My Interview with Alex Berenson, Author of Tell Your Children…

After some back and forth wrangling with a publicist, I did it. I booked an interview with the author of Tell Your Children, The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence.

Cue all the due diligence: read the book cover to cover, take copious notes, follow him on social media and read everything I could find about the book and the man himself.

Not only because I wanted to be as prepared as I could be, but also because, well…he seems mean. Angry. His attack on cannabis seems personal, like he is seeking revenge. I had also seen him go after people in a personal way on Twitter, and I thought to myself, “I could see this guy looking at my questions and going after me online for fun. To kill some time on a dull afternoon.”

My article for Civilized, Scientists Are Calling Out Alex Berenson’s Reefer Madness – And He Deserves It, did not seem to attract his attention. But I’m small fry. Maybe he’ll find me on social media when he’s done going after everyone else.

 

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Cannabis and Hemp Greatest Hits…for January, At Least…

As always, when covering the cannabis industry, there is always plenty to write about. In the pieces below, I cover cannabis and weight loss, whether or not cannabis is addicting, and talk hemp and CBD trends for 2019.

This one, for PotGuide, was a little tricky. In the wake of Alex Berenson’s book, Tell Your Children…prohibitionist voices are feeling more comfortable talking about cannabis’ harms, no one more so than Berenson, who lost a brother-in-law to drug overdose, and whose wife works with a violent, mentally ill population, all of whom, according to Mrs. Berenson, use marijuana. In this piece, I talk about cannabis use disorder and addiction, and break down whether you actually can be addicted to cannabis, and not just “psychologically addicted” as many have owned up to. You can read my take here in Is Cannabis Addictive?

I talked with hemp industry leaders about their predictions for hemp and non-intoxicating CBD now that the Farm Bill has passed in my piece for Freedom Leaf, Now That Hemp’s Legal, All Roads Are Leading to Mass Market Retail. 

And, with a new year comes the New Year’s resolutions, so for MERRY JANE, I learned from an expert whether cannabis can help with weight loss. Check out my piece, Can Cannabis Help You Lose Weight?

Can Non-Intoxicating CBD Support Female Fertility?

I pitched this idea to my editor for a few reasons. But the driving force behind it was that I feel like people grow enormously uncomfortable talking about women’s infertility and the emotional life boiling underneath it.

We know plenty about how cannabis effects male fertility. But simply, I wanted to know more about how, and if, the women baring their souls on TTC message boards could be helped by CBD.

But I also wanted to protect them, to provide them with information that could demystify the terribly confusing and much-hyped CBD. After all, if you’re spending money on false unicorn, acupuncture, eating special diets, and resting post-sex with your legs in the air to achieve a healthy pregnancy, wouldn’t you want to know?

Here’s what I learned while writing Can CBD Support Fertility for Civilized.

CBD Mascara and Eyebrow Gel. Or not.

As a writer covering the cannabis space, a trend I have been especially leery of is CBD. In hipster-friendly NYC, CBD is EVERYWHERE. Yoga class, spas, makeup, smoothies, pop-up shops, mocktails, CBD dinners, the list goes on and on and people are shelling out a bunch of bones to jump on the bandwagon.

For example, a co-worker recently told me about a friend of hers who had attended a canna-yoga class (a bit of a lie from the top since only medical cannabis is legal in NY), and that all they did was put on CBD cream and do yoga. But, that friend of hers had paid a lot of money for that yoga class.

While researching this piece I did for Civilized, Hemp CBD is Now Legal, But Is It More Than Just A Trend, I confess, I caved. I bought one of the products, an eyebrow gel mentioned in the article because, as long as I’m confessing, finding an eyebrow product that matches my hair is a real chore, so I’m always on the hunt.

The reviews were glowing. Women were so excited for their new CBD eyebrow gel and mascara to help their eyebrows and eyelashes grow, and to make them thicker and more lustrous. And the mainstream press slobbered over it as a new and daring CBD product.

But guess what? There is no CBD at all in the product I bought, or the mascara. It’s hemp seed oil, which I can buy in a giant bottle at Whole Foods for ten bucks. And my eyebrows, while I cannot say that they haven’t grown more full and lustrous, I also can’t say that they have.

Now that the 2018 Farm Bill has been signed, I’m hoping that there will finally be some smart oversight on the hemp CBD industry, and customers can actually know what they’re paying for.

 

 

 

 

And now, MERRY JANE

My mom used to say, to my great distress since it really kicked my sense of fairness, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Of course, every job I’ve had in the years since I first heard that saying have pretty much boiled down to just that. So, thanks, Mom. I always think of her other nuggets of wisdom, especially when on the phone with say, my health insurance, like, “Kill them with kindness,” and “You get more flies with honey than vinegar.”

I can now add MERRY JANE to my writing portfolio as well, a gig I picked up thanks to the wise words of Mom.

Here you can learn more about how Dispensaries are Recommending Pot to Pregnant Women, and the Feds Aren’t Happy

And Now…For Something Different…

I am very excited to share that I can add writing for Civilized to my portfolio.

In my first piece, I explore obstacles cannabis industry advocates may face as legalization moves into red states. Utah voters passed Prop 2, but the church/legislature isn’t done with it yet.

The Mormon Church vs. Marijuana, and Other Struggles Red States Face to Legalize

And in my second piece, I sat down with industry superstar Wanda James at a very loud Starbucks around a very tiny table. We talked about entrepreneurs of color and how they may be left out of the cannabis industry boom.

But she also used the word “hope” a lot. A silver lining for Ms. James.

Entrepreneurs of Color Are Being Left Out of the Cannabis Boom

The Mormon Church and Medical Marijuana

Full disclosure: I grew up in the beautiful Beehive State surrounded by incredible mountain ranges, a view to the west that showed a shimmering Great Salt Lake, and six brothers and sisters. Good Mormon folk. Good hearts.

So when I have the opportunity to draw upon my roots as Utah girl, I try to put them to good use. And covering the back and forth between conservative lawmakers and medical marijuana advocates has revealed a state in the turmoil of change.

Laws. Religion. Medical care. Advocacy. They all intersect in a way that sheds light on history and a mighty establishment, the Church, unwilling to concede the reins of power over the legislature, and most importantly, obstructing the free agency of Utahns (a key Mormon tenet) as voters head to the polls this November.

Here’s my deep dive into the roots of Mormons and marijuana for Freedom Leaf.

Mormons Oppose Marijuana Initiative in Utah Despite History of Cannabis Use

 

 

 

 

More K2 Overdoses

The use of K2, or Spice, has been causing real harm to those who use it. The subsequent reporting from the media is mostly wrong, because they continue to conflate a synthetic cannabinoid, like K2, with cannabis. And they’re not the same thing. At all.

But – in the media’s defense, I can’t blame them. How K2 works in the brain is complicated. It takes a while to sort out.

An overdose on K2 is not necessarily unexpected because its potency varies, batch by batch, maker by maker, chemical by chemical.

People I know who have used K2 did so because they thought it would have the same effect as cannabis, while also being very accessible, sold at a much cheaper price, and undetectable on drug panels.

I wrote this piece on K2 around three years ago. Sadly, the problem lingers. I did a lot of research for this piece about how it interacts in the brain and how that manifests in the body.

Please take a look at The Specter of Spice.

 

Medical Marijuana in Utah…What the Heck?!

I have been covering the forward momentum on the medical marijuana front in Utah for several years now.

It has been very interesting to watch local public sentiment shift. But, as a writer covering the cannabis space it has been very disheartening to see the laziness of coverage.

You see, Utah isn’t just a conservative state. In order to really understand the interplay between local politicians, the Mormon Church, and the morality of some laws, especially liquor and now cannabis, you need to have the inside track.

And as a kid who grew up in the state, religion, and culture, I hope I can shed some insights that have been missing from of the other, very cursory coverage.

Here’s my most recent piece for Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, where I report the early summer follies of medical marijuana advocates and opponents.

Tit for Tat: The Battle to Get Medical Cannabis on Utah Ballots