Tag Archives: America

The U.S. Pot Pipeline


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Wednesday nights have been great for one thing – new episodes of Weediquette and Bong Appetite.  These new episodes’ air on Viceland at 10 PM.  They aired the new seasons on April 19th and the episodes have been amazing so far.  Weediquette explores some of the complex dilemmas we face even with cannabis legal on the rise.  Last night’s episode dived into what is known as ‘The Pot Pipeline’.

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On episode 3, Weediquette host Krishna Andavolu follows a shipment of weed going across the country.  This pipeline of pot ships from California and drives right into New York.  There are three different routes to the destination and some of them can be much riskier than others.  This episode showcased how the legalization of cannabis ushered this golden age of weed smuggling.

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Watching this episode made me conjure up an interesting problem within the cannabis industry.  A majority of weed comes from California and is shipped all across the nation.  Since New England isn’t the best climate for growing cannabis, employers rely on shipments coming in from California (California-grown, bitches!).  States like Massachusetts and Maine are setting up their legal cannabis business that will be starting in 2018.

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Why would people choose to ship weed all the way to the New England region?  For more profits, of course!  Cannabis prices in California are DOUBLED in places like New York City or Boston.  A pound of cannabis costs roughly $1,000-$2,000 in California whereas that same pound will cost $3,000-$4,000 in Massachusetts.  Cannabis is being transported to the East Coast because it costs higher than what people get on the West Coast.

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The journey itself is a difficult one.  One trip from Los Angeles to New York City is 2,791.9 miles long, taking 41 hours total to reach your destination.  Daring travelers are driving across the country with pounds (that’s right, POUNDS) of cannabis in their vehicle.  Their task is to drive pounds of cannabis to New York and come back to California for another shipment.

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Sounds easy-peasy, right?  WRONG!  While California is a legal state, many other states have heavy fines for carrying pounds of cannabis in your vehicle.  Many states, especially in the southern region, have conservative laws where fines could lead to decades in prison.  In Oklahoma, anyone caught with 25-1000 lbs can be incarcerated from 4 years to LIFE in prison and a hefty fine of $100,00.  Life in prison, in Oklahoma, for transporting cannabis to a dispensary in New England.  Speeding tickets are one thing, but getting busted for carrying pounds of cannabis inside your vehicle is a WHOLE other ballgame!

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As you can see, transporting California-grown cannabis to legal states in New England is not an easy task.  Dispensaries depend on these cannabis strains because their customers need them for their personal use (whether it is medically or for recreational use).  Some customers have tried cannabis in California that they really enjoyed and want to see these strains in their local dispensaries.  Cannabis that is grown in California is in high demand because it’s grown so well and there’s much more strains to choose from.

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With legalization making waves around America, the pot pipeline is more essential now than ever.  We need to keep the supply flowing to satisfy the ever-growing demand around New England.  As risky as this idea is, this pipeline is the key to bringing more flavors into other states.  If legalization is becoming more of a reality in this country, why are other states not following through?  Why hasn’t states like Oklahoma or Georgia waken up this secret gold mine that is flowing across the nation?

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Whatever the other states decide on, one thing’s for certain – many states are missing out on a golden opportunity.  The pot pipeline will continue to flow as many businesses take advantage of the legal cannabis market.  As shady as this idea is, sometimes we have to jump through a few hoops to get the cannabis industry up and running.  Hopefully the noise will quiet down once legalization makes even more waves in the near future.

For now, Bostonians like me can thank adventurous Californians for shipping that luscious green into Grassachusetts.

Canada’s Medical Cannabis Coverage…Eh!


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With the country’s political system declining each day, more citizens are looking to move to Canada for a better life.  Last year’s elections results shocked the nation and Canada is becoming the light at the end of the tunnel for some folks.  Some of the reasons that people move to Canada is for universal health care, a more socially-progressive government, generous paid leave, well-mannered citizens, and for a more beautiful environment.  Other than the usual benefits, Canada is also ahead of the game with the cannabis community.

Cannabis is widely accepted within the country of Canada.  While the United States is sluggishly stepping into more liberal policies, their upstairs neighbor has been enjoying a more 4/20-friendly pot party.  Medicinal cannabis is legal in all areas and the push for legalization is stronger than ever.  Not only is Canada setting its sights for legalization next year, but some Canadian healthcare companies are adding cannabis coverage to health insurance.

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Listen up, cannabis consumers – there ARE Canadian healthcare companies that will cover the cost of your medicine.  Unlike the US, with our train wreck of a healthcare system we have now, Canadian healthcare companies can pay for your flowers or medical devices.  Oh, Canada!

Just last week, the owners of Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart Loblaw Companies announced that medical cannabis would be included within the employee benefits plans.  Loblaws president and executive chairman Galen G. Weston remarked last year that he envisioned his company’s retail outlets dispensing medical cannabis in the future.  This announcement became one of the HUGEST corporal acceptance of medical cannabis within North America.  No corporation in America, even those in California, has shown this amount of widespread use on consuming cannabis.

This isn’t the first instance where health insurance companies are 4/20-friendly within The Great White North.  Health Canada actually allows certain companies (A.K.A. licensed producers) to grow medical cannabis and distribute to patients.  Only problem is that the agency hasn’t given cannabis a Drug Identification Number (DIN), so cannabis isn’t actually a fully-approved medicine yet.  While the cannabis laws still seem hazy in the land of Canadia, they are definitely ahead of the curve when compared to the US.

As legalization spreads around the United States, there is a growing interest from patients towards health coverage for medical cannabis.  It’s only a matter of time until more Canadian healthcare companies jump in on the 4/20-friendly bandwagon.  Seems like the pot party is raging harder in Canada these days, eh?

It was great to see Canada stepping it up with their healthcare system!  This is some good PR for the healthcare industry because patients are being heard about including medical cannabis into their healthcare plan.  Public relations is about staying on top of the trends your audiences is following, so businesses like Loblaw Companies are generating some good PR with their idea.  Medical cannabis has been widely legal in Canada for a while and their universal healthcare should include cannabis as part of their coverage.

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While their upstairs neighbor is raging on with their pot party, America is slowly accepting cannabis into their social norms.  Right now we’re still trying to fix our train wreck of a healthcare system we’re dealing with and we’re not even CLOSE to including medical cannabis into our healthcare plan.  Even though recreational cannabis use is legal in 1/10th of the country, there’s still a LOT of work that must be done to work out all of the kinks.  Cannabis’s reputation has been so badly damaged that the ‘Reefer Madness’ mindset is still floating around the nation.

Old habits die hard and America’s habit of misinformation towards cannabis won’t go away so easily.  Before we can even start considering medical cannabis as part of our healthcare coverage, there’s still much work to be done on repairing its reputation.  Not only are there Canadian healthcare plans that include medical cannabis as part of their coverage, but Canada is planning to legalize recreational use by July 2018.  This plan looks to legalize cannabis in ALL parts of Canada.

We jumped through some major hurdles last year and the battle for full legalization continues on.  Canada may have its universal healthcare, but America has a secret weapon at its disposal – CALIFORNIA.  Known as the birthplace of the counter-culture movement, California has always shown its widespread approval of their Cali Kush.  California voted to legalize recreational use and the ticking time bomb is set to go off next year.  Once those dispensaries open up, the shit will hit the fan!  That ‘California Dreamin’ mindset will become more relevant than ever.

Canada stepped up their healthcare game and now its America’s turn.  It’s your move, America…balls in your court!

 

 

The United Airlines Sexist Dress Code Club


Ever since I was a kid, I have been on many airplanes for vacation trips.  I took flights to PRSSA conferences, to California (one of my personal favorite trips!), to Miami for the cruise the next day, and even to Georgia to visit my extended family.  It was always exciting to pack my favorite games to bring with me on the plane.  Now that I’m older and security has tightened up even more around the airlines (thanks to 9/11), getting through the airport is pure HELL.

We used to be hopeful adventurers who were enthusiastic about flying, but now we’ve succumbed to becoming lab rats being pulled into institutionalized buildings where employees scream directions to us every minute. “Take your shoes OFF and put ALL electronic devices into the tray NOW!”, says the disgruntled worker to all passengers.  All this screaming and yelling over basic instructions has decreased our enthusiasm about flying.  If that isn’t enough to cause you to go insane, then you’ll lose it even more when you find out that some airlines won’t let you on board because of the way you are dressed.  This particular scenario happened recently with United Airlines.

Here’s the PR nightmare for today: two girls were boarding a flight in Denver to head back to Minneapolis on Sunday morning.  Since the girls were wearing leggings, United Airlines barred the girls from boarding the flight.  To make matters even more embarrassing, they were forced to change into a dress when the gate agent thought that the leggings were inappropriate.  United Airlines doubled down on their decision through a series of tweets.  This news was first posted by Twitter user Shannon Watts, a passenger who witnessed the scene while boarding a flight to Mexico.

Let me get this straight…two young girls, that weren’t even teenagers yet, were barred and forced to put on a dress because of their style choice.  Not because they wore something that promoted sex/drugs/violence, but simply because they wanted to wear leggings.  Seriously guys…LEGGINGS are what barred the two tween girls from flying United Airlines.  To make matters even worse, they were forced to put on a dress in front of EVERYONE at the gate. This PR nightmare is on another level of stupidity that its hurting my brain.

This sexist story hit the social media bug, causing a wildfire of shocked reactions from users everywhere.  More users were offended by the PR nightmare rather than the girls that decided to wear leggings on board.  Airline companies like Delta took to Twitter to troll United Airlines with their preposterous rule.  Even after the shocking reactions from users appalled by the nightmare, United Airlines STILL stood by with their decision.

Jesus Christ…just when I thought airports couldn’t get even more frustrating.  What is this country coming to?  Since when did we start allowing gate attendants to judge what’s proper clothing for women to wear onboard the airplane?  Not too long ago, people secretly had sex on a plane before landing (which was called ‘joining the Mile-High Club’).  Now we’ve gotten to the point of paranoia that we can’t allow tween girls to wear leggings on board the plane.  This PR nightmare really set a bad tone for United Airlines and their culture.

As a man, I think it’s absolutely preposterous that United Airlines barred the girls just because they wanted to wear leggings.  I could give a shit what women are wearing (whether it’s a big dress or tiny skirt) because I respect women for who they are.  Women should be allowed for choosing what to wear and not feel judged based on some bullshit sexist issues.  If you’re a woman and want to wear leggings on a plane, go ahead and do that (I’ll give you brownie points if they have a pot leaves on them!).  Leggings are an appropriate style choice, not some slutty accessory that would be deemed unacceptable in American culture.

Next time I’m planning a trip, I’ll be sure to wear some leggings before heading to my destination (probably something with pot leaves or horrific monsters as a design!).  There ARE such things as leggings for men and I’ve been thinking about purchasing a pair.  I’ll have to search for some good ones before I’m flying out for vacation.

With that, I call on all women to wear whatever clothes that they enjoy.  You do YOU, girl!  No man/woman can tell you that your fashion sense isn’t deemed ‘appropriate’ to wear!

Mary Jane: CEO of Cannabis


International Women’s Day took place on March 8th this year.  It was a special time where women all across the nation commemorate the movement for women’s rights.  The very first celebration took place in New York on February 28th, 1909.  After more than a century later, women still band together for the fight on equal rights.

A lot has changed since the first International Women’s Day, but there’s still some work to be done.  There are very few women CEOs (Chief Executive Officers) in the male-dominated work world.  Many hopeful women work hard to land the role of a CEO, but more men seem to take over the position in the end.  In almost every corporate team, the male is the CEO of the company.  However, the cannabis industry has shifted the game within the 21st century.

With recreational cannabis use legalized each year, more women are flocking to pot (literally!) for a higher position in the business world.  For the first time ever in America, the cannabis industry has become predominantly ruled by women.  These Mary Jane enthusiasts outnumber males in the cannabis industry, with some members becoming CEOs of cannabis products/services.  This is a major step in the right direction for equality in the work force.

TV series like Weeds provided a futuristic glimpse of women that work with cannabis.  The series follows Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin, a pot-dealing mother of two in the suburb town of Agrestic, California.  It chronicles Botwin’s wacky adventures when she decided to deal weed after her husband died from a heart attack.  This is a rare case where a female is the lead of drug-themed series because a majority of drug shows have male leads (like The Wire or Breaking Bad!).

This shift does come with its set of challenges as well.  Even as the flourishing Mary Janes work hard in the cannabis industry, there are still women out there that aren’t taken seriously in the business world.  When you conduct a Google search for ‘Mary Jane’, you’ll probably end up with something like this:

Yeah… not exactly the type of professional Mary Janes we were looking for!  In the liberal world of cannabis, women are treated as objects that empower the brand rather than the female herself.  This isn’t the only industry that has objectified females for profit gains.  Male employees within the male-dominated video game industry provide a biased image of what women should look like in a game, snickering like prepubescent boys as the enlarge the character’s boobs.  It’s that kind of misogynistic mentality that will keep the true Mary Janes away from the flowers and flocking to a more acceptable business.

We are at 2017 and it’s about HIGH time that we welcome more aspiring Mary Janes into the cannabis industry.  Seeing all these empowering women taking control of the cannabis industry is a message we should all wake up to read.  Cannabis is a beautiful and natural plant that is consumed by both men AND women.  If cannabis is a universal plant to consume, then why should it become another male-dominated business here in America?  Iceland is looking to eliminate the gender pay gap by 2022 and America isn’t even CLOSE to reaching that goal.

As a male PR writer, I am fascinated by minorities that take up a high position in the business world.  Our country is changing each day, with more diversity entering the work force (FYI, President/Chief Operating Officer of the Golden State Warriors Rick Welts publicly came out as a gay man on May 15th, 2011!).  Those that were shunned down by ignorance and humility are now riding the wave of a diverse world in the 21st century.  With recreational cannabis use at an all-time high in America, now’s the chance to create an equally diverse cannabis industry.

To the hard-working women that have high positions in the business world:  YOU GO GIRL!  Don’t let NO ONE tell you that you’re not fit for a role in the company!

Hail to the Kief: America’s Greatest 4/20-Friendly Presidents


Yesterday we took some time off of work/school to celebrate President’s Day.  President’s Day is a national holiday that falls on the 3rd Monday of February every year.  It was originally established as “Washington’s Birthday” back in 1885 to celebrate George Washington’s birthday and was renamed as Presidents’ Day when it was moved as part of the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which was filed to create more 3-day weekends for workers.  George Washington may have been dead for centuries, but we still celebrate this holiday every February.

Nowadays Presidents’ Day is viewed as a day celebrating all U.S. presidents, both past and present.  It will be an interesting 4 years for our president now that recreational cannabis use is legal in 1/10 of the country.  With the cannabis community growing stronger each day, it will be harder for politicians to turn a deaf ear on what their goals are for America.  Interestingly enough, not all former presidents shunned down cannabis use during their terms.  Some members habitually smoked cannabis while others simply approved the plant.

Nevertheless, we should remember how our Founding Fathers first used to plant in order to shed the light on a brighter future for America.  Here are some noteworthy 4/20-friendly presidents that have been in the White House:

George Washington:  We had to start off our 4/20-friendly list right with our first president George Washington.  Washington didn’t really smoke cannabis, but he was well-known for growing hemp in his backyard.  He grew the hemp to use for fiber and other essential tools during the 18th century.  It was also noted that dealt with his toothaches through his hemp preparations.  Imagine that folks – our very first president of the U.S. grew hemp!

          John F. Kennedy:  Considered one of the greatest U.S. presidents of all time, John F. Kennedy smoked cannabis during his term in the 1960s.  Rather than openly smoking joints for recreational use, Kennedy used it to treat his severe back pain.  Even though the counter-culture movement didn’t take off until the late 60s, people openly smoked cannabis without the paranoia of getting caught by the authorities.

          Barack Obama:  It’s been months since he left the White House and people still miss Barack Obama…or what he was formerly known as ‘Barry’.  Our last president even admitted to using cannabis when he was a teenager in Hawaii.  His most famous statement was, “When I was a kid, I inhaled, frequently.  That was the point.”  What’s interesting to point out is that four states (Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Washington) legalized recreational use during Obama’s term as president.  Kudos to Obama for becoming more liberal on the 4/20 issues here in America!

          Thomas Jefferson: Just like Washington, Thomas Jefferson farmed hemp during his presidency.  Other than farming the versatile crop, he was Ambassador to France during the Hashish era.  There’s no further research on whether or not he consumed recreationally, but it’s still great to have another president that grew hemp in his backyard!

          Bill Clinton:  Way before the rise of Hillary Clinton becoming a candidate for the 2016 elections, Bill Clinton took the stage from 1993-2001.  In the true Clintonian fashion, he claimed that he didn’t inhale and would not try it ever again (sure Clinton…just like you claimed to not have an “inappropriate relationship” with Monica Lewinsky!).  Cannabis was still heavily criminalized in the 90s era, but that didn’t stop Clinton from testing out this popular drug!

And there you have it – five of the most 4/20-friendly presidents that have graced their presence in the White House.  It’s ironic that we’ve had such strict cannabis laws in America when many of these presidents used the plant in the past.  As we become more educated about the cannabis industry, the path for cannabis legalization in America becomes clearer.  Who knows, we may have 4/20-friendly president that smokes reefers in the near future!  For now, let’s reflect on the 4/20-friendly presidents that have previously worked in the White House.