stop after Malibu, on my first day in California, straight to Dr. Kush, the examination and medical marijuana licensing process took about 30 minutes and cost about $125, or the equivalent of a good quarter oz. of bud, however the benefits of Kush Beach Club membership, as they say on MasterCard, was priceless. The dispensary is on the second floor and looks directly on to muscle beach, where on any given day there's a small platoon of ripped, buffed, and/or swollen body builders, pumping away on the iron, under the hot California sun, right on the edge of the sand. We can see them but they can't see us through the one-way glass, which is good because they'd be as disgusted in what we were doing, as we were disgusted in what they were doing - at least our abuse is of an herb and not a chemical, and in all fairness, some of the dudes using the weights on muscle-beach were not exaggerated from anything other than discipline and hard work but others were almost comic.


The big space is split in half, with the dispensary on one side and the hash bar on the other. I'd always score my stash first before hitting the best hash bar in LA. There was almost always a short line-up, which provides enough time to make your selection from the substantial menu displayed on a huge flat-screen monitor, the strains, quantity and price are listed in columns, and categories added to make choosing your gear a little easier. Every strain has an associated number and many people just ask for the strain by the number, often people ask to see several varietals and inspect each with a sniff test before they make their decision. I realized that the cute girls working behind the bullet-proof glass knew more about what was what than anyone else, so I'd just ask; "what's the freshest, most popular Indica hybrid that people are raving about?" which was how I stumbled upon the deadly Kushinator. On a couple of occasions I met and got to talking to other customers while waiting in line, and then get together later over a bowl in the hash bar. The entire experience of buying weed (with my credit card) in a professional, regulated, and secure environment, was extremely righteous for me, and I found the atmosphere to be really relaxed and peaceful.

The hash bar is through a partition of the big space, the scene is very hip once you cross through the door into the hash bar, both rooms have comfy couches by the window, overlooking muscle beach, but what sets this experience apart is that immediately you notice they you're in a bar, the actual bar of which is made of laminated wood like an old long-board surf board the runs the entire length of the room and wraps around at the end by the window to form a really nice lounge area. In this area, at the end of the bar, there are soft, low, leather couches against the glass looking out on the beach. The décor is simple rock 'n roll style, the music is usually not over-bearing but it's the vibe of the place that's hip.

I'll never forget my first time getting high at the Has Bar, as I was all alone at first (which never happened again) with this cute Asian girl as my bud-tender, she asked me if I wanted an "ice-coil" and of course I said yes, since I didn't know what she was talking about, then I realized I only recognized a couple of things on the flat-screen monitor (menu) Kief and Alaska Thunder-fuck, under that was "Dragon" for $8, so that was my choice to smoke through an ice-coil, whatever that was. Next the bud-tender sets-up an immaculately cleaned bong base of clear glass, with clean water, then she brings the ice-coil from the freezer and stacks it on the bong base and begins to assemble the glass stem with spotless bowl, loaded-up with my choice of gear. Once the bong is assembled and I've finished inspecting the product, she asks me if I'm ready, I give her the nod, she pulls-out a butane torch and begins heating a glass rod until it's pink, then gives me the nod, so I settle-in over the bong mouth-piece, and as soon as the red-hot rod hits the bud pollen, I begin to slowly inhale. I can see the smoke curling around the glass coils and then wham - Houston we have lift-off, as I suck the Dragon into my lungs.

The leather couches are necessary when smoking from an ice-coil because after of each of the 3 mega bong-hits, I'd fall back into the plush leather and try to hold-on to the smoke without coughing. If you cough once, you're doomed on each subsequent bong-hit but the other benefit is to just lay there listening to the music and staring out past the muscle-heads at the blazing hot beach. After the third and final hit I'd linger awhile in the lounge until I'd groove on, then adorn the shades and walk out onto the busy boardwalk of Venice Beach and off to face the rest of my day, with a giant buzz on.

Not that I needed to use the on-board GPS to get back to Venice Beach but since it was the first place I programmed in to the computer, in the first car I rented and every car after that, I found myself pushing that destination on the GPS a couple of times per week, from different places in the LA basin, even if there were dozens of other dispensaries that I'd be driving by to get there. Also, I shout-out has to go to my friends at WeedMaps.com for providing an outstanding service, that save my sanity in parts of Northern California when I started running low. And another side note - during the license application process the good Doctor asked me if I ever suffer from anxiety - I answered: only when I run out of weed. No wonder I love California....

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The 2010 Emerald Cup

emerald_cup.jpgIf there was one place I'd rather be than Brazil this weekend, it'd be in Mendocino County, California for the 7th Annual - Medical Marijuana Emerald Cup because what makes this particular growers contest special, aside from where it is (ie. The birthplace of modern day cannabis cultivation), is that it the world's only "Outdoor Organic", Medical Marijuana Cannabis Cup. Btw: side note: I'll plainly state what I'm sure many others are thinking - can't we please drop the "medical" term from our lexicon when it pertains to growing, as the majority of us, even licensed smokers, love great weed for recreational purposes and the Emerald Triangle because of that reason. Yes, I understand the political correctness, but hey, just saying it....

As I post this the party is well under-way. So if you're reading this and anywhere within driving distance, have a car and little spare dough, then roll-up and roll-out - here's the details:

7TH Annual 2010 - Medical Marijuana Emerald Cup

It's Going to be BIGGER and BETTER than EVER......

Portion of proceeds to benefit Mendocino County Aids/Viral Hepatitis Network (MCAVHN).
Emceed by MC Marv (By The Way).
This is an Alcohol-free Event!

FRIDAY MOUNTAIN PARTY:
WHEN: Saturday, December 11, 2010
Gates Open At 2 pm • Music Starts At 4:20
Music Goes til 11pm

WHERE: Area 101
54895 N. Highway 101
Laytonville, CA 95454

2010 Mountain Party, part of the 2010 Emerald Cup Awards: Lukas Nelson for ONLY $20!!
Get ready for some affordable down home Emerald Triangle Entertainment this Friday Night at Area 101 in Laytonville, as Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real along with the Reflectables, and the Dirt Floor Band perform for this years 2010 7th Annuaal Emerald Cup "Mountain Party" In the tent we're going to have DJ's Goz, Chill'Alien & Moon Juice dropping the beats.

The Entertainment won't stop here, there is also free food with admission served up in a "family style" meal, there will also be a screening of the New Emerald Triangle Filmed movie - "Cash Crop".

The gates open at 2:00 with music starting a...t 4:20, there will an awesome home cooked family meal served at 6:00, this is the event of December, you won't want to miss, the Mountain Party will be followed up on Saturday with the Beginning of "The Emerald Cup", the world's ONLY, OUTDOOR, ORGANIC, Medical Cannabis Cup!

SATURDAY THE EMERALD CUP AWARDS AND EVENT:
WHEN: Saturday, December 11, 2010
Gates Open At 2 pm • Music Starts At 4:20
Music Goes All Night

INFORMATION: (707) 843-0375
FAX: (888) 386-5051
WEBSITE: www.area101.org
http://www.theemeraldcup.com
TICKETS: $80 ON SALE NOW!
VISIT THE WEBSITE TO BUY ONLINE! or $100 at the door

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December 10 2010

Fear and Loathing of the Border

aaday-aka-reefersmoke.jpg

You may ask yourself why I wouldn't be blogging about this great adventure, while I was in it? And what protecting my innocence has to do with anything? Well, here's my story; I'm the fool that registered the Domain ReeferPoker.com which was seized by the Governor of Kentucky along with 140 other poker related Domains in September 2008, in a bogus attempt to extort money from online gambling website operators. (Side note - the Gov lost his job in the mid-term elections). Also, I'm about the only person that I know who refuses to adopt a false online identity to use while working in the online gaming biz, and I've been involved, as a Canadian citizen, in the gaming industry, in one capacity or another, since it's inception. My first project was in Curacao in 1995, where I met my Brazilian wife, which subsequently brought me to Brazil. Anyway, the point is, that every time I cross the border into the USA I'm sent to what is known as; secondary inspection - feels more like purgatory.

The reason I always get sent to secondary inspection when crossing into the U.S. is because I have a waiver, as a result of a possession of marijuana charge from 1979, which was conditionally discharged in Canada (dismissed on a plea bargain, since it was a reefer), however due to zero tolerance in the U.S., I was denied entry in 1995 and forced to apply for a legal waiver, which took 6 months and cost several thousand dollars to obtain. Since then every time I cross the border I'm stuck waiting and sweating in a purgatory holding area, until the Homeland Security Officers double-check my clearance on those massive databases they access, then let me cross over. These are times of great anxiety for me because I never know when the words "come with us Mr. Smoke" will send me on my way to Guantanamo Bay, without habeas corpus.

If you can imagine, it's very difficult to travel to Canada from Brazil without going through USA, so a couple of times of year I find myself in this state of Patriot Law fear. I consider the permission to travel to America a privilege, not a right, and therefore I covet my travel documents like they were the keys to the kingdom but it says right on my waiver documents that my clearance is determined by the officer on the occasion of each entry and the waiver is null and void if I break any laws. In other words: if my name is anywhere in any of those databases, my travel plans will be significantly altered, then and there. Other gaming site operators have been detained for years, so I never know if I'll get the stamp on the passport or the cuffs on my wrists but to date Reefer Poker has flown under the radar. That is all about to change....

Maybe even writing this blog post will someday put an end to my vision of building an online community for people who enjoy smoking weed while they play poker. Oh well, I made my bed etc... and the truth is; that I feel that part of my purpose in life is to try to make people see the hypocrisy in any government attempting to prohibit citizens from enjoying harmless fun, while inside their own homes. The Canadian government really needs a reality check too, as they completely profit from online gambling and licensing of medical marijuana but continue to enforce ridiculous laws against both poker and pot and the U.S. government is actually causing massive pain and suffering with their hypocrisy but I never intended to become a martyr over this issue, it's just that I'm more about reefer than I am about poker, so I decided it was time to speak my mind and let the chips fall where they may.

When I started this blog the title was "High Stakes Cannabis Culture", as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the risks involved in building a company around 2 things that were prohibited in the main markets that we focus on, North America. Well now I just raised the stakes again and will continue to promote my idea of freedom - smoke reefer and play poker. Now, even writing this confession could be my un-doing or perhaps I just removed USA off my future travel itinerary and I'll need to find a new way back to Canada via Mexico, Panama or Europe. Oh well, I can't stand to live with this deception and worse than that; it makes me crazy to see that USA appears to be moving backwards (again) with regards to legalizing marijuana. As a Canadian I feel a kinship with Mexican's and to witness what is being done to their country by this prohibition makes me feel sick, how can we stand by and say nothing?

One of the things I wanted to avoid with this blog was ranting. I set out to write about the good things that I see and learn about cannabis, the wonderful people I've met along the way, the scientific breakthroughs related to it's miraculous natural power, the marvelous beauty of the plant and the sheer pleasure of getting high from recreational smoking. That was my mission and I'm sticking to it, as there's enough truth-seekers out there exposing the global government insanity and the corporate conspiracies surrounding this defenseless plant. Now that I've confessed and explained more about why I promote reefer and poker, I'll get on with blogging about my amazing journey. Truth will set us free.

God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please - you can never have both. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stay tuned for more confessions of a reefer maniac...

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December 09 2010

Confessions of a Reefer Maniac

aaron_easy_rider.jpgI'm back in the land of bikinis, caipirinha's and a thousand miles of beaches. Ah Brazil, how I love her! And amongst the things I love the most about Brazil, is that the government here doesn't need to kiss the ass of the United States government. In Brazil I feel safe to live my life, as I see fit, and chasing my dreams, no-matter how twisted they may be. I've been listening to Ziggy Marley's newest album allot lately, reminiscing about my summer in Canada (see photo) and reconnoitering my excursion to USA. It's a partly due to Ziggy's powerful message and also something from the Dead-sea scrolls:
If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
~ The Gnostic Christ
that combined with Ziggy's message, have now compelled me to share details of my bizarre journey in pursuit of funding for Reefer Poker. It's time for me to confess about Reefer Smoke - so here's my story: Yes it's true that I also love the USA, as mentioned in my last post, but the reason I stopped blogging on Reefer Smoke was to protect my innocence, since I've been in the USA for the past five months, mostly in Los Angeles with visits to nearly every major city in California, but also in both the Carolina's (North and South) for an intense late-summer business trip, Dallas Texas three times, then New Orleans for an interesting week which culminated with a wild Halloween party at the Maple Leaf, plus five separate trips to Las Vegas.

At the end of my North American odyssey I flew back to Vancouver, traveled up to my family home in Kelowna for a taste of autumn, just before the winter clamped her icy grip down on Western Canada. Then as the first snowflakes started to fly in BC, I knew it was time to head back to South America.

Stay tuned and get ready for the tale of an odyssey more bizarre than anything the you've heard in years....
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July 05 2010

Star Spangled Banner Ad

Reefer Poker American FlagWhenever I hear the "Star Spangled Banner" sung I get misty-eyed and when it's performed by a great singer, especially at a championship sporting event, I actually shed tears despite my best efforts to not look silly. Why this is unusual to me, is because I'm an Expat Canadian and my own National Anthem barely raises my attention, let alone emotion, then the Brazilian National Anthem sounds ridiculous (to me), and only one of a dozen people could tell you what the words are, let alone the meanings, yet Brazileiro's get very emotional about their anthem. So what's up with the Canucks - Stand on guard lyrics?

Most Canadian's will tell you the same thing, we love USA. We know we're different in some way's, but we also know we're the same in most ways, and in lifestlye we attempt to emulate our big neighbor to the south. Our culture is an American culture, as is a growing segment of the world's population, even if each nation brings it's own mix to the party, in the end we're all listening to, and watching, the same media, striving to drive the same cars, eat the same food, build the same houses and live the large lifestyle, like the American's.

It was sad to witness the erosion of the of the global sentiment towards American's over the past decade but that seemed to subside for a time with the election of Obama, proving that the majority of citizens wanted to change some ways and make some amends. When all along we Canadian's continued to adore USA, even if there were some mistakes made because we trust in the U.S. political system, more than our own, that the voices of reason will have an opportunity to be heard. I for one like to believe that there are enough smart people, not afraid to speak their minds, to make sure that before an important law is passed, it's meaning has had a fair and thorough debate.

These past couple of years have been the most challenging times for the people of USA, the shit-storm just doesn't seem to want to end. Whether it be Geo-political, domestic, economic or even environmental, as in the Gulf disaster, the greatest asset of the nation has been brought to bare, on whatever issue it's confronted, that is; "willful determination". This is what makes us admire American's, it's how they react to adversity; with resolve and confidence, that the problems are going to be fixed, and no-matter what the issue is, or the obstacles are, it will get done, once the plan is set and the decision is made to make it happen, it will happen!

Amongst the most charming traits of American's Is the ability to laugh at themselves and write books, make movies or even comedy sketches that make jest of some of their foibles. Being able to make fun or even art of what otherwise might be deemed a political or International disaster, act of war, or a career suicide (ie. Celebrities making mistakes), no matter who does what, somebody's going to make a joke of it, even if it's beyond tasteless. This candor brings humility to the character of the people and makes the rest of realize that mistakes happen and everyone is watching with a keen eye. I especially like that a Canadian such as Jon Stewart can sling as much mud at anyone in the news and everyone laughs. And around the world Expat American's are making people of other countries laugh, smile, or respond in some meaningful way, often in a life-saving ways, or even in a police/peacekeeping ways, very often in a leadership capacity, however my favorite role of American's abroad is like the Gringo's of Amsterdam, or the many American's that I've met in far-flung corners of Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, and Thailand, incredible great people!

Maybe we Canadian's are so infatuated with everything south of the border because we spend so much time there. I for one have been to more than 40 states, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Even driven from Buffalo to Miami and back, from Miami to Vancouver and back, and once across the top from Idaho across to Sturgis, South Dakota, before heading south back to Miami. Plus, I've had the good fortune to have visited all of the biggest cities, and lived in South Florida for 12 years, I can attest to Miami being my second home and favorite gateway to Latin America. Sure the beaches of Hawaii are arguably the best anywhere, the city on NYC the capital of the modern world, Vegas the ultimate city of sin and excitement, and L.A. is the Mecca of all that is cool and hip, but having said all that, it's still an easy answer, when asked "what is it I love the most about USA?" - it's the people.

Happy Independence Day!

Tags: People

July 03 2010

8 Weed Facts

Marijuana as medicine is nothing new, despite the current groundswell of laws making pot legal for medical uses. Here's a quick fact file on cannabis and its medical history, makeup, and legality.

[Read Medical Claims for Marijuana--Just Blowing Smoke?]

1. "Marijuana" is a Mexican term that originally was applied to low-quality tobacco.

2. The plant was cultivated in China for therapy (and recreation) over 4,700 years ago.

3. More than 20 prescription medicines containing marijuana were sold in U.S. pharmacies at the turn of the 20th century. Pot-based medications were commonly available until 1942, when cannabis was stricken from the U.S. Pharmacopeia, the official compendium of drugs considered effective. From 1937 to 1942 the federal government collected a tax of $1 per ounce for such drugs.

4. More than 20,000 studies on marijuana and its components have been published, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, an advocacy group. Of these, around 100 have looked into therapeutic value on human subjects.

5. The federal government is in the pot-growing business. Under a federal contract, the University of Mississippi in Oxford cultivates marijuana for use by researchers, who have to be cleared by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

6. The plant has nearly 500 chemical compounds, more than 60 of which are called cannabinoids.

7. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. But patients in these states face federal prosecution for using it--or for growing or possessing pot for medical purposes.

8. Federal law prohibits physicians from prescribing or otherwise actively supplying patients with the drug. But in 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court backed an appellate court ruling that physicians who discuss it with patients, or provide oral or written recommendations, are protected.

Corrected on 07/01/10: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the number of studies on marijuana and its components and those involving human subjects. The number of cannabinoids has also been clarified.

Tags: Pot

July 01 2010

Canada Day

oh CannabisDeparted Brazil on the evening of May 18 and arrived in Vancouver the next day, cleared customs, hit the cash machine for some shiny new Canadian money, then proceeded to the brand new Skytrain (completed for the 2010 Winter Olympics) which leaves the platform, an easy stroll from VYR airport, every 10 minutes. I rode in the front of the front car, with the kids, so I could marvel at the new metro rail train line, which is part elevated above ground, hence the name Skytrain, but the new train goes underground after it crosses the Frazer River and becomes a subway, transporting the passengers under the bust city streets and get you to your destination in half the time and a fraction of the price of a taxi. From the terminus station of Waterfront you walk about 3 blocks to reach the BC Marijuana Party (BCMP) Headquarters, or as one staff put it: Welcome to the Palace of the Prince of Pot (Marc Emery).

The mood around Cannabis Culture Head Shop and BCMP (upstairs) was a little somber, since Marc had just been extradited to the USA just the day before but the people were still very nice as they made me feel totally comfortable by explaining the rules, number one of which is that you must bring your own weed in order to use the Volcano Vaporizor placed in the center of each of low coffee tables placed between ulta-comfy leather couches or low rider style bean-bag chairs. The spacious second floor facility is super-cool, with excellent views, out huge windows, of the tree-lined West Hastings Street and across to the park where most of the BC Bud merchants tend to hang out.

On my first visit to BCMP the weather was cool and rainy but inside the Cannabis Culture café everything was cozy and chillaxed, so I reacquainted myself with BC Bud, and since it's been such a long time without smoking Kryp, after 15 minutes I found myself laying flat on my back on one of the leather sofas, staring straight up through the wonderful huge skylight built into the room's ceiling and captivated by the rain coming down on a cool old gothic style heritage building down the block, probably the most unusual view in all of Vancouver because you're looking straight-up through the roof of the building and if you tilt your head you can look straight out the big windows and down Hastings Street. Meanwhile , there's all great chill music on a great sound system and the main room has a huge flat screen TV playing a loop of the documentary "The Prince of Pot" and everywhere on the walls there's interesting art and information.

You can almost feel the presence of Marc and Jody, even when they're not there and being in that great establishment of marijuana legalization, you get a real sense of the passion that these two people have for the movement, but also the enduring love that they have for each other. These two Canadians make a powerful team and it's hard to not feel sad for Jody since Marc will be gone for another 5 years or so, that's a really long time apart for partners who spent nearly every minute together.

Now I've been back more than a month and visited Vancouver and BCMP again, this time it was full-blown summer, bright, warm and sunny. This trip included a visit to a small island and some excellent trail hiking, over a suspension bridge and around Lynn Canyon. Even after a month the smell and taste of the air never ceases to amaze me and the views and vibes of the city seem to re-energize the soul and spark the spirit, everywhere the Pacific paints her touch on the landscape and sometimes the panorama of it all just makes you stop what you're doing a say; "Oh Canada!"

Tags: Places
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