Posts tagged marijuana

Welcome to The Cannabist

We mentioned before that the Denver Post hired Ricardo Baca as its first marijuana editor. 

Now, after a few months in development, the Post has launched The Cannabist to focus on the news, culture, food and entertainment that surrounds all things weed.

Note in the video that Ricardo says they’re hiring. Also note that the competition seems fierce.

[I]f you want to have marijuana out at a party, you should treat it just like you would cocktails or anything else you are offering at your event: Display stylishly, fit with your theme, and make it available for all. If you want people to smoke outside then put it with an outside bar and a small sign.

Aviva Palmer, CEO of a Seattle event-planning company, The Adventure School, to The Seattle Times. Tokin’ around the Christmas tree: Pot etiquette for parties.

FJP: Service Journalism on behalf of those throwing holiday parties in pot legal states.

Meet Ricardo Baca, the Denver Post’s New Marijuana Editor
It’s a job, and somebody has to do it.
Besides, over at the Independent, they think “it sounds like the best job in journalism.”

Meet Ricardo Baca, the Denver Post’s New Marijuana Editor

It’s a job, and somebody has to do it.

Besides, over at the Independent, they think “it sounds like the best job in journalism.”

Colorado’s Finest
Via Vocativ:

Cotton candy. Creamy blueberry. Lemon rind. Pine, with a hint of rubber and fuel. And no, this isn’t the flavor list for some new-wave gourmet ice cream joint in Brooklyn. We’re talking about ganja—the kind you’ll find on Colorado’s ever-expanding marijuana menu.
The bud business is booming in the toker-friendly state, bringing in $225 million in sales so far this year. The industry even has its own investment arm, The ArcView Group, which just committed more than $1 million to Colorado’s cannabis start-ups. In November of 2000, 915,527 citizens voted in favor of medical marijuana use, and last year a 55 percent majority voted to legalize recreational smoking. The historic vote has paved the way for the first retail shops to open in January 2014. With that in mind, growers and dispensary owners are packing their greenhouses with plants of various sophisticated tastes, as businesses race to meet the coming demand.

Honest Question: Will marijuana reviews become a mainstream news beat like restaurant reviews? And what qualifications would a budding reporter need to get the gig?
Curious minds want to know.
Image: Via Vocative, A Sophisticated Tasting Menu of Denver’s Best Marijuana.

Colorado’s Finest

Via Vocativ:

Cotton candy. Creamy blueberry. Lemon rind. Pine, with a hint of rubber and fuel. And no, this isn’t the flavor list for some new-wave gourmet ice cream joint in Brooklyn. We’re talking about ganja—the kind you’ll find on Colorado’s ever-expanding marijuana menu.

The bud business is booming in the toker-friendly state, bringing in $225 million in sales so far this year. The industry even has its own investment arm, The ArcView Group, which just committed more than $1 million to Colorado’s cannabis start-ups. In November of 2000, 915,527 citizens voted in favor of medical marijuana use, and last year a 55 percent majority voted to legalize recreational smoking. The historic vote has paved the way for the first retail shops to open in January 2014. With that in mind, growers and dispensary owners are packing their greenhouses with plants of various sophisticated tastes, as businesses race to meet the coming demand.

Honest Question: Will marijuana reviews become a mainstream news beat like restaurant reviews? And what qualifications would a budding reporter need to get the gig?

Curious minds want to know.

Image: Via Vocative, A Sophisticated Tasting Menu of Denver’s Best Marijuana.

Do listen to Dark Side of the Moon at a Reasonable VolumeImage: Sticker Seattle police put on bags of Doritos distributed to people attending the city’s first Hempfest since recreational marijuana became legal.Via @GrahamKiro7. Select to embiggen.

Do listen to Dark Side of the Moon at a Reasonable Volume

Image: Sticker Seattle police put on bags of Doritos distributed to people attending the city’s first Hempfest since recreational marijuana became legal.Via @GrahamKiro7Select to embiggen.

Yes, You Can Have Fun Reporting the News

The Center for Investigative Reporting released its investigation into the 17 million pounds of marijuana seized between 2005 and 2011 by US Customs and Border Protection.

To visualize how much pot that actually is, they created this throwback video, riffing on the All Your Bass Are Belong to Us meme popularized around the turn of the century.

So how much pot is 17 million pounds? A lot of pot.

Say, the equivalent of 16.3 billion joints or “a 583-foot-tall 3-D flying joint”. Here’s the math:

For our calculations, we assumed the joint was made using a classic Zig-Zag 70-millimeter rolling paper.

Single joint dimensions (rolled): 7 centimeters long with a radius of 0.477 centimeters (circumference of 3 centimeters)

Volume of single joint: 5 cubic centimeters

()

Volume of giant joint: 16,274,535,552 joints * 5 cubic centimeters = 81,372,677,760 cubic centimeters

We want our giant joint to have nearly the same proportions as our standard joint, so we want a radius-to-length ratio of 0.477 / 7, or 0.068. So we solve for:

(This is too hard for us to remember how to do from high school algebra, so thanks to Truman State University math professor Jason Shaw for helping us out with this one.)

We end up with a joint 17,759.755 centimeters long with a radius of 1,207.663 centimeters (583 feet long with a 40-foot radius).

FJP: Math, journalism and pot. Your Saturday may now begin.

How to Legalize Pot

Challenges include: the DOJ, since anyone who trades in cannabis is still a felon according to federal law; big profiteers, since the cannabis industry could easily become controlled like Big Tobacco; and how to measure drugged driving, since the government hasn’t funded too much research on the chemistry of weed in the human body.

You can read Kleinman’s proposal to Washington State here.

If Marijuana’s Your Beat, Careful What You Eat

Lessons learned — animation style — from Michael Montgomery of the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Driving Stoned, CNN is on it

With legalization in effect in Colorado and Washington, CNN creates a “marijuana smoking lab”, gets volunteers high and tests their driving skills.

Journalism.

As a public service.

We’d like to have been in the editorial meeting when this story was pitched.

The Seattle Police Marijuana FAQ

  • FJP: Washington State -- along with Colorado -- legalized marijuana last week for recreational use. The law goes into effect December 6. Meantime, the Seattle Police Department has a FAQ called "Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use in Seattle." Here are some questions and answers. http://bit.ly/TGTauB
  • Q: Can I legally carry around an ounce of marijuana?
  • SPD: According to the recently passed initiative, beginning December 6th, adults over the age of 21 will be able to carry up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Please note that the initiative says it “is unlawful to open a package containing marijuana…in view of the general public,” so there’s that. Also, you probably shouldn’t bring pot with you to the federal courthouse (or any other federal property).
  • Q: SPD seized a bunch of my marijuana before I-502 passed. Can I have it back?
  • SPD: No.
  • Q: What happens if I get pulled over and I’m sober, but an officer or his K9 buddy smells the ounce of Super Skunk I’ve got in my trunk?
  • SPD: Under state law, officers have to develop probable cause to search a closed or locked container. Each case stands on its own, but the smell of pot alone will not be reason to search a vehicle. If officers have information that you’re trafficking, producing or delivering marijuana in violation of state law, they can get a warrant to search your vehicle.
  • Q: Will police officers be able to smoke marijuana?
  • SPD: As of right now, no. This is still a very complicated issue.
Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.

A statement by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper about the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana. The law would allow individuals to carry up to an ounce of pot and/or grow up to six plants.

Emily Bazelon, Slate. Don’t Touch Their Stash!

FJP: Call this part PSA to our Colorado friends and part example of a great explainer on how state rights and the Justice Department play on this issue.

Via Slate:

This is not a tale of the federal government following the lead of the states. It’s a tale of the Justice Department asserting its authority against the state’s voters and state sovereignty. The federal government has this authority because of the 2005 Supreme Court decision that essentially ended the march of federalism—the legal doctrine that the court’s conservatives previously invoked to limit Congress’s powers to make laws that affect commerce among the states. You may vaguely remember this one from the huge fight over Obamacare. In the 2005 case, Gonzales v. Raich, Angel Raich was a sick woman in California who said medical marijuana was the only way she could combat excruciating, life-threatening pain. She argued that in light of the state’s 1996 legalization of medical marijuana, the Justice Department couldn’t enforce the Controlled Substances Act against her—in other words, the feds couldn’t take away her pot. Raich lost 6-3, with conservative Justice Antonin Scalia joining the liberal-centrist wing of the court. When it came to a choice between a federal crackdown on pot smokers and a state-led push to leave them alone, Scalia lost his appetite for dismissing Congress and federal prosecutors in favor of the states.

Read on.

Bonus: The New York Times with a six minute “Op-Doc Video" about Chris Williams, a Montana man who faces a mandatory 80-year minimum sentence for growing pot. He did so after Montana legalized medical marijuana. As the Times op ed notes: “[A] coherent system of justice must explain why one defendant is punished more harshly than the next. It must explain why a farmer who grows marijuana in compliance with state law should be punished much more harshly than some pedophiles and killers. If we cannot explain this disparity, we should fight to change it.”

A History of Journalism & Pot
Happy 4/20, dear readers. Today we offer to you our round-up of journalism+pot fun facts because yes, they have a complicated history.
Hemp used to be everywhere. The first Bibles, maps, charts, and drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp. (via)
In 1938, Mechanical Engineering Magazine published an article stating that hemp was the most profitable and desirable crop in the US and the world. (via)
A Conspiracy Theory: The Hearst Company used to supply most paper products and could stand to lose a lot of money because of hemp. Consequently, financial tycoons held secret meetings conspiring to get rid of hemp. In a media blitz of yellow journalism, Hearst’s newspapers ran stories on the horrors of marijuana. (via)
The term 4/20 was coined by a group of five San Rafael High School students known as the Waldos (because they used to hang out by a wall outside school and smoke pot at 4:20). (via)
A journalist spread the story about the Waldos. Steven Bloom, then a reporter for High Times magazine (now publisher of CelebStoner.com), wrote the story pictured above. (via)
High Times then took the term global: 

"I started incorporating it into everything we were doing," High Times editor Steve Hager told the Huffington Post. "I started doing all these big events - the World Hemp Expo Extravaganza and the Cannabis Cup - and we built everything around 420. The publicity that High Times gave it is what made it an international thing. Until then, it was relatively confined to the Grateful Dead subculture. But we blew it out into an international phenomenon."

Bonus:
In honor of today, The Huffington Post presents 16 ways weed impacts the economy.
If you want keep to read interesting things about pot, follow GOOD’s resident pot columnist.
Image Via: Huffington Post

A History of Journalism & Pot

Happy 4/20, dear readers. Today we offer to you our round-up of journalism+pot fun facts because yes, they have a complicated history.

  • Hemp used to be everywhere. The first Bibles, maps, charts, and drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp. (via)
  • In 1938, Mechanical Engineering Magazine published an article stating that hemp was the most profitable and desirable crop in the US and the world. (via)
  • A Conspiracy Theory: The Hearst Company used to supply most paper products and could stand to lose a lot of money because of hemp. Consequently, financial tycoons held secret meetings conspiring to get rid of hemp. In a media blitz of yellow journalism, Hearst’s newspapers ran stories on the horrors of marijuana. (via)
  • The term 4/20 was coined by a group of five San Rafael High School students known as the Waldos (because they used to hang out by a wall outside school and smoke pot at 4:20). (via)
  • A journalist spread the story about the Waldos. Steven Bloom, then a reporter for High Times magazine (now publisher of CelebStoner.com), wrote the story pictured above. (via)
  • High Times then took the term global: 

"I started incorporating it into everything we were doing," High Times editor Steve Hager told the Huffington Post. "I started doing all these big events - the World Hemp Expo Extravaganza and the Cannabis Cup - and we built everything around 420. The publicity that High Times gave it is what made it an international thing. Until then, it was relatively confined to the Grateful Dead subculture. But we blew it out into an international phenomenon."

Bonus:

Image Via: Huffington Post

All Your Weed Are Belong to Us?

Last week the US Justice Department announced a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in California, arguing that federal law trumps state law with regard to controlled substances.

This week, a California US attorney is upping the ante, saying that she will prosecute any newspaper, radio or television station that advertises medical marijuana dispensaries. 

Via California Watch:

U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy, whose district includes Imperial and San Diego counties, said marijuana advertising is the next area she’s “going to be moving onto as part of the enforcement efforts in Southern California.” Duffy said she could not speak for the three other U.S. attorneys covering the state but noted their efforts have been coordinated so far.

"I’m not just seeing print advertising," Duffy said in an interview with California Watch and KQED. "I’m actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It’s gone mainstream. Not only is it inappropriate – one has to wonder what kind of message we’re sending to our children – it’s against the law."

Federal law prohibits people from placing ads for illegal drugs, including marijuana, in “any newspaper, magazine, handbill or other publication.” The law could conceivably extend to online ads; the U.S. Department of Justice recently extracted a $500 million settlement from Google for selling illegal ads linking to online Canadian pharmacies.

Duffy said her effort against TV, radio or print outlets would first include “going after these folks with … notification that they are in violation of federal law.” She noted that she also has the power to seize property or prosecute in civil and criminal court.

Marijuana dispensary ads currently appear in a wide range of alternative publications, as well as mainstream ones such as the McClatchy-owned Sacramento Bee.

Nothing like First Amendment meeting Drug War meeting States Rights meeting Federal Authority to start the day.

Mapping the Price of Weed
How to study underground economies? One way is to crowdsource data collection.
Floatingsheep gathered user generated data from from the Price of Weed Web site and teased out a visualization of who’s paying what across the United States. 
The map above appears in the September issue of Wired under the headline, “Infoporn: O Say, Can You THC?”
Via Floatingsheep:

The map featured in WIRED is taken from a much more detailed research paper focused on the potential for user-generated data to shed light on underground economies such as marijuana use. The map relies upon thousands of user reports on marijuana purchases referenced to city locations from the Priceofweed website (see our earlier posting). After cleaning the data to get rid of the outliers, we created a continuous surface using a statistical interpolation technique known as kriging to identify the average variance among price differences through a spherical semivariogram model. To obtain a price for each location show in the map above, an interpolated value was estimated as a weighted average of prices from its twelve neighboring points…
…We’re in the process of finalizing a paper analyzing this data including a state and city-level multivariate analysis of price. Key explanatory variables in the models include the legality of medical marijuana, level of production and an intriguing distance decay effect as one moves away from Northern California. 

Prices are per ounce.

Mapping the Price of Weed

How to study underground economies? One way is to crowdsource data collection.

Floatingsheep gathered user generated data from from the Price of Weed Web site and teased out a visualization of who’s paying what across the United States. 

The map above appears in the September issue of Wired under the headline, “Infoporn: O Say, Can You THC?”

Via Floatingsheep:

The map featured in WIRED is taken from a much more detailed research paper focused on the potential for user-generated data to shed light on underground economies such as marijuana use. The map relies upon thousands of user reports on marijuana purchases referenced to city locations from the Priceofweed website (see our earlier posting). After cleaning the data to get rid of the outliers, we created a continuous surface using a statistical interpolation technique known as kriging to identify the average variance among price differences through a spherical semivariogram model. To obtain a price for each location show in the map above, an interpolated value was estimated as a weighted average of prices from its twelve neighboring points…

…We’re in the process of finalizing a paper analyzing this data including a state and city-level multivariate analysis of price. Key explanatory variables in the models include the legality of medical marijuana, level of production and an intriguing distance decay effect as one moves away from Northern California. 

Prices are per ounce.