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Working in Cannabis: balancing activism and protection

I received a couple of notes via social media that questioned my cannabis activism based on my anonymity. So here’s my take.

People who work in the cannabis industry must face some realities that those in other trades never experience. The most common reality is the idea that every time you do your job, there is a strong possibility that you’re breaking federal law.

While the public might see marijuana as a legal grey area, the fact still stands that the Justice Department has made it clear that it will prosecute marijuana cases as it sees fit.

Activism is a choice, but a different choice for everyone. A great example of this outside the context of cannabis is this: Kim Kardashian posted a naked selfie and provided commentary about her choice to do so. She cited her pride in her body and encouraged all women to take pride in their body, “Whatever the case may be I’m grateful to God for this miracle & no matter what rumors or comments you throw my way this time they truly don’t affect me!” she said on Instagram.

A teacher in South Carolina lost her job after a student stole her phone and distributed her naked selfies, which were intended for private use. This teacher didn’t post the photos anywhere on social media. While school officials tried to make it sound like she was fired for not doing her job, I would wager she would not have lost her job had they been photos of her playing tennis.

Two women. Two nude images. Vastly different consequences. Kim Kardashian keeps her job (whatever that may be) and a woman who was a victim of hacking is fired from her job. Kim has a fortune that can protect her from the consequences of her choices so they “truly don’t affect” her, while the teacher in South Carolina may have trouble making ends meet as a result of a thoughtless 16-year-old.

While this may seem like commentary on feminism*, it illustrates how two people can experience vastly different consequences from the same choice. An owner of a cannabis company may be able to go on CNN and talk about their product, or even buy the naming rights to a stadium, but that person probably has legal counsel on standby should the Justice Department decide to poke around. A part-time cannabis blogger will undoubtedly struggle far more against federal prosecution.

Personally, The LA Lady is a way for me to protect myself and my family. Most of us have other jobs, families, friends and colleagues that could be affected, should the federal government decide that writing about cannabis, or using medical marijuana, harms the public. Protecting myself doesn’t mean I’m less of an activist for taking into consideration my livelihood and the well-being of those around me, nor does it mean that those who publicly display their cannabis use are reckless. It means we all have different lives with different responsibilities. Shaming people who are afraid of the consequences will not aid your cause, but rather alienate your quieter allies.

 

*It’s almost an argument about class. Kim has millions of dollars to insulate her from whatever idiotic thing she decides to do. The teacher privately celebrates her body and loses her job. She doesn’t have millions of dollars to fight wrongful termination. In suggesting that women should celebrate their bodies, Kim is shaming those who don’t have the freedom to post nude selfies by not acknowledging her incredible privilege. She isn’t shy about flaunting her wealth and privilege and is a poor representation of feminism.

 

What I’ve been up to this spring

A 1936 propaganda film about the alleged dangers of cannabis.
A 1936 propaganda film about the alleged dangers of cannabis.

What’s up, Internet Universe? The LA Lady has been out trying new products and writing about cannabis. The more I write about cannabis culture, the more I realize that it’s going to take a while before we end prohibition, but it’s going to take even longer to remove the stigma of cannabis from the nation’s conscious. I posted a bunch of pics on Instagram of anti-marijuana propaganda for 4/20. It seems like we haven’t evolved much since the early 1900’s in terms of scare tactics, even though cannabis legislation continues to move forward.

I think this would also fall under slut-shaming. Not cool. Anti-pot #propaganda from 1949. #420

A photo posted by The LA Lady (@thelalady) on

Anti-pot #propaganda film from 1938. #420

A photo posted by The LA Lady (@thelalady) on

What I’ve been writing

While Lori Ajax seems like a capable government worker, she is rather clueless about marijuana. Her background in regulating alcohol is notable. But California voters and doctors have already established cannabis as a medicine. Her experience comes from policing a substance with no medicinal value, so we’ll see if she has what it takes to regulate marijuana.

https://www.whaxy.com/news/lori-ajax-california

The downside of heavily taxed and regulated medical marijuana is expensive medical marijuana. States like New York whose medical marijuana prices are far above street values means patients can’t get what they need. And since New York’s program is quite stringent, it means patients with debilitating conditions like HIV/AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis are having to pay hundreds of dollars for their medicine, which can lead to patients seeking out black market sources or prescription painkillers, the latter of which is part of a major epidemic.

https://www.whaxy.com/news/cost-of-medical-marijuana-new-york

California voters have another opportunity to legalize recreational marijuana. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act would allow Californians ages 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and up to six plants. Because this ballot measure is so well-funded, so publicly visible and has had a ton of input from state legislators, physicians and public health experts, it would be astonishing if it didn’t pass. The downside means smaller cannabis business will have a harder time getting off the ground due to heavy regulation and taxes. I’m hoping that there will be enough space in the market for smaller companies committed to making great products, as opposed to larger companies committed to making money for their shareholders.

https://www.whaxy.com/news/legalization-california-ballot

Product of the month: Jambo THC Potion!

thc-potion-500mg

Tinctures continue to improve in potency and this sublingual/oral spray contains enough peppermint oil that I consider it a discrete breath spray as well as a potent medical marijuana product. Each spray contains about 3mg of THC, so you can get a fairly precise dose depending on your needs. It also comes in a CBD version, which is already on my shopping list.

I got this product from Greenly, which is a great Los Angeles dispensary.

Check out the product page on Jambo’s website here.

The LA Lady writes: what I’ve been writing around the web

Hello readers! Here’s what I was up to in March:

Never get tired of the view. #centraloregon #oregon #mtbachelor #bend #latergram

A photo posted by The LA Lady (@thelalady) on


NFL Players Calls for Cannabis Policy Reform: The NFL is still taking a ridiculously narrow-minded approach, considering how much their players are suffering, during and after their careers.

Reviews: AbsoluteXtracts Honey Straws: These are fantastic and so versatile. I think you’re going to be seeing more honey straws, if for no other reason than honey acts as a great substrate for those looking to incorporate a cannabis edible into another food, like toast or tea.

Should this Empty Prison Be Converted Into a Cannabis Oil Production Facility? Update: City Council decides yes!

Reviews: Care By Design’s 1:1 CBD sublingual spray: I got a few twitter DM’s and emails about this, since I suggested it could be swapped out for acetaminophen or ibuprofen from time to time. Well, for me, it can. Leave a message in the comments if you feel strongly about this!

Bernie Sanders Reveals How Many Times He Smoked Pot: …and this is about as much as I’ll talk about the election.

Reviews: AbsoluteXtracts Vape Cartridge in Blue Jay Way: For patients looking to medicate, a vape cartridge is such a simple, easy way to get your meds with very little fuss. As much as I love the social ritual of rolling a joint, passing a pipe or grinding up plant material, it’s not ideal when your IBS is acting up or you have a 4-alarm migraine on its way.

Reviews: AbsoluteXtracts Sativa Spray: This is a fun one that I’ve already repurchased.

Currently, I’m doing a Central Oregon travel guide for Cannabis lovers, so look for that in the coming week or so!

Don’t forget to follow The LA Lady on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

 

Why the FDA’s data doesn’t apply to Polyethylene glycol (PEG) in vape cartridges

Photo from Sodanie Chea

The marijuana industry is still in its infancy, but that hasn’t stopped ambitious entrepreneurs from developing new ways to consume marijuana. In general, products are much more potent than they were even a few years ago, and it’s partially due to the advent of cannabis concentrates. Connoisseurs will be familiar with cannabis concentrates like wax, shatter, budder, crumble and oil, but vape cartridges containing some of these concentrates are appealing to new users for their convenience and ease of use.

It’s not surprising at all. The devices used to consume concentrates can be hundreds of dollars, and people new to cannabis aren’t likely to make such an investment on a whim. So when a bud tender presents a disposable marijuana e-cigarette for under $20 to a brand new cannabis consumer, it will appeal far more than a $50 for a customer interested in vaping extracts.

The problem with some of these cheaper vape products is the additive known as PEG, or polyethylene glycol. As one scientist quoted to me when I asked for a laymen’s summary, “it’s great for getting stuff in and out of other stuff.” It has many industrial applications, but its FDA-approved use in medical applications is how vape cartridge manufacturers justify its presence in their products.

In a cartridge, PEG helps make marijuana extracts more viscous, allowing for better vaporization. This especially benefits disposable e-cig products that have a weak power source. It can be found in inhalers, laxatives, eyedrops and in pills for slowing the rate of absorption, giving the pill a time-release effect.

So what do these applications, and the FDA’s assessment of PEG, have in common? None of them involve the heating of PEG to temperatures much higher than the human body’s core temperature.

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Movie Review: Rolling Papers: a portrait of Marijuana Legalization

ROLLING-PAPERS_KA_HORIZ 5.31.23 PM

First, I’d like to mention that I’m grateful to be able to view this film on demand, in my own home. And if you think I had a few tokes while I watched this, you’d be correct.

Judging from the trailer, I assumed Rolling Papers would be a summary of Colorado’s marijuana from well-covered angles, without delving too deeply.

I was partially correct. This film is great for someone who knows little about Colorado’s legal marijuana scene and wants a top-sheet of the status quo. It doesn’t contain any lengthy insight on federal legalization or the intricacies of marijuana-based businesses. Those topics could be films on their own. The creators went for broad appeal, as marijuana culture still resides within counter-culture and is mysterious to the masses. In that way, this film serves as the first snapshot for future documentaries about marijuana reform in America¹.

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Medical Marijuana: leave your judgement at home

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tanj/

“People who break the law are bad.”

This is perhaps the lesson children learn immediately after learning about the concept of laws. Like so many other ideas, the dichotomy of right and wrong or good and bad lend themselves to “legal and illegal.” The human race loves contrast, and why wouldn’t we? Dualities are easy. It’s a simple way to classify our entire world. We can label something as one or the other and get on with our lives, filing away whatever judgement we’ve made for a later date. We even identify ourselves by these dichotomies. Male or Female? Republican or Democrat? Vanilla or Chocolate?

Grey areas are difficult. They’re messy and confusing, and we have a difficult time dealing with them. In the absence of dichotomies, we create complex “if-then” scenarios. Each of those are still a dichotomy but function as a whole. They create circumstance and allow us to make individual choices. They also allow us to reevaluate or revise our judgements.

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Taking a sharp right turn: writing about medical marijuana

Hello, folks. It’s been a very long time since my previous post. For anyone who previously followed my blog: this post is for you, and I ask that you give it a chance.

In addition to some new topics, I’m going to be writing about a drastically different subject matter: medical marijuana. I’ve already been doing so over at Whaxy.com and it’s been a fulfilling experience. Some of you are going to read this and not want to read about stoners. You may dislike the idea of reading about degenerate drug addicts. You may think I’m a bad person for using such a substance, regardless of the health benefits and the vast improvement in my quality of life. If so, you are misinformed.

But not to fear: many people are misinformed about cannabis. Marijuana has a complex social stigma. What I’ve found is that people don’t necessarily dislike marijuana; they dislike the people who use marijuana. Visions of hippies, draft dodgers, drug dealers and degenerates are often paired with marijuana use, but that vision is changing. For medical marijuana patients today, the vision could be anything: young people, old people, rich people, poor people, any race, any religion and so on: the face of marijuana is changing and it can look like anyone. Including me.

My writing is going to focus on marijuana as medication. It’s a complex plant that includes substances beyond THC. In fact, the “high” (while enjoyable) is secondary for me. My perspective as a user who does not smoke anything will be different than your typical long-time marijuana enthusiast.

If you’ve read this and would love nothing more than to strike my blog from your internet history, be my guest. My sincerest hope is that readers can reconsider medical marijuana objectively, without clinging to cultural history or political predispositions. If that’s outside the realm of possibility for you, then this is where I leave you, and I wish you well.

 

The Credit Card Points “Game” for the rest of Us

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When Mr. Los Angeles told me he wanted to start getting into the credit card points “game,” I was a little annoyed. It sounded like a lot of work trying to figure out which card to use when and for which purchases. At the time, I had my one solitary Visa that I used for everything. The fact that it had a points program (and and not a very good one, as it turns out) meant nothing to me. And then to redeem those points seemed even more daunting. Honestly, I don’t have the patience for that kind of minutia.

Honestly, when you look at how my time is spent, there’s not a ton of time left over to become a credit card Points Pirate:

30% working in an office
30% beauty sleep
20% being awesome (blogging is included in this category)
10% figuring out what I want on my breakfast burrito
5% laundry
5% FREE TIME.

There are plenty of people who have made credit cards points a hobby, even going so far as to bend or violate the rules of the credit card terms, usually at their own peril. Sometimes they’ll sign up for the hefty point bonus and then get rid of the card, known as “card churning.” This might work a few times but banks are hip to this scheme and are cracking down. Everyone wants something for nothing, I suppose, and initially that seemed like what I’d be getting into.

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Traveling with the LA Lady: Beauty & Makeup

Birchbox on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/ceB3Lm

Traveling puts you outside of your normal routine, which for me has meant struggling with breakouts and stressed skin on the road. My instinct is to bring my entire medicine cabinet with me “just in case” and at times I’ve needed it.

Instead of spending a fortune on new skincare and makeup products, I’ve simplified my routine and made it travel-friendly as a bonus. I’ve put together a list of what’s in my cosmetic bag, as well as a list of some of my favorites that are staying home…

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Traveling with the LA Lady: basic travel essentials

https://www.flickr.com/photos/behindthesteeringwheel/

So this year is going be big big BIG.

I will be traveling to Peru to hike up to Machu Picchu.

I will be traveling to Paris for two weeks just for funsies.

I may or may not be doing another trip to Europe… we’ll see…

But I’ve obviously been doing a ton of research (as I’m so apt to do) on my destinations, especially for my Peru trip. I want to be as prepared as possible since it will be a strenuous hike and well outside the norm. It’ll also be the first trip I’ve been on that requires a trip to the doctor for some vaccines and boosters… yeesh.

I’ll be detailing these trips, especially the gear and various preparations for Machu Picchu in subsequent posts but I’ve been browsing the internet looking for travel-friendly clothing and gear. Most of the time, anything “travel-friendly” falls under what has been (incorrectly) described as normcore. At some point it passes the point of simply being versatile and becomes boring. I swear… if I never saw a pair of wrinkle-free cargo pants again…

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