Puff

Puff: Careful what you wish for (or, the Prop 64 blues)

Photo via leafly

PUFF Everyone, well 74.3% in San Francisco at least, voted to make recreational marijuana legal this year. Yay! Party! Party! Pass the bong. All we have to do is wait until January 1, 2018, and we can all walk hand-in-hand into any dispensary without a card and buy that precious herb. Right?!

Not so quickly! Little did you know that there is still one teeny, tiny little hurdle that has to be cleared — local politics. You see politics doesn’t care how dank the new Platinum Kush OG is or who has the best shatter. It’s not going to come to your party bringing a Pacific Remedy preroll to share with the canna fam. No, it is going to turn the cannabis issue into a blunt tool to use to get what else it wants — power.

So now everyone is meeting at City Hall discussing the pros and cons of weed world, dissecting it, and well, trying to suck as much fun out of it as possible. For such a legendarily lefty town as San Francisco, conservative politics has reared its nasty head to combat the devil’s weed. These forces have trucked in scared locals who are sure once stoners get their way and open dispensaries in playgrounds, they will be shooting up weed, corrupting kids and attacking people with baseball bats. Like any stoner would have the energy for that! Maybe if really good snacks were involved.

Is any of that true? Of course not! It is all a power play by people who are using recreational marijuana as a new tool for political gain. It’s part of the game and pot is the new playing piece.

So what does that mean to Joe Stoner looking for a marijuana deal? Well, first off, don’t let that pot card expire. On January 1, dispensaries can begin to apply for the recreational permit, but as long as politicians spar over the issue, no one knows exactly how long that will take. So you will still need the card to get into a dispensary.

If your card is about to expire, try getting the almighty doctor’s letter in lieu of the “doc in the box” card. When the new regulations do kick in the doctor’s letter will allow you to dodge the pricey 20% (or more) tax the state will charge you.

Remember all those hilarious stories we used to tell each other about how easy it was to get a pot card? “The doctor asked me what I did that made me happy yesterday and then just signed my paperwork” “I got my card at Ameoba Records, that’s so rad!” Well those cards won’t mean bupkis anymore, just a souvenir of days gone by when medical marijuana ruled the state.

The problem is a lot of doctors will not provide the scripts because they are part of some insurance hive mind that does not approve. Well, at least not at your current copay.

In reality, we all knew this kind of stuff was bound to happen. To take a giant step forward, which this is, we are going to have to take a step back, stumble, trip and then catch our balance. These weed wars will end at City Hall. Recreational will go through. Within a few months, we will be able to go to a dispensary and buy any product without a card. Not everything will go perfectly, but we will learn and grow. Some businesses will make it and others will perish.

Never loose sight of the goal though, even right here, right now, precious weed will help us chill throughout this bullshit process and all the bullshit coming down the pike. It is the reason we believe in the outcome of Prop 64. It is marijuana, Mary Jane, grass, reefer. A gift from the Earth. It will be here long after us and politics and pot cards. So pass that doobie and let’s get down to what is really important!

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Puff: Coming out to Dad (about topicals)

Topicals like Sweet Releaf help with pain, without the high

PUFF Years ago back when I was in college in Texas, I told my Dad that I smoked marijuana. He seemed more interested than upset. Though always a liberal, he was from the cocktail era and never part of the 1960s rebellion that included smoking weed. As he prepares to turn 80 next April, things are starting to change.

The change came in a one ounce bottle of Sweet Releaf, an amazing, painkilling topical cream that smells like cinnamon. Dad suffers from lower back pain, arthritis in his knee and a sore shoulder. I use the cream all the time for all kinds of ailments from back pain, head, joint, or neck aches, and even bug bites. Luckily, Sweet ReLeaf was a sponsor at our monthly PUFF party last month, so I sent my Dad a jar to see if it might alleviate some of his symptoms.

In true Dad fashion, I did not hear from him for a week, so I called him. Dad is very Hank Hill from King of the Hill, the taciturn Texan. So I asked, “How is everyone doing?”….”Fine,” he responded. I asked him how his wife was doing….”Fine,” again. Get the drift? So I finally asked, “Did you receive the package?” “Oh yes!” he brightened up and said his wife put some on his shoulder on Friday, and he didn’t think about it again until Monday. “That stuff really works. If you have any more samples, go ahead and send them to me.” A senior cannabis user is born.

According to data gathered from the latest survey done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of people age 65 and up who said they use marijuana grew 250 percent between 2006 and 2013,” says Healthline. Seniors are one of the fastest growing groups in the cannabis industry.

Topicals are a great way to introduce a senior to cannabis. They don’t have to get you high, just kill pain and inflammation. There are many on the market. Like any lotion, there are different variances of oils, vitamins, and luxury additives, but they all have cannabis oil. Some are CBD (cannabinoid) heavy for pain relief and others have more of a THC blend which will give the user a little lift, but not too much since they cannot get into your bloodstream.

Creams, lotions, salves, tinctures (liquids you drop on the tongue) are all great ways to find the relief you need for the ailments that haunt you. Transdermal patches are available as well which look like a nicotine patch. You just stick them on. They do get into your bloodstream, can get you high and provide relief for hours. Of course later, edibles or vape pens can be added as well as flower.

Although I do not foresee me and Dad smoking a Fuzzy joint together on the back patio anytime soon. I am happy to provide him with a new way of dealing with the pains of getting older. I have a new care package ready for him with some new creams and balms and even a vape pen. Let’s see what he thinks of that.

“Seniors don’t want to get high, they want to get well and the cannabis helps,” said 68 year-old advocate Sue Taylor aka The Weed Lady to CBSNews in 2016.

Or as my Dad would say, “Yep, Fine.”

Puff: The might of microdosing

Welcome to Puff, our new cannabis column, covering news, culture, product reviews, and broader issues important to the cannabis community. Puff is also a monthly queer cannabis appreciation night — happening November 2! — for the community, sponsored by 48 Hills (all are welcome!). 

PUFF  When it comes to cannabis edibles there is always the fear that you will eat too much, turn into a stoned zombie and make a fool of yourself. You hear the urban myths about how someone was at a party, didn’t know about the pot brownies, ate too many and had to spend the rest of the night in a dark room sitting in a corner with an ignored glass of water.

I recently had the opportunity to sample a lot of edibles from the incredible world of pot, and I found a key… microdosing.

Microdosing allows you to take as little as 1mg of marijuana at a time until you get the high that makes you comfortable in the situation you are in. At first, being a big stoner, I thought microdosing was for wimps. I’m a bong guy, and I am not afraid of any weed. Bring it on!

At a party, someone gave me a Kushy Punch gummy. It didn’t taste too good to me, but it sure blended well with my high. Then I tried a Breez 20mg mint. That got me way stoned. I was impressed. How about a 50mg lip balm? Sure! Next up, Wunder Fruit’s sativa oral spray at 2mg a squirt. At the Alison Moyet concert that week, I squirted about 10 sprays of it down my throat as the lights went down instead of lighting up my usual joint. Two songs in and the binaca-like spray kicked in, and I had a great high that lasted through the concert along with minty fresh breath.

So now if I feel like just taking the edge off I can take a 5mg mint. I can still function and get my work done. On my way to go out on the town? How about a 20mg gummy. Going to the movie? Take a gummy half an hour before and then a mint when you sit down. If I decide to stay in, watch movies and vegetate, I can take a portion of that 150mg cookie by Kurova and float away. I can create any high I want to suit the situation I am in.

Just remember a standard dose for a beginner is 5mg depending on how much cannabis you usually imbibe. I started at 5mg and quickly moved to 20mg. Of course, as you continue to use the products, you can increase the dosage. Also, to avoid getting paranoid, make sure some CBD (Cannabidiol) is present in the ingredients because that is the part of marijuana that helps to keep that at bay. THC makes you high, CBD helps with paranoia and pain among many things.

Also know that some edibles are unpredictable and will play along with what else you have eaten, where you are at, what you have drunk, and your mood. You can take the same amount in two different situations and feel somewhat sober once — and completely messed up the next. This doesn’t happen as much with the microdose products because they are usually just marijuana, sugar, gelatin or somesuch. They don’t get stuck in your digestive system, and hit you quicker and more dependably.

Nowadays, you can hear rattle of the mints in my pocket over the usual clack of the pipe. Careful if you kiss me because my lips just make you high. I am the modern stoner… the microdoser.

Puff: How the fires affect the cannabis industry

Welcome to Puff, our new cannabis column, covering news, product reviews, and broader issues important to the cannabis community. Puff is also a monthly queer cannabis appreciation night for the community, sponsored by 48 Hills (all are welcome!). 

PUFF It was a night like any other. I was waiting for my “date” to show up and was about to jump in the shower when I smelled smoke. “That is odd,” I thought as I chose my lucky pair of underwear. “Who could be using their fireplace during this time of year?”

Halfway through my shower, it dawned on me, “It could be my building!” so I finished up quickly, got on my clothes and was out checking my building in no time. There was not a puff or plume anywhere to be seen, but my whole neighborhood smelled of smoke like someone was having a big bonfire in their backyard.

On Facebook, my friend Todd posted about the smoke smell. He was out looking in the neighborhood as well. I was not alone in my concern. Before long, more and more people were posting about it.

As maddening as social media can be, it is a tool that can bring a lot of people together immediately to share news and alleviate fears. Soon the news came out that there were fires in Napa and Calistoga. Those terrible winds stoking up the fires up north were delivering the news right to our front doors miles away in San Francisco.

We had to put up with days and days of haze and smoke. People got sick and wore protective masks. The fires kept burning putting many families out of their houses and property and causing untold amounts of damage.

As these fires go out and leave their charred trail, people are going to need help. What has upset me most is hearing that marijuana farms cannot be insured like any other farm (although that is slowly changing). As bad as the damage has been for everyone, many have the hope of insurance coverage and starting over. When everything on your cannabis farm burns up but the insurers won’t allow you coverage, you lose everything.

We have made marijuana legal in the State of California. We expect these new companies to come out of the Green Closet with a marketing strategy after years of being underground and for them to comply with all new standards thrown at them. But we will not allow them to insure their farms because of the legal plant they grow? I find that baffling.

(Other challenges await, too: Recent fundraisers on YouCaring were shut down because funding associated with cannabis was forbidden by payment processors PayPal and WePay.)

So now we come back to the immediacy of social media. Now is the time to reach out and help those in need. You can join a cannabis group on Facebook to get immediate information — East Bay Canna Community and SF Cannabis Community are good places to start.

At least 30 farms suffered significant losses, especially those in the Emerald Triangle. The California Growers Association is taking donations here. On Thu/26 at 6:30pm at EVB in Oakland, Harborside joins with other organizations for a Team Cannabis Fire Relief Fundraiser. Here are some more suggestions of where to donate to help the community. 

I asked Joanna Arenstein, the executive director of East Bay Canna Community on Facebook who runs First Fridays Pot Luck parties in Oakland, about what we can do. She said, “…We are in the process of working all this out. There has been a flood of donations but there will be on going need in the coming months. I’d say hold on to your donation for now and wait a week or two for when donations start tapering off….”

So when all the hoopla over the smoke and masks dies down and everyone becomes distracted by new news on social media, remember to reach out, however you can, to help these people because it is going to be a long process for them to recover.