Puff: More joys of microdosing

Somatik's revved-up, chocolate-covered goji berries and coffee beans.

PUFF I’ve sung the praises of microdosing before. Gummies, sprays and mints can deliver a small amount of of THC and/or CBD, 2-10mg per dose, so you can control just how much cannabis is in your system. Lately, I discovered three new small dose products that taste great and deliver a mild boost needed to relieve me of hangovers! That’s right, microdosing helps you fight that morning-after hangover.

Let me take you back to Easter. I had a fun Saturday night celebrating life with friends at a local watering hole with a bartender who possessed a heavy pouring hand—and I wasn’t saying no. I was supposed to be going to the Sisters of Perpetual indulgence celebration in Golden Gate Park the next day. As my eyes opened that bright and sunny Sunday morning at the crack of 11am, I could feel that pulsating headache beginning in my head. As I sat up, it swirled down into my stomach. Ugh.

At first I was just going to turn over and go back to sleep, but then all my friends started calling and texting me to see if I was ready. I struggled out of bed and into the bathroom where I threw back a couple of glasses of water and pain reliever. That didn’t do much, so I grabbed a Kwik Ease from the fridge and downed it.

Kwik Ease ($5 at Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, $12 for the 100mg) is the new 10mg cannabis shooter made with honey, lemon juice, ginger and quillaja bark put out by Manzanita and Madrone, known for delicious infused sodas and effective Fire Cider Tonic. Boom, a few minutes later the hangover was lifting. It didn’t go away completely, but just rose enough off my shoulders to be manageable.

I hopped in the shower and then got dressed. On the way out the door I grabbed my box of Sparks, the medicated chocolate coffee beans from Somatik (​​Sava Delivery for $19 a box, also Purple Star, CBCB and Barbary Coast). These pack a light but lifting punch at 3mg of THC each plus caffeine. (Somatik just released a new Spark, a chocolate goji bean with 2mg CBD and 1mg of THC. Available at Society Jane and Barbary Coast.) Three or four of those babies and, bang, I was walking with a skip in my step. I was actually hungover and in a good mood.

I made it to brunch. I didn’t actually make it to Golden Gate Park, but we did make it to Dolores Park and had a wonderful time enjoying the splendors of the City. I kept popping another Spark in my mouth (maybe 2) every hour or so, and I not only made it through the day, but I felt good. I had energy. I fully believe that microdosing saved me that day.

Kwik Ease from Manzanita and Madrone

It doesn’t have to be a hangover. Anytime you feel tired or a little out of sync with the day, pop a couple of these low dose cannabis products, and you will not feel high like smoking a joint, but just a little more revved up. Of course, you can always eat the whole box and get plenty high. They are made of marijuana after all.

People have also experimented using low dose cannabis to help with depression. A friend on Facebook did this and reported feeling better. Still, the government makes cannabis a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance that “has ​no currently accepted medical use in the United States” along the lines of cocaine and heroin.

So who do you believe? Your own experience or what the ill-informed (biased by Big Pharma, I am sure) government tells you? I believe the government is on the wrong side of history. So I’m going to pop three Sparks into my mouth and shoot a Kwik Ease and feel good about my decision on how to feel good. 

Puff: In Mendocino, Flow Cannabis Institute dreams big (and artisanal)

Press and marijuana luminaries gather for a tour of the Flow Cannabis Institute.

PUFF A few weeks ago, on a beautiful, sunny day in the rolling hills of Mendocino County, Flow Kana opened the doors of its new venture, the Flow Cannabis Institute. Nestled inside an old winery in Redwood Valley, the institute’s mission is to help small, local farms keep up with their larger competitors in the exploding marijuana market.

With its “Respect the land and the medicine that it produces” mantra, Flow Kana is positioning itself as a leader of “artisan cannabis.” (It’s also got some canny marketing ideas: For Mother’s Day, a current marketing campaign suggests, why not help mom find a favorite strain by gifting her some pre-rolls or eighth jars? Of course they’re calling it  “Mama’s li’l helper.”) The new institute will be a center of processing, manufacture, education, and leisure—a full complex of cannabis bliss.  

But I was here to see how how its small grower process worked. The proposition is for the institute to serve as a kind of umbrella company that will shepherd a farm’s cannabis crop, after it’s harvested, to established market. A tour for the press and marijuana luminaries gave us a sneak peek.

Basically, a farmer delivers their marijuana crop to the institute for storage in a temperature and climate controlled environment. When the time is right, the institute will test, trim, sort, weigh, package, label, box, and distribute the marijuana to dispensaries for the farmer. The institute also hopes to showcase the best sustainable farming techniques available.

Inside the processing room at the institute

I asked some of the experts at the event if this was a good model, and they all agreed it was. It just depended on whether the institute could pay the farmers enough while still having money for everything else they want to do.

The sprawling 80-acre property houses the 85,000-industrial-square-foot institute, a number of historical buildings, some giant art pieces, a pool, spa, and the infamous Mad-Dog Saloon. Companies can have retreats, throw parties, or use it as a weekend getaway to relax and learn the newest in cannabis horticulture.

At the opening ceremony party, there was a Wild West theme to go with the saloon, with free food, a bar and live music. Inside the saloon, patrons ordered pre-rolls made to their specifications or used available bongs. This was a far cry from saloons of yore, but it sure was fun and educational sitting there watching the budtenders roll joints.

Off to the saloon

(Side note: This is where marijuana party rules kick in. 1. Do not smoke all of anything at one time when you first get there. 2. Eat in stages because once you get too high, eating brings you down. I made multiple trips to the pizza oven throughout the event. 3. Drink more water than booze. 4. Don’t eat or drink any tincture or edible given to you by a really buzzed stoner. If that concoction made a pro that messed up, just imagine what it will do to you! Say “Thank You” and put it in your pocket for later.)

At the end of the event, it was easy to see how much work and effort Flow Kana made getting this far with their dream institute. The testing facility and storage spaces were still under construction, and there was still plenty to complete.

As we see so many marijuana farmers and companies going under because of the changes brought on by legalized adult usage, it’s nice to see a company trying to do something to save the small farmers and help them flourish.

I’m eager to see what comes next at the Flow Cannabis Institute. Now, it’s time to light up!

Puff: Grow your own at home? You’ll need pot(s)

Inside the A Pot For Pot kit. Photo by Dan Karkoska

PUFF I do not have a green thumb, nor have I ever wanted to have one. My grandfather was a farmer, and my dad always had a giant garden in the backyard when I was growing up. They provided me with enough terrible tasks and duties in their gardens to make me never want to get dirt under my fingernails again. Until I met Joshua Mezher….

Mezher and his partner Jason Levin created apotforpot.com, where you can grow your own cannabis plant in the comforts of your own urban dwelling. Both worked in the industry and wanted to find something beyond just growing weed. Mezher told me they were in Home Depot, walking through the planting supplies and they thought, “Hey, wait a minute, no one has ever sold a grow-it-yourself marijuana plant kit before.”

Now running the company from their apartment in the Tenderloin, the two are setting out to teach us all how to grow our own weed. The slogan is “just add water,” and there are two kits available: the Windowsill two-gallon kit (Marked at $100, currently on sale for $59.99) and the Balcony five-gallon kit ($99.95). I  chose the Windowsill kit and was told to expect anywhere between two to three ounces harvested from my plant. 

Items included in the kit. Photo by Dan Karkoska.

I opened my box and discovered everything I would need to grow, including a fungal root pack, coco brick, and aeration mix. I have no idea what some of these things are (well, I recognized the fabric pot), so I am relying on the instructions that came in the box. I have read them several times and feel prepared for the task at hand. Joshua also assured me that he would be on hand for advice if need be.

So far, I have seeded the feminized pot seed by soaking it. (Actually, I am lying. Joshua gave me a seedling because he was out of seeds that day, but I am just creating the full experience for the sake of the story). I took the coco brick and soaked it in water. I mixed Perlite and diatomaceous earth with it. Then I took the provided felt growing bag and filled the bottom with Super Soil, then the coco-perlite mix, then the seed-plant.

Planting begins! Photo by Dan Karkoska

I had the luxury of doing this in my own back yard, but it can be easily done in your kitchen. Just put down newspaper because it is very messy. I recommend having a big five gallon bucket ready for mixing the Coco and Perlite mixture. I used a large pyrex bowl, and it was way too small.

How exciting! If I can pull this off and grow a nice marijuana plant, ANYONE can do it.

My father was supportive and a bit amused. I’m sure he remembered the younger me constantly avoiding any kind of garden duties like pulling weeds or picking vegetables. It was a torture chamber for me, withering under that incandescent Texas sun where rotten vegetables, icky worms, insects, and irritable snakes waited to pounce on me at every turn.

Say hello to Mary Lou. Photo by Dan Karkoska

Here I am, all those years later. I never garden or grow anything, except maybe in the back of my refrigerator in a leftovers bowl, but that is purely unintentional. I step back into the arena because the power of weed compels me. If there is one thing that would make me ever garden again, it is cannabis.

So, I named my plant Mary Lou (She is Mary Jane’s sister). I am hopeful and excited to watch her grow and flower. There will be updates to follow. Joshua, I have you on speed dial.

Puff: From Peron to Prop. 64

Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary, photo by Dan Nicoletta.

PUFF History was made in the Castro on a bench at Cafe Flore in 1974. Dennis Peron shared a joint with Mary Jane Rathburn aka Brownie Mary and the two became friends. That friendship would lead to a shared devotion to bring cannabis medicine to cancer patients, and later AIDS patients. It would lead to the passing of Prop 215, creating medicinal marijuana, and changing the world.

Brownie Mary passed in 1999, and we lost Peron recently to cancer. I was lucky to be part of the memorial in his honor on March 11. It was a fantastic affair. The street was blocked off on Noe Street at Market. There was a giant tent erected with an amazing altar to Peron inside as well as music, a light show and giant blown-up photographs of his life’s highlights. Free food and drinks plus plenty to toke.

Noe Street was blocked off on March 11 for a celebration of Dennis Peron’s life. Photo by Marke B.

Then there were the speakers. They came from far and wide. Some were active participants in the history of medicinal marijuana. Some were lifelong fans and patients. Of course, there were the politicians to pay homage to the man who defied the law when he co-founded the very first medicinal dispensary at Church and Market called the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club.

DJ Steve Fabus warms up the crowd at the Dennis Peron memorial. Photo by Marke B.

There were tributes to Peron everywhere. Everyone had wonderful things to say about this man and the legacy he left. But where is that love now for the cannabis industry he helped create? Politicians had no problem showing up and praising Dennis Peron; all the while the city and state have shown little of that kindness to the people continuing the fight.

Many people are feeling like they got a raw deal by Prop 64, which legalized marijuana this year. They say that it was pushed through by key members of the community who supported it because it released people from prison and was a stepping stone to a better law. That’s good; but these same key members already had a firm financial standing in the cannabis community. So when January came, they were just fine and could pay for all the crazy licensing fees and tests necessary to comply with the legalization standards. But lots of other people who followed all the official guidelines and advice given leading up to the change found a hostile environment.

Some California cities are not allowing edibles makers to rent any kitchen space to prepare their products. People who at one time ran very successful and profitible businesses are being reduced to cooking in their own kitchen, or worse. One friend of mine followed all the advice given to him, had a great space available in Oakland that he was paying rent on, and then he was fined and kicked out because of new regulations.

Of course not every story ends that way. There are lots of companies that have leaped over every hurdle put in front of them and made it through the gauntlet relatively unscathed. But when you look at the fact that only 1% of marijuana growers are currently licensed to grow in California, you know something is up.

You take a rebel group that has maintained its existence outside of the law for years. You finally get them out in the open and talk them into going legit for recreational cannabis. Then you throw all these rules and regulations at them which they grudgingly agree to. After the law goes into effect, lots of bad things about the new law pop up all over the place and their world turns toxic. What happens then? The rebels go back home and take their marijuana plants with them.

The black market for marijuana is insane right now. No one in the industry wants to pay all the taxes, and for many, the bad outweighs the good. Sure, the dispensaries are full of new patients buying guilt-free, legal weed, but soon the unhappiness in the vendor/grower world is going to have an impact on that.

Basically, the state is taking all the good that Dennis Peron spent his life working on and tearing it up to make room for something ore sinister. Gone is the compassion and caring that go with the medicinal cannabis movement, and now we have cold, unemotional business taking over. That was in part expected, but the soul of the marijuana movement is truly being tested. There are still many compassionate people in the industry, and we need to center their voices again.

So I hope all those politicians hailing Peron in public at his memorial will bring those thoughts with them to their offices, and try to bring a little of the caring back into the law.

California needs to look at the detrimental impact Prop 64 is having and make changes now!

It’s time to light up!

Puff: Cannabis sample boxes are perfect for newbies and connoisseurs alike

A nice full Kannibox. Photo by Johnny Kat

PUFF Walking into a marijuana dispensary can be intimidating, especially if you’re not sure what you want, or what will affect you in what way. The best way to learn these things is through sampling. When I first started hanging out in the canna community, sampling was what you did at every gathering. Now, with Prop 64 in place, no samples are allowed (a move that strikes me as odd and should have been struck down in the first meeting about it). I’m told that they’re currently trying to change that in Sacramento as I type—until then, I’d recommend some 420 box sets to get your feet wet. 

The idea first came to me last December when I read about Coast2Coast Medicinals in Canada creating a Cannabis Christmas Calendar where you opened a new box with a different gram of weed each day of the month; a kind of advent calendar with benefits. “What a great idea,” I thought. Then I read that they were inundated with more requests than they could fill, and I knew they were really on to something.

The Weekend Box is already all over Nevada and is attempting to make waves in California. You either order it ahead of time online or visit a dispensary that carries them and voila, it’s a party in a box!

A snazzy Weekend Box. Photo by Johnny Kat.

The Weekend Box I sampled came with an eighth of sativa flower, an eighth of indica, a vape pen and cartridge, a pre-rolled joint, a bag of gummy edibles, a jar of Papa & Barkley CBD topical, a glass pipe, lighter, assorted stickers, and a booklet.

Three avid marijuana enthusiasts sampled the box with me. We argued whether or not it was actually enough product for a full weekend’s party considering we were big stoners—and eventually decided it was more than enough. We enjoyed all the products. They were all good quality although they didn’t label the strains of flower beyond Rise for sativa and Rest for indica. I especially liked the terpy, sweet flavor of my Maui Wowie vape pen and the tangy watermelon gummy strips.

Inside the Weekend Box. Photo by Johnny Kat.

For beginners, the booklet is key. It describes each item in the box and its uses, strength, etc. It’s a wealth of information to help the buyer learn about the product, so on their next trip to the dispensary, they will come in with more knowledge about what they want to purchase. For the regular user, it’s an informative and well put together refresher course.

The Weekend Box can be filled with whatever themed products you want: The CBD Box, The Wedding Box, etc. They even recently teamed up with Caviar Gold for a special limited edition box. The options seem endless.

Another box set idea coming to you soon is the Kannibox. Michelle and Randy Dizitser have created a monthly box service that will give you the chance to taste and sample a whole array of cannabis products. 

Kannibox special delivery! Photo by Johnny Kat.

You simply sign up for the monthly service at $45/month and create your personal profile. Every four weeks you get a new box of samples and then you can let them know what items you liked and disliked. The next box will keep your new preferences in mind. If there is something you simply love, you can order the full-size product and have it delivered.

Each company that Kannibox represents gets their own page to post reviews and explanations of their product.

The box I sampled had a couple of nice edibles, two Lolas pre-rolls, Papa & Barkley CBD ointment, a gram of flower and a breath spray. I enjoyed all the products, but the real winner was the Gold Seal flower. It was a beautiful, frosty bud and a real pleasure to crack open with friends.

A frosty Golden Seal flower from Kannibox. Photo by Johnny Kat.

Kannibox is a one-stop sample shop and delivery service. They will begin service soon. Sign up today to be first in line.

There are many other cannabis box options coming your way, soon, especially around holidays—why not start thinking up your own cannabis boxing idea for gifts and to introduce newcomers? We’re on the vanguard of legalized marijuana, so the options are unlimited to what you come up with. We are all making history here. Go for it!

Now it’s time to light up! 

Puff: Why isn’t SF a cannabis sanctuary city?

PUFF On February 13, the city of Berkeley declared itself a sanctuary city for recreational marijuana, firmly kicking San Francisco’s cool cred in the butt. As proposed by mayor Jesse Arreguin and passed by the city council, no Berkeley department, agency, commission, officer or employee “shall use any city funds or resources to assist in the enforcement of federal drug laws related to cannabis.”

“The city of Berkeley does not support cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration in its efforts to undermine state and local marijuana laws,” the resolution states.

“In light of threats by Attorney General Sessions regarding a misguided crackdown on our democratic decision to legalize recreational cannabis, we have become what may be the first city in the country to declare ourselves a sanctuary city for cannabis,” Arreguin tweeted.

Good news for sure—and this is the kind of thing San Francisco should have been doing from the start, but conservative elements grabbed the plant and turned it into a blunt, political tool rather than a joyous, recreational element that could transform this city.

The keepers of the city have consistently shrugged at this new green world and seem to miss the fact that the marijuana industry currently emerging may eventually have the economic and cultural power to send the tech bros packing. San Francisco, the city closest to the Emerald Triangle, could position itself to be THE biggest cannabis vacation destination on the planet especially once you throw in wine country, foodies, and the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Looks like all those emerald tourists will be going to Berkeley instead.

(So: Why would the green bros be better than the tech bros? From my experience, green bros are more chill, smoke weed and support the arts. They come from the medicinal marijuana world which is much more compassionate and social. They have all kinds of diverse interactions through outreach, meetings, and clubs—political, potlucks, dab sessions, smoke outs, seniors groups…the list goes on.

Many of the techies I know aren’t adding to the City’s cultural diversity because they are too busy working. They get on the Google bus every work day, go to their Google office, eat in the Google cafeteria, ride home on the same bus, play video games and order food delivery. 

Now, I like and use Google all the time as well as video games and food delivery, but I also go out, see people, take part in the community I live in and support the arts as much as I can on my non-Google salary.)

So Berkeley gets it. They have made the big move to welcome cannabis with an open mind, open heart and open wallet. Let it rain green manna from heaven on them, and we can sit here across the Bay Bridge and play with our stupid pot envelopes and complain about ordinances.

And of course, the feds do not get it. They are too busy trying to push the agenda that marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug and has no medical merit at all despite all the evidence to the contrary. 

San Francisco is really slow at getting it. If the powers that be are so concerned about where we get high and how far from “the children” we must be not to corrupt them, then provide a place for us to go once we smoke legal cannabis. (Weed World, from my previous column is still on the table. I need a venture capitalist pronto!)

Make it fun! Why this stigma? We have been happy medical marijuana patients for years here in this amazing city, only to suddenly feel less legal under legalization!

So Berkeley wins this round. They see the past and look forward to the future by making a bold move against Sessions and his anti-marijuana agenda. To the victor, the spoils.
San Francisco, it’s now your turn. Time to light up!

Puff: Ode to edibles

Clarified cinnamon sugar cookies, sold at Magnolia Wellness.

PUFF We all have had that fear. Being clueless at a party and eating two brownies only to find out they are medicated, and your near future entails a lot of staring off into the distance alone in a dark room, far away from the fun.

Edibles have a reputation for being unpredictable and strong if you aren’t careful how much you eat. You are dealing with not only the dose and strength, but also what and how much was in your stomach beforehand, how long ago you ate, if you are active or not… The list goes on. It is the one way of taking cannabis that depends on a lot more than if it is an indica or sativa.

As Prop 64 dawns in California, the most affected form of marijuana consumption is (drumroll) the edible! No longer may edibles look like anything that will appeal to children, so no more gummies or candy. Labeling can not appeal to children. They must be in a child-proof container. (Which we all know kids can open better than adults, Duh!)

As for dosage, edibles may be no stronger than 10mg each—which is sad because I loved those 20mg BREEZ mints. Two of those, snacks, and a movie are a great date. So now I gotta eat 4, twist my arm! In keeping with the idea of microdosing, all this is fine. You just have to rejigger your dose, and you’ll probably end up paying more for the same high.

The size of packaging is topped off at 100mg which according to many is too low for medicinal users.

“It is kind of offensive and a punishment to our most seriously ill patients who have very high tolerances and need a high dose,” said Debby Goldsberry, director of Magnolia Wellness, a dispensary and community center in Oakland, in a recent Leafly article. “I think regulators didn’t spend enough time looking at the needs of the most critically ill members, because this regulation is going to harm them. We need regulations that are going to support them. We need to flip this regulation completely.”

Another article in the Higher Path cites the Canna Law Blog: “California will also not be allowing cannabis-infused alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine products and cannabis products won’t be able to be made of ‘potentially hazardous food.’ Potentially hazardous food is essentially any food ‘capable of supporting the growth of infectious of toxigenic microorganisms when held at temperatures above 41 degrees Fahrenheit.’ So if it has to be kept at under 41 degrees Fahrenheit or is a dairy or meat product, its a no-go. (Say it ain’t so, infused ice cream!)” 

So no weed booze, weed caffeinated sodas, teas or coffees, or weed ice cream. Boo!

I prepared myself and have several large-dose brownies and cookies in my freezer (some ice cream too!). It’s not that I eat a lot of large dose edibles on a regular basis, but I kinda got swept up in the “You can’t tell me what to do” sentiment and went on a spending spree at the Emerald Cup.

Of course, all this is meant to protect the recreational consumer. This is a brave new marijuana world and the rec weed creators will need to catch up to what the medicinal marijuana community has known for years. They just have to learn to play together better and hopefully there will be changes made soon to sort it all out.

Again, that fear of the toxic brownie at the party lives on!

It’s time to light up!

Read more Puff cannabis coverage here

Puff: After legalization – what now?

Line wound down the block when it was announced that several SF dispensaries, like Apothecarium, received last-minute license to sell legal cannabis. Photo by Darwin Bell.

PUFF Bang! 2018 is here. All the balloting, arguing, politicking, voting and discussing are over, and cannabis is legal for adults to use recreationally in California. Whew! Now what?

First of all get high! If you are one of those people who always bought in quantity from friends and avoided the cost of a card, go out to one of the dispensaries in San Francisco licensed to sell recreational marijuana and treat yourself. Buy a preroll or a vape pen or an edible. Buy some strain with a crazy-ass name (we all do it, Space Donkey comes to mind) just so you can go tell your friends what you have to share with them. There is no commitment now, so go and experiment: There are a lot of fun ways to get high these days.

For the regular dispensary consumer, don’t freak out about paying the crazy taxes laid on our beloved plant. Just know that it was tough in the beginning for all the states that have made the change. As soon as this crazy new pot machine gets running, the planners will look at what is wrong and start making changes. (At least they have promised to do so.) Things will smooth out. Specials and bargains will happen again. Just remember every time you pay that tax, you voted that in for a large part to keep people out of jail, and to release those unjustly serving time.

Everyone in the cannabis industry is scrambling to get the proper license, packaging, and doses for their products to make it through the process. This is a group of companies, organizations, and farms that for years created the compassionate care we know as medicinal marijuana. Well, Prop 64 is replacing that finely, oiled machine with the giant, robotic hand of commerce. Both will coexist eventually, but it will take a while. During that time many amazing companies with the best of intentions will close, disappear or meld into another group. From all accounts, it has been a crazy rollercoaster for these companies to comply, so my hat is off to those slogging through it all.

Right now the important thing is to watch who gets the power and what they do with it. It is imperative that through equity we help those who made a name for themselves in this industry and might not have all the skills to immediately compete in this new version of Weed World. We are asking them to come out of the Green Closet to no longer be outside the law and not only have a business model and logo but with proper licensing and testings to go with it. That is a lot to accomplish. Let’s not let them fall behind so they can get a proper piece of the stoner pie they helped bake.

So we will party and celebrate victory in 2018 and smoke a big fattie for all those who brought us here — Dennis Peron, Brownie Mary, Lynette Shaw, Jack Herer, Valerie Corral, and Steve DeAngelo, to name a few. I will see you in line at your local dispensary as I wait patiently for another hit of that Space Donkey.

It’s time to light up!

At Emerald Cup, the art of dabbing

Coveted Emerald Cup trophies for best buds.

PUFF A couple of weeks ago I made the pilgrimage north of San Francisco to Santa Rosa to experience the Emerald Cup, the big Kahuna of marijuana events. Let me just say, I was a little intimidated as I rode on that bus.

I knew there would be lots of dabbing. Dabbing is the process of basically freebasing marijuana oil from a bong like contraption. You get super high. I’ve had experiences where I get a nice buzz and have a lovely time, and then there was last Valentine’s Day where I got super fucked up, could barely walk and ended up face-planted in my bed 2 hours later. The latter was what I was afraid would happen to me at the Cup in front of thousands.

Emerald Cup entrants

The Emerald Cup takes place on the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. It is very similar to any fair with exhibition halls, food, and music. Of course, here you have to go through the 215 Check-In where you show your pot card and ID to get your wristband so you can get into the cannabis use space.

The use spaces were these giant tents. Inside were hundreds of booths featuring marijuana companies from mostly the Mendocino and Humboldt areas. They were ready to smoke you out in every conceivable way.

So I dabbed, small ones at first, but like the Energizer Bunny, I just kept on going. I met people, chatted, and then we would head to another booth to do more. I found that there was a sociability in the high. I could talk and communicate one moment and then find myself staring off into the distance like Carrie at the prom the next. You can only get so high and after that you just color what high you want to have at that moment. Too stoney? Dab a Sativa.

DJ Dank with Weed Santa at Emerald Cup

I did learn the importance of water, fresh air, food, and CBD while dabbing. Drink as much water as possible. This will keep you fresh and moving. The tents fill up with EVERYONE’s dabs, so go outside and breath fresh air from time to time. Anytime you get too high, eat something! It will sober you up.

Remember CBD (Cannabidiol) is the part of marijuana that deals with pain management? Well, it also taps down paranoia and can sober you up when you get too high. We found a wonderful 10:1 ratio CBD vape pen by Eel River Organics and would go by their booth periodically and sample it. Of note, Eel River has some of the stronger vapes I have tried, so one-stop shopping there.

I got through the first day with flying colors. My whole group did! We even went back for more the next day. I was dab crazy and probably did 3 dabs in the first 15 minutes. Woohoo! When you do that many dabs, you can start recognizing and appreciating the flavors or terpenes.

Flower from Positive Roots Garden

My favorites included HoneyButter Rosin Co, a small company out of Willits. I was intrigued by the honey butter concept until I found out it was the names of their dogs in their logo. Their Candyland rosin was one of my favorites, and I loved their logo.

Another was Positive Roots Garden out of Chico. Nice guys, nice buds and their dabs were great. I bought an 1/8th of their Cry Baby flower. Very nice bud.

Guild Extracts had many great dabs with the most popular being Delta 8. The Zkittlez dab at Deviant Dabs was lovely as well.

The scene outside the cannabis use space

As for alcohol. There were a few small areas where you could drink, and they were nowhere near the cannabis pavilions. You had to show ID to get in and could not leave the area with your drink. I saw no drunken behaviour. Actually, I saw no bad behaviour whatsoever. No fights, no arguments, just a bunch of stoners having a good time bumping into each other constantly and saying “Sorry, man.”

So I conquered my dabbing fears and had an amazing and informative time at The Emerald Cup 2017, the last of its kind before recreational weed takes over in January 2018. What will next year bring? Who knows, but no matter what, I do know that the cannabis community will survive and thrive in their new world, and that we will all live to dab another day.

It’s time to light up.

Puff: The Weed-Lover’s Holiday Gift Guide

Photo by Dan Karkoska and Johnny Kat

PUFF Fear not frazzled holiday shopper! Here is my list of stocking stuffables and potent presents for the marijuana lover in your life. Rest assured, these do not have to be only gifts for someone else. They can always be self-gifts to help you buzz through the holiday with as little stress as possible. And many are made locally. Here they are in alphabetical order. 

Photo by Dan Karkoska and Johnny Kat

Medicated mints
Original Mint tin, 5 mg each, total 250mg THC, price: $20.
Cinnamon CBD Mint tin, 5 mg each THC and CBD, total 400mg, price: $40.
Royal Mint tin, 20 mg each THC, total 1000 mg, price: $50.

One of my favorite ways to medicate. These microdosing marvels will also leave your breath fresh and minty. You can go for a mild high to give you that little lift or take two 20mg and I’ll call you in the morning.

Where: Flower Power, Green Door, Urban Pharm, Flow Kana, Buzz Delivery, Waterfall Wellness.
Website: www.breezmints.com

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Infused mini pre-rolls
Three pre-roll tin, Top Shelf Bud, CO2 Wax, Kief, Terps, S. Silver Haze, Sativa, price: $22. Three pre-roll tin, Top Shelf Bud, CO2 Wax, Kief, Terps, OG Kush, Indica, price: $22.

A true find. These powerful pre-rolls will give you a great and strong high. They actually look fuzzy from all the kief. I have only located them at one location, Flower Power. Worth it!

Where: Flower Power.
Website: www.sublimeco2.com

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Fiu pak half gram smokes, price: $30.

New to the Bay Area from down south in LA. These have lovely packaging. I tried one, well two, with three friends, and we all enjoyed it. I was happy and stupid for hours afterwards, so thumbs up!

Where: Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana 
Website: www.henrysoriginal.com

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500mg cartridges
Top Shelf J1 (Jack Herer x Skunk), Sativa, 82.6% THC, 1.3% CBD.
Carpenteria (Private Reserve OG), Hybrid, 82.8% THC, 0.24% CBD.
Darth Vapor (Blackberry Kush x Mr. Nice), Indica Cross, 82.1% THC, 1.18% CBD.

These guys are putting out new flavors right and left. They had me at Darth Vapor, a 90% Indica. It is powerful. I’m currently enjoying their new Top Shelf label J1 (91% Sativa), and I have no complaints. Coming soon, Janis Joplin (75% Hybrid), Sweet Dreams (75% Indica), Blue Dream (82% Hybrid) and Sour Glue (84% Sativa). I love all the names.

Where: Purple Star SF, Grass Roots SF, Dutchman’s Flat, CBCB (Berkeley), Phytologie Oakland.
How much: $35.
Website: www.himalayavapor.com

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Cannabis topicals and natural products
0.5 oz Eye & Lip Cream, 3.9 mg/mL THC, 2.1 mg/mL CBD, price: $28.
1 fl oz High CBD Healing Facial Serum, 1.4 mg/mL THC, 2.1 mg/mL CBD, price: $34.
0.34 oz Medicated Massage Oil, 88.2 mg CBD, price: $14.

Nice packaging and quality ingredients make these a must for the cannabis-healing curious. I like the roller ball dispenser on the massage oil.

Where: SAVA, Foggy Days delivery service. Order directly at [email protected] Website: www.littlegreenbee.net

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Natural Cannabis Sodas
Flavors: Cola, Lemon Lime, Ginger Root. 12 fl oz, 50mg THC, price: $12-$15
12 fl oz, 5mg THC, low dose, price: $5
Fire Cider Tonic, 160 mg cannabis, $22-$24

The flavors are great. They pack a punch at 50mg per bottle. I love the label. It is great over ice or mixed with your favorite booze. A great way to get high and enjoy a tasty beverage. They have low dose 5mg and non-medicated sodas as well.

The wellness tonic has co2 cannabis oil, apple cider vinegar, wildflower honey, ginger, tumeric, orange and lemon juice and peel, garlic, horseradish, habanero pepper, quillaja bark and citric acid. Sounds like it is ready to kick some ass! The perfect thing to have around during the cold and flu season.

Where: Harvest, Sparc, Urban Pharm, BASA, Purple Heart, 7 Stars, and Blum in the East Bay.
Website: www.manzamadrone.com

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Flower-infused pre-rolls
Emerald Triangle Blend Tin, 2 Indica pre-rolls, 2 Sativa pre-rolls, Infused with hash oil, price: $36.
Cone-oisseur, 8 mini 1⁄3 gram pre-rolls, Top Shelf Sativa and Indica fortified with hash oil, price: $50.
Pre-rolls fortified with hash oil: Sour Diesel, Sativa, price: $11.
Honey Banana, Hybrid, price: $11. Zkittlez, Indica, price: $11.
High CBD, price: $12.

Lovely, quality pre-rolls full of fresh flower and mighty hash oil. The Emerald Triangle four-pak tin is perfect for a stocking stuffer.

Where: Barbary Coast SF, Grass Roots SF.
Website: www.medi-cone.com

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Medicated edibles
Solar Flare Chocolate Chip Cookies, 10mg CBD per serving, 50 mg CBD per box, price: $20.
Super Nova Cookies Trail Mix, 10mg THC per serving, 50 mg THC per box, price: $22.

As I write this I have moved the remaining cookies away from my reach because I could eat the whole package, and I don’t want to get too stoned. If you like a nutty, seedy edibles, these are great. Moonman also has all kinds of cookie choices on their website from vegan to ones without nuts and seeds. You can order from their website, like some mail-order stoner Girls Scout Cookie kinda thing! A delicious and healthy way to microdose.

Where: You can purchase items and find locations on their website.
Website: www.moonmansmistress.com 

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Hand-rolled shatter joint with a fusilli pasta crutch
Strawberry Banana Flower with Blueberry Jack BHO Snake shatter, Sativa, price: $20. Zkittlez Flower with Royal Sour BHO Snake shatter, Indica, price: $20.

It could just be about the great packaging and quality flower and shatter, but then there is the twirled (fusilli) pasta crutch at the end. That is the piece de resistance. It is a gluten free pasta so it will not absorb moisture from the mouth, it cools the smoke and helps the joint to burn smoothly. Plus it is a great gimmick. Try one. You will like it. It makes a great gift too.

Where: Flower Power, Dutchman’s Flat, Harvest, Bloom Room SF, Harborside Oakland, Green Remedy (Richmond), 7 Stars (Richmond), Northstar (Sacramento), Redwood Herbal Alliance (Santa Rosa).
Website: www.pacificremedy.com

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RCG CBD soft gels, 25 mg CBD each.
2 tablet pak, price: $5.
15 tablet container, price: $38
30 tablet container, price: $70
60 tablet container, price: $120

These CBD gel caps have really helped me with body pain. I suggest you try them out.

Where: Most smoke shops and dispensaries in the Bay Area.

Photo by Dan Karkoska and Johnny Kat

5 ml, price: $5
30 ml, price: $15

That perfect little something for the blunt and cigar smoker in your life. The glue itself will not get you high.

Where: Most smoke shops and dispensaries in the Bay Area.
Website: www.sfrootsca.com 

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Cannabis-infused coffee
4 fl oz, 10mg THC, price: $8.
8 fl oz, 15 mg THC, price $12.
8 fl oz, 30mg THC, price: $15.

Microdosing with your morning coffee. Teaming with Ritual Coffee, the team at Somatik has put together a lovely concoction to give you that lift any time of the day.

Where: All Apothecarium locations, Sava, All Harvest locations and Barbary Coast . Website: www.somatik.us

Photo by Dan Karkoska and Johnny Kat

Cannabis-infused coffee beans made with Ritual coffee
1 ban, 3mg THC , price $19.
1 box, 99mg THC, price: $19.

These yummy chocolate covered Ritual Coffee beans are a fun way to get a little 3mg cannabis kick in your day.

Where: Sava (www.getsava.com) and M Club.

There you have it. A list of cannabis treats for the holidays and beyond. Remember, if you find a product you especially like, take the time to write a note to the company on their website or Facebook page. They will appreciate it and can use your testimonial to better promote their product!

Now it’s time to light up!