Issue 37 Guns, Weed, and State’s Rights Lars Smith Photos by Lars Smith. Editor's Note: It may be surprising to hear, but 46 states have legalized some form of marijuana use — and one of the four remaining states decriminalized it. While medicinal use is not the free-for-all of California or Colorado, it effectively demonstrates that nearly every state disagrees with, and disregards, federal law pertaining to marijuana. You don’t have to like marijuana. You don’t have to like the people or the culture that surrounds marijuana. But if you love guns and freedom, you should support marijuana reform. Introduction by Adam Kraut, Esq. Pot. Grass. Dope. Weed. Reefer. Ganja. Marijuana. Whatever you call it, Cannabis has been subject to regulation since the early 1900s. It wasn’t until the 1930s that marijuana was addressed at the federal level — around the same time the federal government imposed restrictions on individual’s Second Amendment rights. The 1970s brought a number of changes to the United States, including a significant event for marijuana. Oregon became the first state to decriminalize cannabis in 1973. Other states quickly followed. Nearly two decades later, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Over the past 20 years, 29 states and the District of Columbia have followed California’s footsteps, legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Lately, marijuana, particularly the medicinal variety, has been thrust into the same limelight as firearms. Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I narcotic, meaning that the Drug Enforcement Agency believes the drug has no currently accepted medical use (although the majority of states disagree) and has a high potential for abuse. As federal law prohibits an unlawful user of a controlled substance from possessing firearms or ammunition, people who may benefit from medical marijuana are forced to choose between their medicine and an enumerated constitutional right. Under the Obama administration, the DEA refused to reschedule marijuana, which would have alleviated this issue. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has taken the position that anyone who has a medical marijuana card, regardless of whether there's an indication they actually utilize it, falls under the prohibition found under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3). The agency even revised the ATF Firearm Transfer Form 4473 to add the following language, “Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.” While the debate regarding marijuana is far from settled, there’s a clear trend emerging. Many states and people believe marijuana offers a valid medicinal use, as evidenced by the legalization of the plant in a number of jurisdictions. While there are gun owners who believe marijuana is the “devil’s lettuce,” it’s important to consider the implications of adopting such a position — fellow citizens are denied the ability to exercise an enumerated constitutional right based on, in many cases, the use of a plant for medicinal purposes. Yet, opioids and their derivatives, which are arguably more dangerous, bring about no such implications for one’s constitutional rights. Marijuana may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, it’s incumbent upon us all to take note of the battle of states’ rights when it comes to cannabis. It can be distilled down to a simple phrase found in a lesser-quoted amendment. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” United States Constitution, Amendment X. Patrick Henry said it best, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Way more states disregard federal law than you may have thought. Strain Guide By Lars Smith You’ve probably heard cannabis is stronger these days than it was in the ’70s, and while the breathless media attention makes one wonder if there might be a standard-capacity magazine hidden in every bud, they don’t have it entirely wrong: It turns out selective breeding still works on plants, even if the government doesn’t like them. The major subspecies of weed available today are indica, sativa, hybrids of both, and CBD-heavy strains. They have differing ranges of effect, which can generally be characterized by subspecies. Growing conditions, weather, genetics, and random chance can significantly alter the perceived effects of buds from plant to plant, so these characterizations are more like well-defined guidelines, than hard and fast rules. No, not some backwoods sketchy grow operation. Indica: Gives a “Jeff Spicoli” high, with effects like couchlock, munchies, and “Wait, we watched all 20 seasons of South Park?” Also known for relief of pain, insomnia, anxiety, anorexia, nausea, muscle spasms, and more. Sativa: Invigorates, encourages creativity, and makes outdoorsy activities more fun. Want to take a hike, write, draw, or chat with your dog for 45 minutes straight? Introverted? Depressed? Have trouble socializing? Sativa. You still shouldn’t drive or go wandering off on a backpacking trip stoned just because it’s a sativa, but it’s far less impairing than an equivalent indica. Hybrids: Exactly what they sound like — crossbreeds of indica and sativa. They’re usually described as being indica or sativa dominant, letting you know what to expect. CBD: This is a substance, rather than a subspecies. Growers have bred for it, and you can now find strains that have a 9:1 CBD to THC ratio, making them effectively non-psychoactive and giving CBD a promising medical future. Cancer, inflammation, gastrointestinal issues, seizures, joint problems, and more have all seen some relief with CBD treatment in preliminary studies. Receiving a treatment without getting stoned is a big benefit. Strains: THC/CBD concentrations and price will vary by phenotype, grower, testing facility, retailer, and geographic region. Strains described in this guide are presented with typical concentrations and pricing. Your local dispensary may or may not have these specific strains, but usually they can guide you toward offerings with similar characteristics. Sativa: Cinex Strain Lineage: Cinex is a sativa, bred from a sativa/hybrid cross of Vortex/Cinderella 99 Nose: Strongly citrus, with a heavy undertone of diesel and wet dirt. Recreational Effects: An excellent example of everything sativas have to offer, Cinex is an outstanding way to start any day you don’t have to go to work. Creativity and energy will be plentiful, and if you pair it with a cup of coffee, you’ll definitely have the drive to follow through on all those ideas. Medical Benefits: Not particularly effective for pain relief, but it does help with aches. Overall, the impact targets the mind, rather than the body, as is common with sativa strains. Look for mood elevation and stress management with this strain, which it delivers nicely without being too intoxicating right off the bat. Downsides: Like most buds, these will dry out your mucous membranes, and of those reviewed here, this strain felt the highest on the “added anxiety” scale. Though to be fair, paranoia is a much less common trait of weed these days, as everyone tries to breed it out of their products. Don’t be afraid, but keep this in mind — if you have something in particular weighing on you, perhaps skip the Cinex this time around. Overall: Cinex is on the cheaper end of the scale, because it has a relatively middling overall THC content. But don’t let that fool you: if you’re looking for something to pair with a board game, a walk in the park, or maybe some time with a camera or a sketchpad, this is a great place to start. (14-20% THC) Typical Price: $8/gram Sativa: Fresh Squeezed Strain Lineage: Bred from the pride of Ohio's cannabis cultivation, Fresh Squeezed is a combination of Lemon G (sativa) and Face-Off OG (indica). It's another example of what a good sativa should be, winning 1st Place seat in the 2017 Oregon Cannabis Classic. While technically a hybrid, it’s included as a sativa because the indica effects are minimal. Nose: Sweet, mulch, citrus, but orange instead of lemon. It smells like clementines and wet dog Recreational Effects: Sativa up front here, with energy and positivity to spare: this strain is touted for its depression fighting ability. A pleasant body high accompanies this, while keeping anxiety or paranoia at bay and helping you relax while you talk or draw. Medical Benefits: Definitely good for mood/attitude adjustment. This is a well-regarded antidepression strain, and if you have a hole you need to crawl out of or just want to brighten your day a bit, reach for Fresh Squeezed. Downsides: If you guessed dry mouth, you win. Munchies might be an issue for some as well. Overall: A strong, balanced, yet notably sativa-dominant choice that demonstrates the positive medical properties of a carefully cultivated strain, without going too hard in any one direction. (22.27% THC 0.06% CBD) Typical Price: $11/gram Indica: Obama Kush Strain Lineage: Like many strains these days, this isn’t pure — it has a good bit of sativa heritage mixed in, but its effects land it squarely in indica territory. A child of the highly regarded Afghan (indica) and OG Kush (sativa hybrid), this strain attempts to give you all the hope and change you could want, so long as it’s in your couch. Nose: Very sweet, with a bit of woody, earthy, wet forest underneath. Quite pleasant and much more delicate than expected. If hippies smelled like this, they’d get a lot less sh*t from people. Recreational Effects: This strain lets you know it’s an indica right up front. Calm, euphoric, and silly are phrases that come to mind. It’s Afghan parentage is apparent, and you should consider where you are when you smoke it, because you’ll be there for a while. This isn’t entirely Spicoli territory as OG Kush elevates the level of discourse above Cheetos versus Funyons, while also keeping you from passing the hell out. Medical Benefits: Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you actually stop feeling pain, or if you just don’t care anymore, but the net effect is the same. Loosened joints, vanishing stiffness, and the ability to pop parts of your skeleton you forgot could move are high on the list here. Downsides: Desertification is a global problem, and you’re going to feel it in your face after Obama is done with you. Dry eyes/mouth are common side effects, but this strain delivers a little extra. Overall: A well-regarded indica that holds you back from the edge of becoming a stoner movie caricature. The strong indica high, balanced by a lack of munchies and sedation, makes for a more functional, but pleasantly strong effect. (15.8% THC) Typical Price: $9/gram Indica: Cactus Strain Lineage: Cactus is a blend of the always popular Afghan (indica), and one of the most famous strains in North America, Northern Lights (indica). It was among the 1st Place winners in the 2012 High Times Cannabis Cup. Nose: Strong. Not unpleasant, or overly skunky, but skunk definitely comes to mind. It’s balanced by a dash of lemon and a mellowing undertone of wet soil. Recreational Effects: An indica through and through, this is definitely the Jeff Spicoli of the bunch. A mellow, jovial time is to be expected with Cactus, with sleepy and dopey catching up the more you partake. If you want to relax after a long day, don’t have anywhere to go, and, depending on how hard you hit it, plan on going to sleep soon, Cactus would rarely fail to please. Medical Benefits: Pain and insomnia are the first to go down after a round with Cactus. This is a widely regarded painkiller strain, and it has been known to help with migraines and joint swelling as well. This could easily replace a nighttime regimen of ibuprofen and sleeping pills. Downsides: “I swear I’m not being lazy” and dry mouth and eyes are the side effects that seems hardest to breed out. As with all high-yield indicas, dizziness is a potential issue, especially if you overindulge. Headaches can follow as well, so be sure you don’t blow yourself out of the water with this stuff. Note that it, as is more common with indicas, will probably make you hungry, so either eat first, or go get some snacks before you settle in. Overall: Cactus is highly respected as a painkiller and knockout strain, and if you just want to veg out and have a good time, it’ll do that just as well. Just be sure to bring the chips, and don’t stand up too quickly. (29-32% THC 0.08%CBD) Typical Price: $11/gram Hybrid: XJ-13XPennywise Strain Lineage: This is a unique one, bred from XJ-13, a sativa dominant hybrid that’s well regarded as a clear-headed, intellectual high great for social occasions or deep conversations, and Pennywise, a high-CBD hybrid known for treatment of epilepsy, arthritis, and the side effects of neurological disorders or PTSD. This results in a lightly intoxicating 4/3 CBD to THC ratio that achieves the medical benefits of CBD while retaining the pleasant, uplifting, and mood elevating properties you’d expect from a sativa. Nose: Surprisingly subtle, with some strong pine overtones, and a sweet floral/fallen log aspect that softens what would otherwise be a bit like diluted turpentine. Not your usual skunky weed. Recreational Effects: The XJ-13 is noticeable, with positive attitude adjustment up front, and a desire to start doing something fun. CBD has little to no psychoactive effect beyond a very mild “one beer” type of loosening up, so not much to report on the Pennywise half. Overall impact is that of a very light sativa. Medical Benefits: Pain relief! Sore muscles and joints become noticeably less vocal, and overall stress levels bottom out pretty well. Downsides: Dry everything. Get a big glass of water, and if you wear contacts, consider switching to glasses. Overall: An excellent example of what crossbreeding can accomplish, this lightweight packs a strong medical punch while maintaining a light buzz that doesn’t leave you wondering if it’s actually working or not. (6.5%THC, 8.1% CBD) Typical Price: $7/gram Hybrid: Fire OG Strain Lineage: A pedigreed OG Kush strain, Fire OG comes from the original OG Kush, and an F3 generation Hybrid of OG Kush and Afghani called SVF OG Kush. This is cannabis genetics refinement at its best. Nose: Very earthy, lightly sweet, with some bright lemon and maybe Windex underneath. This definitely has a “compost” angle that isn’t bad, but quite strong. Recreational Effects: An interesting hybrid with both strong sativa and indica impact. It’s a bit harsh going down, but manages to hit every strong suit of both its parents as it takes effect. Happy, chatty, and creative follow a strong, sedate, pain relieving high that works as a sedative or sleep aid if you let it. Caution is recommended for novices with this one, as it hits hard and fades slowly. Medical Benefits: Reports of relief from neuropathy, insomnia, depression, and even headaches abound. While nobody we know has neuropathy, it certainly hits every other mark anecdotally. Downsides: It tastes rough. The compost smell doesn’t improve with fire, though an extract of this strain might be quite pleasant going down. Its impact is pretty hard too, so watch out for dizziness. Also, yes, dry mouth. Always dry mouth. Overall: A powerful weapon against pain, sadness, and good flavor, this is the .50 BMG of the bunch. Go easy, and you’ll have a very positive experience. (~20% THC 0.36% CBD) Typical Price: $9/gram Major Routes of Administration Routes of administration for weed are now more varied than ever. You can buy flower, sure, but you can also buy oils, extracts, edibles, topicals, and even 99-percent pure, crystallized THC. They all have various benefits and drawbacks, but the most noticeable difference is the amount of remnant terpenes (volatile chemicals that give bud, and other plants, their distinctive smells: current research indicates they may be what give indica and sativa strains their differing effects). Yes, THC is what gets you high, but the terpenes seem to be what make it up or down, lazy or creative, and so forth. The more pure the extraction process, the fewer non-cannabinoid substances (like terpenes) that will be left, and the less unique the character of the “high” will be. Flower Dried cannabis flowers Pros: Intact terpene profile, imparting a more unique effect; generally more variety at retail outlets; quality flowers can be processed into edibles or even homemade extracts (extracting oil from cannabis flowers is often a very volatile process, and should only be attempted by professionals) Cons: You need papers, at least, and ideally a pipe, bong, or vaporizer of some sort, which aren't cheap if you don’t want a piece of junk. Burning flower has a strong, distinct, and difficult-to-manage smell, which can linger for a surprising amount of time. Bad for apartment living. Edibles Brownies, chocolate, gummies, drinks, and anything else you consume. Pros: This is as gray man as it gets for weed. There’s no smoke, no vapor, no leftover product, and you can usually buy pre-dosed products with directions on how to ensure you only get a single (usually 10mg) serving, if that’s what you want. Cons: This is also as strong and long-lasting an effect as it gets for weed. You might have to wait two hours to feel anything, and lord help you if you jump the gun and double up before the first dose hits — this is how epic Reddit threats about disastrous dinners with your in-laws come to be. Topicals Products meant to go on your skin, from THC/CBD-infused oils, lotions, something like Tiger Balm, to even personal lubricants. The marketing is backed up by some convincing, if preliminary, research, and reviews are similarly positive (especially for the lube). Pros: High-quality topicals from a dispensary or a licensed manufacturer seem to work as advertised, and relieve inflammation transdermally, according to the research. If you like Tiger Balm and want to kick it up a notch, try it out. Cons: Expensive. Extracts Oil, resin, shatter/dab, hash Pros: Extracts are more cost effective, as you are paying for a much more concentrated product; a much smaller amount of product can achieve desired effects; they smell more like an e-cigarette than weed; oil can be found in cartridges for use with portable vaporizers, giving an already discreet choice a significant amount of portability. Extracts are also vaporized in a bong-style “Dab rig,” in which you apply the extract to a nail made of ceramic, titanium, or quartz, and inhale the vaporized product. Cons: Tolerance builds quickly when you dab and suck on a vape pen with 70-percent-plus THC extract. However, the potency of these products must not be underestimated, no matter how much of a tolerance you think you have. If you’re unfamiliar with orthostatic hypotension, do a huge dab your first time, and you’ll quickly find out how much fun double vision is. 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