Friday, September 18, 2020

Puff

Cannabis tax money goes to fund the cops

When you buy legal weed, the cops get millions of dollars. But the Legislature could change that.

It’s high time to start defunding the police – and cannabis offers one way to do it. A full 20 percent of the state tax on weed sales goes directly to law-enforcement – and if the Legislature would change that, millions of dollars now underwriting cops in the state could be used for community services that will actually protect and serve the communities those cops have brutalized for generations.

When you buy legal weed, the cops get millions of dollars. But the Legislature could change that.

The story goes back to the passsing of Prop. 64, the 2016 measure that allowed adult recreational use of cannabis. Backers of the bill sold Californians on the promise that it would protect small cannabis farmers from big business for several years, that it would reduce the racial disparity in arrests, and generate millions of dollars in taxes.

But before Prop 64 ever became law, the regulators and Legislature began to mess around with the rules. First came an end on the acreage cap on cultivations, allowing for license stacking which has led to massive cannabis farms beyond what ever should have been legal prior to 2023.

Like the small farmers who have been neglected by the Legislature and the regulators, so have minority communities who have been systematically targeted by the war on drugs. Yes, people in California are still getting arrested – and facing felony charges – for cannabis crimes.

A recent analysis by California NORML found that, despite the overall number of arrests being lower, the “arrest disparities went up slightly for each race compared to whites” in the years since legalization.

Lauren Vazquez is a lawyer and the CEO of Fired Up Law Office, and was a senior advisor and statewide organizer for the Prop 64 campaign. “We knew we couldn’t put everything into the bill,” said Vazquez, so organizers pushed to get as much as they could in without attracting major opposition from law enforcement. “One of the things I personally did not like about Prop 64 was the high tax rates, they could and should be lower, but when you are putting together an initiative then people will want a piece of the pie so you need to grow that pie.”

Amber Senter is a veteran and the co-founder and executive director of Supernova Women, a networking organization for women of color in the cannabis industry. Senter also is the chair for the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Senter noted that “racial disparities rising since legalization is a clear indicator that we should defund the police because they are not doing it right.”

In her role with the NCIA, Senter has been long advocating for social justice, and she was pleased to say that their “committee is now the most active, most engaged, and most popular committee at the NCIA.” She was clear that the committee is “very committed to ensuring that the NCIA take social equity and the needs of black and brown operators very seriously and elevates their conversation.”

In the effort to appease law enforcement, Prop 64 had police funding written into its fabric, but due to how organizers wrote the initiative, we have the opportunity to begin shifting those taxes away from law enforcement immediately.

Prop. 64 requires various specific expenditures, such as the cost of running the Bureau of Cannabis Control and giving $3 million to the California Highway Patrol to research how to determine a driver’s impairment.

After those expenditures are covered the remaining money is split up into three accounts, 60 percent to one focused on youth education (specifically, drug education), 20 percent to environmental restoration, and 20 percent to state and local government law enforcement. The exact amounts vary from year to year, but Vazquez said “the 60 percent for the youth is around $400 million” which would mean that law enforcement is getting roughly $133 million a year.

On the surface, it seems as if that 20 percent to the “State and Local Government Law Enforcement Account” seems pretty cut and dried, but Vazquez was clear there is plenty of ambiguity. Vazquez said Prop 64 “says the state will give grants to local governments to assist with law enforcement, fire protection, or other programs focused on public safety.” Vazquez believes that “they could use the category of ‘other public services’ to accomplish the defunding the police goal” without needing to amend Prop 64. “While Prop 64 can be amended in some ways by a two-thirds vote, the taxes can’t be changed until July 2028,” Vazquez said. So rather than waiting until 2028 to formally amend the initiative’s taxes, that cannabis money can be diverted to defund the police now.

“The police are there to prevent violent crime and investigate violent crime, “ said Vazquez, “Defunding is redirecting funds to do all the other accidental roles police have been playing, we should have other people to respond to homelessness and other issues, leaving the police free to respond to violent crime.”

“This is the time and the moment,” said Lanese Martin, the co-founder and co-executive director of The Hood Incubator, a non-profit organization that advocates for policies to advance social justice and is dedicated to the empowerment and workforce development of Black people. “Black people are asking to stop being killed by police and the best and most effective way to do that is to stop giving the police money.”

Cannabis has a racism problem. The Floret Coalition can help.

Even this stock photography comes from a BIPOC-led cannabis justice initiative. Cannaclusive produces stock images (subject to a fee for commercial use) to challenge white-dominated visual norms of the legal marijuana industry.

On Thursday, hundreds of people who work in the marijuana industry gathered for a virtual event called “allyship + weed” convened by cannabis brand strategists Humble Bloom and the online store and weed education platform Miss Grass. For just shy of four hours, participants heard from panelists on challenges to inclusion within marijuana. They explored the liberatory consciousness model, listened to Drug War justice spoken word by artist Sadenia Sivad, and even played a card game featuring reflection prompts meant to develop one’s capacity for empathy.

The earnestness was palpable in moments of audience participation, but frequent calls from organizers to donate to the the Movement For Black Lives kept participants from thinking mere self reflection will save the day. Given the brutal racism of prohibition and inequities that have continued well into marijuana’s legalization era, there may be few industries as deeply grounded in white supremacy as cannabis.

The notion that people of color need to be the ones to say how these issues will be fixed is part of the logic behind the Floret Coalition, an anti-racist coalition of cannabis businesses.

“Being a Black person in the States, we don’t see ourselves sitting at the board table, making the big decisions for these cannabis companies,” says Floret Coalition board member and industry entrepreneur Maya Shaw. “Meanwhile, the Black community has been hit hardest by the War on Drugs here in America. So it’s kind of like, ‘What do you mean I can’t have a say?’”

Maya Shaw, Floret Coalition board member. Image courtesy of the Floret Coalition

In 2018, some 600,000 people were charged with marijuana possession in the United States. According to the ACLU, Black people are arrested for having cannabis on their person at nearly four times the rate of whites.

Legalization barely pushes the needle when it comes to increasing racial justice for Black cannabis entrepreneurs. They are often blocked from accessing the kind of capital required to navigate the hefty licensing fees and permitting structures of state and municipal cannabis regulation. Many of the social equity programs local governments have instituted to ensure support of Black and Brown cannabis entrepreneurs have proven clunky and ineffective. The recent debacle of marijuana personality Dabbing Granny’s use of the n-word shows how these structural problems can lead to overt racism in the cannabis space.

Happily, this protesting, change-making summer has seen a watershed of new, BIPOC-led cannabis justice initiatives. 

The Floret Coalition’s model is based on companies committing to donate a monthly dollar amount to an organization of its board’s choosing. (The Coalition’s definition of what makes a cannabis company is loose—one of the first brands to sign up was a catnip toy company that makes spliff-shaped kitty-medicated plushies.)

The inaugural board has a holistic view of what it takes to improve and empower Black and Brown people via cannabis industry resources. Though the Floret Coalition was originally conceived by marijuana lifestyle magazine Broccoli and its editor Anja Charbonneau, it is guided by the vision of three Black women and non binary inaugural board members with deep roots in cannabis culture.

“As marginalized people we’ve learned that we have to protect our own communities because no one else will,” says Floret Coalition board member Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey. “This isn’t to say that non-BIPOC people can’t show up and don’t show up. But I think we’re more engaged to correct the racial wrongs within the cannabis industry because most of us have gone through the system, or seen our family members and friends who have borne the deepest scars of the War on Drugs.”

Diverse leadership should prove to one of the keys to the effectiveness of the Floret Coalition and other cannabis justice projects.

“Because you don’t want to do something that’s just for optics,” says Shaw. “You want to actually support the movement.”

Kassia Graham, Floret Coalition board member. Photo courtesy of the Floret Coalition

Shaw ran an eponymous online store of cannabis accoutrement crated by women-identifying and LGBTQIA artists. On the board of the Floret Coalition, she is joined by Mexico City cannabis history researcher and co-founder of Xula CBD Golokeh Aggrey, and Kassia Graham, the director of national projects and social media for influential and social justice-minded cannabis marketing platform Cannaclusive.

Board members have made it clear that the Floret Coalition must work with worthy non-profits both inside and outside of the cannabis space—an idea that has been fleshed out by writer Tiara Darnell in an article published by Broccoli.

“We’re looking at the entire ecosystem of community,” says Graham, a Jamaican American whose Rastafarian great-uncle taught her the healing powers of cannabis early in life. They say there is already a shortlist of groups to which the Floret Coalition is considering directing donors. Some are within the educational space, some support farming. Others protect Black trans women.

“We’re also going to be giving to some mutual aid organizations that are not necessarily registered non-profits,” says Graham. “We believe in communities helping each other and themselves.”

Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey, Floret Coalition board member. Photo courtesy of the Floret Coalition

That expansive vision appears to have resonated with cannabis businesses. Broccoli announced that within the first two days of the announcement of the Floret Coalition, 44 brands had signed on to donate $19,800 over the course of six months. Organizers expect that number to surge as word gets out about the project.

“The response has been beautiful,” says Golokeh Aggrey. “I think you often find that women (especially Black women) tend to be the ones to nurture and looks after others in their community. But we’re hoping and expecting to receive more pledges from a broader group of cannabis and cannabis-adjacent companies. There’s room for all of us.”

The initiative is far from the only project in which the weed industry is taking responsibility for the racism from which many of its white players benefit. Cannaclusive’s Accountability List was launched as a way to encourage cannabis companies to be transparent about their anti-racism practices. The list offers various metrics for tracking success in this mission, from stocking BIPOC-run brands to ensuring the racial diversity of employees at all levels.

Graham works on the Accountability List and also collaborates with cannabis marketing consultant Kieryn Wang to maintain InclusiveBase, a database meant to connect consumers with BIPOC-led cannabis companies.

Industry-funded anti-racism efforts also include Colorado’s Color of Cannabis, which has announced a series of August workshops to help get individuals’ records expunged of cannabis-related crimes. Legal reform-minded Last Prisoner Project is led by a board guided by former and current incarcerated individuals. The Cannabis Cultural Association, Minority Cannabis Business Association, Supernova Women, Equity Sessions, Equity Organization, and Drug Policy Alliance are all playing important roles in ensuring that the cannabis industry will have a more racially equitable future through education and advocacy. Surely, their effectiveness will hinge on white cannabis leaders accepting that their role is to assist people of color in creating the solutions to industry inequities. 

“It’s so important for us to be able to have a seat at the table,” says Shaw. “To say, ‘Here’s what needs to be done to make this right.’”

Puff: A day for dabs

A panoply of dabbing delights. Photo by Dan Karkosa

As we push through a year like no other, we reach another cannabis milestone day, 710!
What is 710? It is the high holy day celebrating cannabis oils and concentrates. Why does it
happen on July 10? Because 710 is the word “OIL” upside down! Now that is a holiday only a stoner could come up with!

Normally, I would tell you to stop by a dispensary and get yourself a dab at a dab bar to
celebrate, but since we are dealing with Covid issues still, that is not happening.
At this point having a dab rig would make it much easier to celebrate, but a nice glass rig with a heated coil can be pricey.

As you know, I have been coveting the PuffCo Peak for the last few years but could never afford its almost $400 price tag. Today, I noticed they have it on their website on sale for $299! It’s portable, spill-proof, and comes with its own battery charger. Dabbing made easy and fashionable.

You are my pen. On you I can depend: the PuffCo Plus. Photo by Dan Karkosa

Earlier this summer, I discovered to my delight that the same company makes a smaller pen-size dabber called the PuffCo Plus. I snagged it on sale for $55, but it usually goes for about $90. I was finally a professional dabber!

To use the PuffCo Plus, you unscrew the top and push the dart down to create a little scoop that you can use to heft concentrate, sliding it into a small chamber and screwing it closed tightly. The pen features three levels of heat that you can switch between through neat clicks.

Once you get that hang of it, you can blow some amazing dragon clouds of intense cannabis vapor. The lower temps give you more terpene flavor, while the hottest temp gives you a more intense high.

Remember to always clean the Plus with a cotton swab after each use. I let it go for a few times and suddenly the pen just wouldn’t work. I thought it was busted but nope, two gooey swabs later and it was working just fine.

So what’s good to dab? There are so many kinds of concentrate to choose from, I can’t even begin to try all of them for you — but I will try!

My recommendation is to look at your favorite dispensaries’ menus and choose something that you already like in flower form, like Purple Punch, Strawberry Banana, or Blue Dream. Nowadays, there are live resins, resin butter, caviar, crumble, shatter, live resin sugar, and many more styles to choose from. Terpene flavors are also fantastic. Don’t be intimidated, they will all get you high.

Here are some delightful concentrates I recently discovered.

Kaizen Extracts has a cured resin caviar of Trifi Cookies. It comes in at 81.9% cannabinoids. The caviar looks like its namesake, little nuggets of cannabis concentrate. They are easy to scoop up for a dab and have the nice and light high of a sativa.

Flavor Concentrates has a full catalog of flavors and styles to try. I am into their Jack Wreck Crumble (72.25% cannabinoids), an aromatic crumble that comes apart in small chunks for proper dabbing. Great flavor and a nice bright buzz. Crumbles are said
to be some of the stronger concentrates. I like them because they are easy to dab, but will also smoke well in a bowl or joint.

Flavor also has some great shatter out there for a nice price. I like their Purple Punch! Shatter looks more like a pane of amber glass, and can be sticky or brittle but is always strong and flavorful.

You might opt for a live resin, which range from gooey substances to a more waxy, smooth kind of concentrate. They have great terpene flavor because heat wasn’t used to distill them.

Perfect dab got you stumped? Here’s some suggestions for this year’s 710 celebrations. Photo by Dan Karkosa

Ursa Extracts has a delicious Purple Punch. Looks like they have some interesting specials on their website as well. Cannabiotix (CBX) also has some great waxy live resins. I’m currently using their Blue Badder. You can never go wrong with Guild Extracts either. They always have high quality concentrates.

Also never forget Jetty’s dablicator! It is the easiest way to control those crazy, sticky cannabis oils. I just finished a Mowie Wowie. Drizzle it over or in a joint, or follow my lead; tear up a roach to put in your bong’s bowl to create a base. Then squirt oil from the dablicator on top, sprinkle some flower, add maybe a dot of other concentrate or hash. Voila, 710 Salad! Slow toke on that while lightly lighting the bowl. Now settle back to watch Lord of the Rings or a Zoom drag show!

Of course, you don’t have to dab to celebrate the world of concentrates and oils. I am a major fan of hash. Hash is like a quaalude. It gets you high, and you can just kinda float off into a lovely haze. (Save it for after reading the news.) Sprinkle hash into your joints or over a fresh bowl to give it that extra kick. No extra equipment necessary!

I love the Talking Trees Bubble Hash that I recently purchased called Zsweet Inzanity at 66.23% cannabinoids. It has a lovely flavor. I’m planning on checking out more of their stuff. I found it at the Vapor Room for $26 per gram. They also have some awesome cheap bubble hash from Tutti in the basic flavors of indica, hybrid and sativa. At only $20 per gram, they are bargain-priced, tasty, and effective.

Perhaps you’re looking to celebrate 710 in an entirely different way. Maybe, with an infused pre-roll? I am always down for a nice Fuzzie, and there will be plenty of pre-roll options at your favorite dispensary. Remember, always sign up for your dispensary’s text or newsletter program to stay up on specials and new treats. Most businesses offer free delivery when you purchase a certain amount.

I hope you found some fun stoney treats to help you celebrate 710 and every other day of the year when you want a little more than just flower. These days, it is an easy and affordable escape, with lots of terpene flavor and a powerful cannabis punch!

Puff: Get high on Pride

PLUS gummies for Pride

As I read all my Pride-inspired emails this year, it is funny how many gummies now have special Pride tins. I know for certain that those originated with PLUS gummies three years ago. It’s fine though. If the cannabis community wants to express its unity with the LGBTQ community through medicated gummies, go ahead!

I received my Pride pack from PLUS this week because it is sponsoring Quaran-Tea, a series of afternoon Sunday afternoon virtual tea dances featuring local DJs spinning to raise money for the San Francisco Queer Nightlife Fund. PUFF, your favorite cannabis column and happy hour, will be joining in this Sunday, June 21 from 1-6pm at Twitch.tv/sfqueernightlifefund.

PLUS gummies for Pride

I chose four DJs to join me, and we have already pre-recorded our sets. Sadly, my two regular PUFF DJs were unavailable, so I turned to my community to find a nice mix of people to make a fun afternoon tea dance. First off I invited PUFF artist David Lawrence Hawkins aka DJ Dingbat to give us a wacky sampling of what is going on in his brain. Years ago at Truck, a long-gone gay bar in the Mission, Tom Kern aka DJ Chicken and I spun many a night together, so he is coming in for a set.

DJ Sgt. Die Weiss aka Kntrl Alt V, I knew from when I DJed for the Meow Mix party. When I started inquiring about a lesbian DJ, her name popped up and I was so excited to book her. She has great taste in music. DJ Marloca finishes out the four, and she was a resident DJ at Delirium and F8 and has a zany point of view. Everyone is in for a fun afternoon of music.

Finally, Thee Pristine Condition will be the host between each set! She promised some amazing drag looks. So please support PUFF and help raise money for the SF Bay Area Nightlife Fund. PLUS Gummies will donate $1 from every purchase of their Pride tin to the fund!

I am eager to see how it goes and sounds. I even had to video myself DJing which meant dancing because, beyond settings levels and choosing the next song, there is not much else to do while DJing—tho I did light up a night doobie midway through my set.

——

I must admit after three months of staying in place and watching shows on the Internet, I am a little burned out from watching performances and meetings on Zoom and Facebook Live. They were so charming just a few weeks ago. For Pride this year, this is how we can celebrate safely, so I am just going to roll with it and smoke up. I applaud everyone who is thinking of new and better ways of helping us connect with one another online.

The one thing that does help me relax while watching internet content is smoking a nice doobie.

Rolling is a craft. I am getting really good at rolling it, but I have yet to master the art of inserting a crutch, the little piece of rolled cardboard that serves as a filter on the end of a joint. Like Frankenstein on his eternal search for piecing together a man, I tried many times to slide it inside the paper but only succeeded twice. There were actually three times, but the third was born so badly constructed that it just ended up being fodder for the bong.

As I smoked these well-made, but crutchless, joints, I realized that I should make my own infused joints. I spend money on the premade ones all the time, why not make my own!

Ice water hash is granulated so it is easy to sprinkle in my joint. Good prices were to be had on the High Noon ice water hash at California Street Cannabis Company. It is available, or some version of it, throughout the Bay Area. Presto, a nice hashy preroll is ready! 

Two flavors that I personally liked were by High Noon, Banana Fig, and Brown Sugar. (I can not find a website or social media for this brand, so check your local dispensary). I got a nice, steady, zoned out feel which is perfect for doing things like watching drag or music shows on the internet. Plus it gives you a craft project to do while you view. 

I also made some pretty potent infused joints using caviar crumble which looks like white cubes and crumble easily over a joint. Just watch out, it melts on your fingers quickly. Try using a metallic scoop, tweezers or a pick to help you get it where you want it. I used AK Cookies by Summit Boys. It gave me a bit more intense high than the mellow hash.

——

I have always said every Pride is different from the next. It is certainly true this year as we celebrate online. The most important thing to remember is that we should be prideful of who we are every day of the year and these celebrations merely give us a moment to celebrate that together.

Check out your favorite dispensaries to see what kind of Pride specials and events they are offering. Sign up for their email and text lists.

Please stop by the PUFF Quaran-Tea this Sunday and donate to the SF Queer Nightlife Fund. You will hear an amazing mix of fun music. I will hanging out online smoking a joint made of whatever formula I come up with for my Pride joints. I will be glad to tell you all about it.

Now, it’s time to light up.

Puff: Cannabis-loving care for Mom

The Green Bee CBD-infused product line looks lovely.

Spring is springing all over the place, and we’re all still stuck in our homes awaiting the latest anxious buzz about COVID. Now we reach another holiday, Mother’s Day, which brings out-of-reach visions of brunch, family, mimosas, and a nice joint all outside in a beautiful, sunny meadow.

The fact that most of our family celebrations don’t actually go that way is irrelevant, it is the idea of giving our moms, or the mom-like people in our lives, some extra love. All’s the better if your Mom is a stoner.

So I went on a quest to find some fun ways to bring Mom that love while staying in place.

My first discovery is the special Mother’s Day Box from Lucky Box Club. This opportunity is available for customers in the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area only. For $199, it includes goodies from Garden Society, Kikoko, House of Saka, Om, Mellows, Green Bee Botanicals with Lolo & Wedding Cake flower. If you are outside the Northern California area you can purchase the CBD Mother’s Day box featuring Bath Soak, Infused Massage Oil, CBD Gummies & CBD infused Bath Bomb for $109.

Lucky Box’s Staycation Box special.

Lucky Box Club is also offering a Staycation Box Set for $99 in which you can choose products for the box and even get discounts in the future. Outside of California, only the CBD box is available.

You can also subscribe to Lucky Box Club for a monthly box of cannabis treats. I’ve sampled one before, and it is a fantastic opportunity to try new items. 

Staying on the CBD kick, Green Bee Botanicals offers Mom award-winning cannabis-infused Perfecting and Renewing Serums, Brightening Eye Cream and Deep Calm Massage Oil. These are high quality products guaranteed to make Mom look in the mirror and nod approvingly.

The Wulf Pack over at Manzanita Naturals reports they are making new KwikCBD products to go along with their KwikEaze products which offer a powerful 100mg of THC each. That will means 100mg of CBD power and .2mg of THC into one small swig. Finally, something that will cure Mom’s head and bodyaches after a day of family bliss! 

Their medicated sodas, The Fizz, are fantastic as well with great flavors at 10mg THC per bottle. Mom would love a six pack on ice to celebrate.

“We do have sweetener free “The Fizz Sparkle Water” in five delightful flavors now, which might be good for Mother’s Day. No carbs, organic, full flavored with 10mg of sativa. Great for mom,” said Aaron aka Practice from the Pack.

You can RSVP for the CannaMommy virtual spa day here.

Finally, CannaMommy is hosting a Virtual Day Spa on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10 from 1-5pm. Tickets are FREE! So RSVP now!

There will be 30-minute live segments with guest hosts on yoga, facials, make-up, starting a home grow, a round table sex talk, medical questions, meditations, crafts, all the while with smoke sesh breaks! What more could Stoner Mommy want as an at-home spa day! 

Maybe getting Mom a VIP ticket! Then she will get a special Spa-In-A-Box which includes medicated bathbombs, hand/foot soak, sex lube, salve, facial, cannabis flower, chocolates, tea and lots more.

Check up on your favorite dispensaries online for more Mother’s Day specials and bargains. There should be plenty! Subscribe to your favorite dispensaries’ newsletters. Let them contact you about all their specials and events.

Also connect with SAVA, the only LGBTQ-owned and -operated cannabis delivery service in the Bay Area. They are involved with the day spa programming and do so much for our community. They will have plenty of specials, and also highlight women-owned and -operated brands.

There are many ways to show love and appreciation to our mothers. The gift of cannabis, be it in THC or CBD form, just adds that extra nugget of love.

We may not be able to take her out to a fancy brunch or to do, well, anything this year, but we can still celebrate mothers and motherhood in all its incarnations, just by being happy we are all well and taking care of each other during these precarious times. A nice strong joint doesn’t hurt either.

Now it’s time to light up!

Puff: Toast 420—pandemic-style!

Manzanita Naturals

As we enter week five (I think?) of this pandemic, one thing’s for sure: nothing is the same. So as noteworthy days arrive we are, at least for now, looking for alternative ways to enjoy the occasion. So far, St. Patrick’s Day and Groundhog’s Day have been relatively easy to let slide for a year, and many people found ways to enjoy Easter via their phones and computers.

Well, the big one is coming up next week, and I’m not sure if I can handle it. How can I celebrate 420 without hanging with my homies getting majorly stoned and eating a bunch of food!!??

I mean, come on, coronavirus! I missed Hunky Jesus, this year, and after being in isolation, any outside guy in a facemask looks like Patrick Swayze strutting his stuff in Dirty Dancing. Don’t get me started if he is wearing those sexy plastic gloves too!

Anyway, I obviously need to find a way of chilling out and getting ready for the best 420 I can muster. 

For those of you uninitiated, 420 takes place on April 20 of every year. It is the high holy celebration of all things ganja, cannabis, weed, maryjane, pot, or whatever you call it. It is a day for blunts, big fatty joints, potent edibles, concentrates, dabbing, big rigs, bigger bongs, good music and munchies.

Legend has it that the day was named after the police code for a cannabis bust, but that is incorrect. Its actual origins are a bit hazy. They throw back to Northern California in the early 1970s and the Grateful Dead where 420 was mentioned at the bottom of one of their posters. Evidently, they picked up the slang word from a group of friends who called themselves The Waldos. In high school, The Waldos would meet at 4:20pm after school to search for an illusive pot field, and eventually the meeting time became code for “smoking weed.”

Now to celebrate 420, pandemic style!

First, the prep work. If you have not done so, visit all the websites of your favorite dispensaries. Join their notification program. Some send texts, others emails, which will detail all the sales they are having right now. Believe me there are PLENTY. 

Most dispensaries are offering some form of delivery, and of course there are many delivery services. Check out their specials as well.

Empire Glassworks castle

Next, it is a high holiday, why not get a new piece for smoking? Buy yourself a new pipe or bong! I recommend checking out Empire Glassworks. They have great products available from multiple online sellers. Empire sponsors my cannabis party PUFF, and they always have quality pipes, bongs and rigs. There are plenty of websites to shop from though.

As I have recommended countless times, if you want to dab, buy a Puffco Peak. It is portable and easy to use at home. Plus the new ones have carrying cases and won’t spill if tipped over. It is currently on sale for $299! If you can’t afford it,  get one of your new Zoom sugar daddies to pitch in.

Now it is time to coordinate your search. Last Sunday, I had four separate tabs going, each one with a different dispensary menu. You have time to compare! Find the best deals for what you want.

I have been rolling lots of joints lately. It gives me a little project to do. I must say practice makes perfect, so my skills are at an all-time high (pun intended). 

It is always nice to sprinkle some concentrate in the joint, so why not for 420? A nice crumble or live resin sugar can be easily sprinkled in the flower to make a potent doobie.

Kaviar Moonrock

For the bong and pipe set, I recommend adding some celebratory moonrocks or hash. 

I purchased a Kaviar Moonrock for $30 at Grassroots. It’s a nice, gooey, potent 1 gram ball with plenty of kick. 

From the same place I also located a Nasha’s Dolce Terra Temple Ball of hash (1gram) for $30 as well.

Whichever you choose (or both!!), make a nice nest of flower in the bowl of your pipe or bong. Then sprinkle some concentrate over it. Repeat for as many layers as you like. When smoking, pull gently while lightly lighting the bowl. Puff on it! Make it last until you are sure you get all the good smokings out of the bowl before you pull it through or tap it out. 

If you are concerned about respiratory effects, you could definitely get a good strong edible to celebrate or a medicated soda from Manzanita Naturals. I say this because not only do they make great sodas but they also offer the ever-strong Kwik Eaze shot which packs a 100mg punch in only 2 ounces. Party on, Garth.

Now you are set for your 420 home experience. Que up your favorite music or stoner movie. There will be live programming on 420 on Facebook and Instagram. I saw Urbana was having a live DJ 420 Smoke Sesh. Eaze Delivery has playlists you can download and a movie guide. SPARC is offering a yoga class on Instagram. Just keep an eye out during your research. Everyone will be doing something. If you find something cool, list it below in the comment section, so everyone can see it. 

Taking a moment for shameless self promotion, PUFF, the only queer cannabis social, will be doing a live Zoom show on 420 at 4:20pm. We will put on a fun show with some drag and live music. Follow me on Facebook for the live link or check out the PUFF page! 

I hope I gave you some inspiration on how to make it through this crazy 420. Someday soon we can all be physically close to hang out again with our friends, passing a joint and creating community. 

Finally, please be careful out there. Stay healthy. Many authorities are telling us that smoking cannabis is making us more susceptible to the coronavirus. They recommend edibles. Personally, I am not an edibles guy, so I choose to smoke flower. It calms me and chills me out. If I don’t, I will be running starkers around the city screaming at the air. I do this out of my own choosing. You do what is best for you.

Now, it is time to light up that fatty doobie that has been drying next to my computer. I’m practicing for the big day. 

Happy 420 to you all! In cannabis we trust.

Puff: Crazy times deserve good weed, and good care

Fuzzies!

Like many of you, I’m stuck at home watching Netflix and still putting off household chores as the coronavirus makes its way across the country. The one thing I can certainly say already is if it wasn’t for cannabis, I would be batshit crazy by now.

I lucked out and purchased two nice bags just before we were all self-isolated in our homes. Once it started setting in that I was going to be here for a while I decided I needed variety and stronger stuff. My first thought was concentrates! I don’t have a dab rig, but I do enjoy sprinkling a little something on top of the bowl though. Don’t we all when stuck inside for days on end!?

Then I got news that all the dispensaries in San Francisco were closing for the time being in three hours. I made a cartoon Road Runner cloud and shot out of my apartment in a flash and ended up at Grassroots, my nearest dispensary, in mere minutes! I picked up some lovely Strawberry Banana Live Resin Sugar from Flavor at $45 for a gram. Not only does it smell fantastic, it contains 94.19% cannabinoids including CBD and comes nice and granulated so it is easy to sprinkle on my bowl.

Luckily, all the dispensaries reopened in a day or so—our legacy of classifying cannabis as medicine helped deem them essential—with new procedures in place. Vapor Room, Grassroots, Mission Cannabis Club, Barbary Coast, The Green Door and probably all the other dispensaries in the area are mostly dealing in pre-ordered pick-ups. Go to their websites and order off the menu. You don’t necessarily need to pay for it online, but I know when I was at Grassroots, they would not let anyone in who couldn’t show them their online order text. 

Most dispensaries are open shorter hours, so make sure and check online first about that, too. I have found lots of stuff in stock, good deals, and usually FREE delivery options. Let’s hope it stays that way.

After almost two weeks of captivity, I decided I needed a change of pace which lead to another excursion out to Grassroots. Of course Fuzzies saved the day! I have smoked many infused prerolls in my day, and nothing beats a Fuzzie. They are infused with extract and rolled in kief. It was three shorty joints for $30. I bought the Indica ones, and they knocked me the fuck out. Yay! Mission accomplished. 

I also bought a two pack of Creme Brulee joints from Best Bargain Joints for $8 as well. For that prize they were fantastic. 

I didn’t really get into buying edibles because, for me, they tend to make me paranoid, something I really do not want to feel in this particular time. I’m scared enough as it is. On that note, try to buy all your cannabis products with at least a little CBD in them. CBD should help keep you from feeling anxiety from cannabis. If you are going for more of a pain killing cannabis vibe, get as much CBD as you can find.

Also, do not forget the many delivery services available including a couple of my favorites, Sava, the only LGBTQ owned and operated service, and Eaze. 

Now some basic home preparedness tips for the Stoner. 

Clean out your bong! I usually buy Formula 420 from my local head shop, but these being trying times, I can make do with warm water, coarse salt and isopropyl alcohol. Put salt and alcohol in the bong, clog holes with fingers and palm (you can wear gloves) and shake vigorously. Slush and shake all over. Pour and rinse with warm water. Smaller bong pieces or pipes can be soaked with the alcohol and salt in a resealable sandwich bag. Sometimes they need a good soak to loosen everything.

On a weekly basis you should wipe down your pipes and bongs with alcohol. For extra security you can pour and shake some alcohol inside your pieces to make sure some germs and viruses are not hanging on. Clean more often if you want. I know I have the time.

If there is more than one person using the pipes and bongs in your home, buy some alcohol wipes. Be polite and wipe after yourself every time!

Don’t keep delivery containers and paper bags after delivery or getting home with your new weed. Open your bag. Quickly wash your hands in warm water and soap for 20 seconds. Take out your new weed and knock your bag into the recycling with your elbow. It’s a move we have all mastered in one way or another by now.

Now it is time to light up one of those Fuzzies!

Keep safe and stay stoned.

Puff: ‘Tis the season for a holiday cannabis gift guide

Photo by Dan Karkoska

Tis the season to think of gifts for loved ones. If you’re like me, your calendar starts filling up and you have so little time to go out and buy these gifts. Also, I don’t have a lot to spend because all my money goes to staying in this crazy city.

This year, I decided to take care of it all with a few well planned stops. First, I went by my favorite thrift store, that or a dollar store of some kind would do. I picked up some Christmas mugs for fifty cents each. There was plenty to choose from and you can go for any look you like: modern, vintage, kitties, etc.

Next I stopped by a grocery store and picked up tea bags, hot chocolate mix, candy canes, and a couple of bags of candy. I chose Nestle’s Candy Cane Kisses and Ghiradelli Chocolate’s Peppermint Bark Squares. You can also pick up some plastic wrap or paper lunch bags to wrap up your presents.

Now, off to your favorite dispensary. I saved this for last because it’s the most fun. I stopped by the Vapor Room on 9th Street near Mission to visit with my good friend Carson Higby Flowers who certainly has a name fit for someone working at a cannabis dispensary.

On a budget of less than $100, I bought fun stuff for my friends. I recommend all these items for use at any time, but in this case, it is for gifting.

First off, buy a starter joint just for you. I recently enjoyed a $7.50 joint from Pacific Reserve called Tropicanna Sunset. It was delicious and potent! I picked it up at ReLeaf on Mission. There were four bins of cheaper joints. All the bins were full except for one that had like 10 left. That’s the one I chose, and BINGO, I had a Tropicanna Sunset party.

I also like the pre-rolls from Leprechronic ($5) which are cheap and always available at Grassroots near Polk and Post. The flower is good, and I just love their name and logo.  

Photo by Dan Karkoska

So you smoke your starter joint and turn on some holiday music (or whatever kind of music fits your mood), and bring together the three bags of stuff to mix and match.

First, I combined two amazing Kikoko products, the Cannabis Infused Manuka Honey Stick ($25) and Tranquili-Tea cannabis infused tea ($10), with some jasmine tea bags and some candies. 

Make the jasmine tea and swirl the honey stick until part of it melts into the liquid, sip, warm up and get a nice buzz. The Chamomile Lemon Myrtle tea bag is perfect for a good night’s sleep. It doesn’t kid around! Also, Kikoko is a women-owned and operated business!

Photo by Dan Karkoska

Next, I combined some small Somatik products in a mug along with assorted candies. Somatik is a gay-owned and operated local company run by Chris Schroeder and Clayton Coker. I am a big fan of their products. It is quality microdosing whether it is their infused coffee or chocolate-covered Goji berries, golden berries or coffee beans. You can buy bigger containers and bottles of coffee as well to put in your mix (around $20 per bottle). These guys make a quality product, and they also give back to their community.

Thirdly, I combined candies and hot chocolate mix with Mellows, the cannabis infused gourmet marshmallows. I chose Strawberry Shortcake and Birthday Cake as my flavors. ($5 each) Now your loved one can make a nice hot chocolate with a tasty treat on top bound to bring a little bit of a lift in the end. 

See how easy it all is! You can make up all kinds of combos.

With some of my gifts done, let’s turn to stocking stuffers. 

This year I chose Space Gem, the cannabis infused “Passion Fruit Gem Juice” made with premium “Ice Water Hash.” ($18) It’s a sweet syrup that tastes FANTASTIC. The box says “Pour 6ml onto your pancakes, ice cream or drink straight. New users: Start Slow.” So beware, this nectar is so delicious, but it will bite back, in a stoney way. Yummy! Be sure and shake it well—the hash has a tendency to gather at the bottom.

Photo by Dan Karkoska

For me, the ultimate stocking stuffer is a pre-roll. My favorite new one this year is African Queen ($15) which is a terp infused, 1 gram joint that is made with sativas from South Africa. It tastes great and gives a great, light, social buzz perfect for a holiday get together. I couldn’t find it on the internet, but have seen it at several dispensaries. 

Nug has packed up 6 pre-rolls in a handy round case. I tried the Watermelon Zkittles (Hybrid) pack, and they were tasty and did the job. ($38) I like the packaging which works well with putting them in your pocket.

So buy up your cannabis for the holidays and remember the wonderful State of California is raising your taxes on all cannabis products in the new year! There will probably be some amazing sales during the last days of this year so be aware. 

For now, let’s enjoy what is left of 2019. Celebrate with friends, family and weed!

It’s time to light up!

Puff: Hall of Flowers highlights

Flowers for all at the Hall of Flowers

Modern cannabis showed off its best buds at Hall of Flowers September 17-18 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa.

I have been waiting for that golden ticket for two years. Other than press, you had to be a buyer or rep for a dispensary to get in the gate. So finally, happily I rode the bus up Highway 101 to Santa Rosa, got my sexy press pass and started meeting and greeting the cannabis companies.

To start off the day? Why not a free dab or two at the Puffco Peak booth outside of one of the halls. No better way to sell something than to sample it. 

The Puffco Peak has been on my “want” list for a couple of years (see my mentions in previous columns) but the price (upwards to $400) has not agreed with my budget. This little handy, hand-held dabber is the perfect stoner tool to take to any party or gathering. This year’s improvements include a twist top to seal it so you don’t have to replace the water every time you use it and a handy shoulder travel bag.

I dabbed on a Peak and schmoozed the dabbers in the booth, but no one got the bright idea of gifting me one. (They were majorly discounted for HoF though!) So I moved my happy, stoned self into the big showrooms. 

With current laws, there are no free samples of cannabis products anymore. That was an essential element of the medical era. How can you know how your body will react to a product without trying it first? Instead of free samples at the HoF, everything was $2. That’s a price I could deal with! Every 1/8th, pre-roll, cartridge or concentrate was just $2.

Now, getting the products was the tricky part. Inside each hall were hundreds of booths, each one housing a different brand. Depending on their licensing, some companies sold product to me right there at their booth. Others would hand me a coupon that had to be taken to the dispensary building by the entrance to be redeemed. A few companies had no samples and were just there to represent their brand.

I walked through, met lots of folks, saw some amazing bud and started gathering my coupons. I was there early on the first day, and coupons were aplenty. Later as more people showed up, lines started forming, so it took much longer to get through each booth. By the end of the day, some companies were obviously starting to run low on product, so press (me) would get passed over for dispensary reps. I heard that the second day was worse getting coupons, so definitely coming early on opening day was the best time to make scores.

After lunch in the food court, I toured the halls again and then made my way to the dispensary to cash in my booty. Sadly since I was Stoney McIdiot, I lost a couple of coupons (you’re welcome, to whoever found them on the ground!), but I still managed to get several 1/8ths, a couple of cartridges and plenty of prerolls for about $30!

The best part of the day was after the dispensary visit, we sat outside on these giant bean bags, opened up our goodie bags, grabbed a pre-roll and lit up. It was a stunningly beautiful day with a cool breeze. There were DJs spaced out all over the grounds playing unobtrusive electronic music. Hydration stations distributed water aplenty. So I lay there hydrated and stoned, chilling out to the music and a cool breeze. The clouds were a visual orchestra in the sky. It was one of those perfect moments in life. Everything was good.

After that, I attended Jetty’s after party at La Rosa Taqueria where I saw many friends, drank beer, and had very good fajitas. Then back on the 101 bus headed for San Francisco.

Next came the tough part. Trying all my new weed products!!!

My favorite pre-roll was Top Notch Cannabis’ Strawberry Lemonade infused with bubble hash and rosin glazed with distillate and then rolled in kief. It tasted fruitily fantastic and the results were stoney-licious! I couldn’t access their website calitopnotch.com listed on the joint, but found them on Weedmaps. Looks like they are still mostly in Southern California for now.

Second place is the Capo Blunt by Saucey. It too was infused with full-spectrum cannabis oil and rolled in kief. Visually striking, strong and well, strong. That’s it and enough. (). I found them listed on Weedmaps at Green Room and Urban Pharm, but I couldn’t locate them on the sites’ menus. 

Many companies I met were from Southern California and trying to break into the Northern market, so look for these items in the future.

The Tastiest Terp award went to Guild Extracts’ Lemon Kush. Yummy! Guild always has great, top-of-the-line products.

I’ve just begun sampling my 1/8ths. 

I love Classix’s vintage mixtape cassette-inspired packaging, but I prefer jars instead of resealable bags. Bags get smushed so they can damage the flower. The flower is lovely though!

I also found Canndescent an interesting brand. After deducing that it was not a candle because of its packaging and name, I found a nice jar of flower inside with a card describing cannabis’ effects and a hemp wick to light my flower instead of using a lighter or match. They are obviously going for the beginner market. Their flower is not named except by terms like Charge, Connect, Create, Cruise and Calm. There was a lot of packaging, so it felt more like a gift item rather than something you run in and buy, tear open and smoke. The flower was nice and tasty. It was my maintenance weed last week.

Trends I noticed were pre-rolls in glass tubes. I was told it’s better to recycle glass than plastic.

Also, all the big companies were going small with some form of microdosing product, mostly mints. 

I tried Sublime’s Dosies Miracle Mints at 2mg each. Mine were Blue Raspberry and they were very delicious. The tin was hard to open though. 

Sublime also makes my favorite pre-roll, the Fuzzy, and that was the coupon I lost! Luckily, my good friend Veronica shared hers with me, and their new 2:1 CBD/THC was fantastic. They are also launching a new infused ice-pop! Can’t wait to try that!

Speaking of cold stoney goodness, I also saw cannabis infused soft-serve ice cream at Hall of Flowers. I will have some Girl Scout Cookie please!!

So much weed everywhere! You will not believe how stoned I got writing this column!

That is the sacrifice I make in bringing you the HIGHlights of this year’s Hall of Flowers. 

Now it’s time to light up, well…eat something. I got the munchies!

Puff: A stroll through the Grass Lands

A member of Vaunt de Vire Society performs with Jazz Mafia at Grass Lands. Photo by Jon Bauer

PUFF While music acts like Paul Simon and Childish Gambino took to the main stages of San Francisco’s annual Outside Lands this month for a three-day music festival (see our colorful pics here), a new goal line was crossed by the cannabis industry. As of 5am on the Friday of the festival, the city and state gave the go-ahead to permit cannabis to be sold and consumed publicly in an area designated as GrassLands. 

“We’re talking going live at 11am,” said Chris Violas, co-founder CEO of Blaze, which handled distribution and point-of-sales software for Grass Lands. “We’re bringing thousands of units on-site, distributing those to the brands, getting the manifests in place, it was a lot. It was a rush,” he told SFist.

It was a rush that paid off on a Gold Rush level as the area made over a million dollars in the three days it was running. According to many people there, prices were fair and even competitive with dispensary prices. Some places even had $5 options for a couple of small pre-rolls or medicated gummies.

Getting stoned at a concert has always been a “must” for me. My whole life, I would wait until the lights go down, pull out my joints or pipe, and lit up before I missed my favorite song. All this while trying to avoid scrutiny from security, which never happened for me, but I did spend a freaked out moment at a Garbage concert when my sister used her husband’s “good stash” to roll us a joint which made me incredibly high just as I realized a cop was standing next to me. My freak out level was at 15 from 1-10, but he never even looked at me, as luck would have it.

Now with GrassLands happening, in the future, I can go to a concert or event, shop for an ideal cannabis product for the evening, and enjoy it there. 

Grass Lands: The future of cannabis at music fests?

Interestingly enough, afterwards, GrassLands was left cleaner than the areas that sold alcohol and it reported no instances of illness, overdose or violence. That is good news for future events that want to sell cannabis on site for usage.

“I think in states that have already passed adult recreational use, there will be some major changes in the next 1 to 3 years,” said Veronica Guevara who works for Flower to the People, one of the few local dispensaries given a permit to sell at Grasslands. “I’m confident in saying people outside of California are taking notice. I’m sure events like Coachella, Clusterfest, How Weird, etc, will add support to this change. Example, I can picture cannabis consumption and sales at a concert in Red Rocks in Colorado or at Lollapalooza just outside of Chicago.”

Times, they are a-changin’—and you can smell the cannabis smoke in the wind. Grasslands was technically not the first festival with on site consumption. Northern Night Music Festival was actually first, but it was not near the size of Outsidelands.

So with two successful festivals where cannabis was legally consumed, what does that mean for the future of recreational weed at concerts, events, bars and parties in the Bay Area?

“The Office of Cannabis is erring on the side of caution so we won’t have a new full set of rules most likely until 2021,” Guevara said. “Private parties are different but honestly, I really don’t know if we will be able to be able to legally have alcohol consumption and cannabis consumption at bars.”

She points out that no one can predict the entourage effect or how alcohol and cannabis will behave in everyones’ systems or how to ensure the cannabis products available at parties and events are safe and tested.

“As cool as it would be to pop in, hang out, and take a toke off someone’s joint as they pass it to you, there could be an asshole who decided to put fentanyl or spice/K2 in it and wants to mess with people….” said Guevara. “At festivals and events though, I can see San Francisco embracing positive change.”

”The more we can show the powers that be that we, the cannabis business community, are responsible and respectful, the more they’ll have our backs,” she said. “However, I really don’t think we’ll ever be able to sell dabs next to Jello shots”

So here we are watching the tides of history change as acceptance of recreational cannabis in a concert arena has made a big step forward for the movement, thus giving us another win in the battle that keeps on moving, slowly and surely, with a big ole doobie hanging from its lips.

Now it’s time to light up!