Showing posts with label cannabis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cannabis. Show all posts

September 21, 2019

Where Is My CBD-infused Green Chile?

Some shots from this year's Chile & Frijoles Festival in Pueblo, still going on through Sunday. My visit was early, while the sun was still up and before the bands started playing, so it was a sort of sparse crowd.
It's more or less a celebration of every Southwestern street food
to which Pueblo County's Mirasol green chiles can be added.


And there were a lot of CBD (cannabidiol) products as well.
I foresee a certain convergence, a synergy if you will.
Yes, every kind of fast food and finger food.
Loaded-up fry bread ("Navajo tacos") is all right once a year.

The "Pueblo Chile Beer" is from Walter's, an old label that has been revived by craft-beer aficionados.
"Pueblo chile beer" is not one of their pre-Prohibition recipes, however.


These men are examining ristras of red chiles (sorry about the sun flare).
They were for sale along with many varieties of powdered dried peppers.

But what you could not buy were fresh-roasted Pueblo green chiles. Evidently the vendors don't think that anyone wants to walk around with a ten-pound sack of peppers, even though they are the best. 

Next year: CBD-inflused green chile beer. I will bet you money.

June 16, 2019

Nuestra Señora de Cannabidiol


Buy CBD products with spiritual benefits. Ledoux Street, Taos, New Mexico.

May 20, 2018

Cleaning Up after the Cartels

Firs have been cut or limbed to allow more sunlight on the grow site. Drip irrigation lines fed
the individual plants. Given the thin, poor mountain soil, heavy amounts of fertilizers are used.
On an untypically (but helpfully) foggy May morning in the Wet Mountains of southern Colorado, two camouflaged US Forest service agents, armed with pistols and an AR-15 rifle, scouted up a ridge.

They reached their target area, a placed used by Mexican cartel* marijuana growers for several years, armed growers who had been arrested the previous October.

Finding no one re-using the site, they marked the faint footpath up from State Highway 165 with orange flagging and notified another agent waiting at the Forest Service work center in San Isabel.

BHA volunteer and trash.
Before long, the other agent hiked in too, accompanied by a dozen members of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, a conservation group with a de-centralized, "boots on the ground" approach to issues.

We all set to work — stuffing abandoned sleeping bags with trash, tearing down the crude buildings made of fir saplings and baling wire (kitchen, sleeping quarters, drying shed), and pulling armloads of black plastic pipe from under the forest duff and fallen trees.

With the plants gone, shelters gone, and the irrigation system gone, maybe this site would be less attractive in the future. Maybe the word would go back to Michoacán: Virgilio and Erik are doing time in an American prison. Maybe.
Interior of the kitchen area. White plastic buckets are camouflaged with paint.
Some people will say, "The growers arrested were just low-level 'grunts.' Why bother with them?" Low-level or not, they still do bad things, all of which I saw signs of or was informed about.

It takes a little time to free a tree
from wraps of wire.
• Putting pesticides and insecticides into the watershed (I saw containers)
• Diverting water illegally
• Cutting and injuring trees illegally
Killing animals (deer, bear, etc.) illegally
• Potentially posing a threat to other public-lands visitors in order to hide their activities

I don't want any of that in your/my/our national forest, period full stop.

In 2012, I supported Amendment 64, which legalized recreational cannabis and limited home growing. I have joined the multitudes using CBD products for health support.

But passing Amendment 64 did indeed attract people who thought that they could grow outside the regulatory frameworks and somehow not be noticed. 

Some were from inside the USA (mostly from Miami, curiously enough). They tended to buy or rent houses, stuff them with plants, and then be caught when (surprise) the utility company tipped off law enforcement that the split-level house at 428 Comanche Drive** was using fifteen times as much electricity as its neighbors. Others grew on private land, sometimes combining a legal operation with an additional illegal one.
Some of the collected irrigation pipes and drip tubes.
To generalize, the public-lands growers tend to be Mexicans. Maybe it's a rural-tradition thing, to spend your summer in a jacalito held together with twine and baling wire. Preferred locations are away from developed recreation sites, have a tiny stream that can be diverted, and a south-facing slope for light and warmth. Yet from the site we cleaned, we could see and hear the state highway, not more than half a mile away — they don't want to carry those propane tanks and coils of plastic pipe and batteries and supplies and trays of clones too far.***

Compared to what legal growers produce, it seems like a lot of risky work for a lesser product, but there's the rub: some people don't want to pay legal retail prices. (California in particular, according to some, is keeping the black market alive by over-taxing legal cannabis.) Or they can sell it outside Colorado.

Finally, all the pipe and trash was collected  in the most-open area, where a National Guard helicopters will be able to lift it out.

Helicopter lifting bundled trash from a different grow site
(US Attorney's Office).
* Law-enforcement officers and prosecutors avoid the word "cartel" in public statements. In private, they use it. After all, if groups of men, mostly from Michoacán, are caught hundreds of miles from home, with someone planning the grow sites, supporting them logistically, and moving the product, that all suggests an organization, not a bunch of freelance growers.

** Fictional address. 

***Some bright person should have (or has) created a GIS overlay to identify potential grow sites, just like wildlife habitats.

December 30, 2017

Medical Marijuana and Firearms Purchases (3)

A year ago I speculated what would happen if the authorities went after gun buyers who marked "No" to the question, "Are you an an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana [and list of other drugs]?
on the federal form 4473, completed by every purchaser  were also on their states' medical marijuana registries.

Shortly afterward, I noted that the federal Department of Justice was still taking a hard line, despite the number of states with legal medical marijuana.

Last month it has happened — or almost happened — or will yet happen — in Honolulu. As Tom Knighton wrote at Bearing Arms,
Hawaii is one of the handful of states that maintain a gun registry. They know every lawfully held firearm in the state and who has it. As a result, it was easy for law enforcement to compare the two databases and figure out who owned guns and was getting medical marijuana.
Now, he continues, they are "reviewing the policy" after getting a lot of pushback, not just from gun owners/buyers but from the larger pool of cannabis users too.

The problem remains, as the Honolulu police are happy to state, "Federal law prohibits firearm possession for unlawful users of controlled substances. Pot is classified as a controlled substance under federal law."  So just saying, "I'm a medical user, I'm not an addict fercrissakes" would go nowhere in a federal court.

So when do we get national legalization?

November 03, 2017

Cannabis Consumption and the Colorado Hunter


It had to happen. I opened the 2017  Hunting Guide from Colorado Parks and & Wildlife, and there was a long sidebar titled "Nonresidents' Guide to Marijuana Laws in Colorado."

It covered the basics. Watch out for edibles: "A retail marijuana clerk warned that it is easy to lose an entire weekend when you don't know how much to consume or how it will affect you." (And if you have a five-day season, that's 40 percent of it.)

And always this: "Don't even consider taking some home with you, whether flying or driving."

But the lyrics of a Simon & Garfunkel song  popped into my mind, "The 59th Street Bridge Song":
Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy
Ba da da da da da da, feelin’ groovy
(Eventually I figured out what the song was about)

Good advice for the big-game hunter, right? Slow down. You move too fast. You've got to make the season last. Just kicking down the aspen grove. Looking for deer and . . .

Well, maybe not during the hunt. But can think of at least one well-respected Colorado wilderness hunting writer who always has his evening smoke. In fact, he introduced me once to the White Widow.

. . . . Where were we? Did you say something? Is this the path to my tent?

March 28, 2017

A Colorado Moment and a New Book on Yellowstone Death, Nature, & Science

So I sold a pair of World War 2-vintage snowshoes on eBay and used the money to buy hemp oil (CBD) for my dog.

A Colorado moment, circa 2017.

I probably could have asked more if I could definitely have linked those 1943 snowshoes to the 10th Mountain Division — Dad did acquire them in Colorado in the 1960s — but that was just a "maybe."


What I want to read:
 
Jordon Fisher Smith, whose Nature Noir: A Park Ranger's Patrol in the Sierra is one of my favorite reads, has a new book out, Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight over Controlling Nature.
"Harry Walker had come to Yellowstone in 1972 in search of himself. Instead, he became a tragic symbol of poor wildlife management and the killer grizzly bear. Walker’s death prompted a fierce debate over the human role in engineering nature, with some of the biggest names in wildlife biology at the time on either side.

"While a tempest of people, places and ideas rage within the pages of Engineering Eden the author is a calm voice in the storm, letting the reader take it all in and form an opinion of their own."
In this interview with a Florida NPR station, he says,  "“I wanted the artistic form of this narrative nonfiction work to resemble the endless interconnection of nature itself. Instead of saying to my reader, ‘Okay, now watch this. I’m gonna try to really make this complex web of relationships right in front of you,’ I just did it.”

(I really dislike the phrase "find yourself" or "in search of himself," etc. You don't just find yourself out there lying on the ground out in the woods; you build yourself by what you do day to day.)

December 17, 2016

Medical Marijuana and Firearms Purchases (2)

Last month, I speculated what might happen if hostile government agencies cross-referenced state medical marijuana cardholders with the federal Form 4473, filled out by gun buyers, which contains the question "Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?" (Answering "yes" means no sale, while lying would be a federal offense.)

Since that post, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has strengthened its position, adding "a new warning statement reminding applicants that marijuana is still considered federally illegal despite state laws allowing medical marijuana or recreational use. In other words: The ATF doesn’t want gun sellers or buyers to mistake the increasingly common state-legal cannabis for the nonexistent federally legal marijuana."

After I wrote, I  had couple people tell me that the same thought keeps them from registering for medical marijuana, even though they have conditions that would qualify them for it.

Others agree that while such a cross-checking is not supposed to happen, it could happen. Somebody in Agency A does a favor for his buddy in Agency B — that is how the world works, especially in law enforcement.

And some other news picked up since then:

¶ President-elect Trump has picked Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, and whatever else may be said of him, good or bad, Sessions appears to be a hardcore Drug Warrior.
"We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized. It ought not to be minimized, that it's in fact a very real danger," Sessions said during an April Senate hearing.
Trump's pick for the Dept. of Homeland Security, retired Marine General John Kelly, at least makes room for medical use.

 ¶ While 28 states and the District of Columbia now permit medical and/or recreational cannabis use, the federal government could still swing its hammer at any time and force them to comply with federal law that regards it as illegal. It's just that the political will is not there to do so. Read more about obstacles here.

¶ Even "loose" Colorado may further restrict legal home growers, based on the assumption that they are feeding the "gray market."

¶ Finally — and this is disturbing — the Obama Administration has even cracked down on cannabidiol (CBD), the product used for medical treatment that does not get you high.  The industry reacted:
"Once again, the federal government has shown that it has not caught up with modern science," says Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association. "It's common knowledge that CBD has numerous medical uses, including curbing the effects of epilepsy and reducing muscle inflammation from injuries. To deny that shows a complete disregard for the facts."
I had just bought a bottle of CBD-infused hemp oil by mail from an organic grower in southern Colorado to put on my dry, cracked hands in the winter. But apparently that easy purchase violated "international treaties," and we can't have that. The DEA claims its new move is primarily "administrative." (Nothing to see here, move along.) It's just that shipping CBD oil is now a federal violation unless companies go through a whole new restrictive registration process, right now!

A lawyer whose practice focuses on cannabis commented, 
“The sky is not falling; however, this is a very concerning move by the DEA,” [Bob] Hoban said. “What it purports to do is give the DEA control of all cannabinoids as a controlled substance.”

Even if this new code may be rooted in an administrative action to better track research and imports and exports, Hoban said the danger lies in when other federal and state agencies use the drug codes as defining factors of what’s legal and illegal. . . .
“It worries me because the definition of any marijuana-derived products, such as cannabinoids, are not unlawful substances, per se,” he said. “It seems like they’re trying to extend their authority over all cannabinoids.”
Regulators got to regulate, don't you know. Despite the Sessions nomination, it would be highly ironic if Trump's people ended up being less passive-aggressive about cannabis than the Obama Administration. But I am not holding my breath.

That said, if you are purchasing firearms, why stick your head in a noose by being a registered marijuana user, at least until the law changes to reflect public opinion?

November 28, 2016

Living "Free" in the Real South Park

Robert Dear's stationary RV in South Park (Colorado Springs Gazette)
It was around 1970 or a little earlier that someone subdivided several square miles of South Park, the altiplano of Colorado, at the foot of Wilkerson Pass, north of US 24.

The real-estate developer cut roads across the cold, dry, and windswept pasture land east of tiny Hartsel and put up green-and-white street signs with names like "San Juan Drive."

And then no one bought most of the lots (except for some more scenic, hillier ones) because they were cold, dry, and windswept.

I used to drive by there a lot when I lived in Manitou Springs, now not so much. So I missed its transformation into a "gritty" community of "RVs, Tuff Sheds and nylon tents," as the Colorado Springs Gazette describes it. 

The area came onto the media radar a year ago because Robert Dear, who shot up a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs, killing three people and wounding five, had been living there in a permanently parked motor home, "equipped with solar panels, a wood stove and a ramshackle fence encircling a storage shed, chickens and a yapping dog."
Shelters started popping up within the past five years, but the situation compounded with the so-called "green rush" after recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012, many residents say. . . .

The explosion in emergency calls is fueled by out-of-control trash fires, faulty generators and embers dumped in the woods, among other hazards, officials say.

Getting to the emergencies can be difficult, because many lack addresses.

"A lot of them are societal dropouts. They just don't want to be a part of it," [Hartsel Fire Protection District Chief Jay] Hutcheson said.
It is a harsh place to live. The Ute Indians came through only in the summers, while the early ranchers picked sites with more shelter and water. (Hartsel is on one fork of the South Platte River.) Five acres out on the flats — I would not want to live there year-around. Gardening is out of the question. The hot springs at Hartsel, developed commercially in the 1870s, have been closed for decades, so you can't even go soak off the grime.

We see this story played out elsewhere, and it's all "live free or die" until someone starts a forest fire. Or starts shooting. The "problem," if you define it as a problem — and should we? —  is not homelessness in the ordinary sense, because people can buy little acreages cheap. (No utilities.)  But then some of them turn into literal basket cases:
Two years ago, Hutcheson encountered a family of five living in a tent. While removing a woman on a stretcher, he said he "postholed in 3 ½ feet of snow" and fell backwards, fracturing a vertebra. "Surgery. Plates. Screws," he said in recounting the episode.

Other calls have brought his workers to places where people "are living in their own filth, with no sanitary precautions at all," he said.
The bureaucratic response, of course, is more regulation.

Maybe if you want to go West and re-invent yourself, all that is left are places like this.

November 06, 2016

Medical Marijuana and Firearms Purchases

Twenty states and the District of Columbia permit medical marijuana.  A bunch more are moving to liberalize their laws on recreational use, but it is the medical side that interests me, because it involves record-keeping.

I have not heard too many hunting- and shooting writers address this issue, but it does not take much of a conspiratorial mindset to see a trap here that could be set for legal gun-owners.

As a Coloradan, I have seen the Obama Administration speak with forked tongue on the cannabis issue. When Colorado first legalized the stuff, there were no DEA agents kicking down store doors. I had the feeling that our votes as a "swing state" in presidential elections mattered enough that they were not going to come and start arresting people on federal charges.

But the administration's other hand held the big stick:
• Cannabis businesses were constantly blocked when they tried to have business banking, because the federal government never told banks and credit unions to stop treating these as criminal busineses. Worried about their own status, the financial companies refused to open account and shut down accounts that they learned were connected with cannabis.

• Industrial hemp farmers were not hassled either — except the feds would not let them import seed from Canada, where it's legal. And they have banking trouble too: some are turning to Bitcoin and other electronic money systems.

• Despite various petititons, the Obama Administration refused last August to reclassify cannabis, leaving it as a "Schedule 1" drug, right there with heroin. That's handy if you plan to prosecute someone.

• Likewise, despite the evidence that cannabis helps veterans with PTSD, the Veterans Administration takes a hard line against it. It's illegal for active-duty military, of course, but veterans can get an extra kick in the butt:
For instance, veterans are routinely blood-tested every time they go in for a VA appointment, [VA spokesman Sam] House said. So if a veteran tweaks his or her back in a way for which a doctor would prescribe prescription painkillers, when the bloodwork comes back positive for marijuana, the VA doctor can no longer prescribe the painkillers.
Now let's talk about Form 4473, the form you fill out at the gunshop counter when you make a purchase.

Question 11e asks, "Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?"

It stands to reason that thousands of buyers are checking "No" with mental reservations. "I smoke occasionally, but heck no, I'm not an addict. And in my state I'm not an 'unlawful user' either!"

As Wikipedia says, "The dealer also records all information from the Form 4473 into a required "'bound-book' called an Acquisition and Disposition Log. A dealer must keep this on file at least 20 years, and is required to surrender the log to the ATF upon retirement from the firearms business."

So imagine a presidential administration that wanted to stick to the law gun-owners. They collect the 4473's, cross-reference them with state records over who has a medical marijuana card, and there you have it — a huge list of people who can be federally prosecuted for perjury, at the least.

There is some legal protection for that information, but where there's a will, there's a way to get an approving legal opinion from government counsel.

Some people might consider this a feature, not a bug.

Too conspiritorial, or quite possible?

May 11, 2016

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Colorado Flower Growers Assn. carnation ad 
(Morgan Library, Colorado State University).

That line from Pete Seeger's anti-war ballad is appropriate because this story starts (for me) in the 1960s.

I was in Miss Carter's sixth-grade class at Kullerstrand Elementary School in Wheat Ridge, a Denver suburb, and one day she took us on a class trip to her fiancé's family business.

They were commercial carnation growers with a complex of greenhouses somewhere in west Denver, and we were told all about the growing and dyeing (yes, many were dyed) of carnations.

Denver was the "carnation capital of the world," as far as the locals were concerned. The greenhouse industry took off in the 1870s as irrigation systems were built. By 1928 there ws a Colorado Flower Growers trade association, and carnation-growing peaked around the time that Miss Carter became Mrs. Davis (I think), and we kids had to accustom ourselves to her new name.

What happened? This timeline from an online history of the Colorado flower trade tells part of the story:
1976 – The carnation industry in Colorado begins to decline due to increasing competition from Californian and South American flower growers, the rising cost of fuel for heating and air-conditioning the greenhouses, and limited expansion of greenhouses in the state.
Two further explanations: The OPEC oil embargo of 1973 led to the sudden jump in prices for heating oil, gasoline, propane, diesel, etc. And the "increasing competition" from South American cut-flower producers was a direct result of the War on (Some) Drugs, with American dollars going to (chiefly Colombian) growers on the theory that building i[ that industry would make producing cocaine, etc., less attractive.

Judge for yourself how well that scheme worked out, but at least roses and carnations got cheaper at the grocery store flower counter. People were selling cheap carnations on street corners — remember that?

By the time I was in my twenties, you could find numerous empty greenhouses in certain Denver neighborhoods—shattered glass roofs, no sign of vegetative life but weeds. Many were located on sites that were probably attractive to developers.

I wonder, though, what happened to my teacher and her husband. Did they see what was coming and bail out? Did they go bankrupt, eternally bitter at the U.S. government for subsidizing their competitors? Did they close the business, sell the land, and find something new?

That story came crashing back when I saw this headline: "Major Flower Business Fears Migration to Marijuana."
The  CEO of 1-800-Flowers frets he might lose some of his best suppliers in states that have burgeoning marijuana industries, saying he’s afraid growers will realize that cannabis could be a more lucrative profession.

Such an exodus would expand the ranks of marijuana growers, adding a crop of seasoned veterans to the industry’s ranks.
 Too late for the Davises.