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

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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

In A Small Room With Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

Not gonna lie, interviewing Jesse “The Body” Ventura was surreal.

Imagine being in what was maybe a 5×5, curtained-off section of convention center floor with what felt like a very tall pacing animal.

We had a long conversation about my red hair, and how he had a Norwegian friend growing up who had red hair whose mother made this awful, smelly fish dish. “Lutefisk,” he practically growled, “and she cooked it in LYE.”

In the end though, it felt canned, like he had memorized some things — which I’m sure he had since he was on a bit of a press junket for his new book, “The Marijuana Manifesto,” and an upcoming RT television show.

For anyone interested in reading the book to learn more about marijuana from the Governor…don’t bother. He sheds no new light.

What he does tell, however, is a story about having dinner with Woody Harrelson and Donald Trump. “Coulda sold tickets!”

Governor’s Gravitas: Jesse Ventura Wrestles W/ Cannabis

 

States (and Mitch McConnell?!) Move to Enact Some Cannabis Protections

The past few weeks have seen some interesting moves in the cannabis world.

Maine recently passed a law that protects cannabis users from a having to pass a drug test as a condition of employment.

Mitch McConnell, who has actually been on the forefront of KY farmers growing hemp, introduced legislation to remove hemp from the list of controlled substances.

Oklahoma recently saw the passage of an industrial hemp law that allows them to grow hemp in conjunction with university research (as part of the 2014 Farm Bill).

Coming soon: my piece speaking with the Oklahoma lawyer who is the driving force behind OK farmers having access to this cash crop.

Cannabis in the Workplace: Maine Protects Off the Job Consumption

Senate Leader McConnell Introduces Hemp Legalization Bill

 

 

 

 

Patagonia: Taking on the Trump Administration over Bears Ears

I’m a Utah girl. I love my trails. There is nothing better than redrock under your feet, sky the color of periwinkle, a few wispy clouds floating lazily by, the sun blazing down.

But land use in the West — responsible land use — is rife with western belief systems about government overreach. There is still a stink of  a “those damn hippies” mentality, as rural interests are struggling with how to be a part, or perhaps if they even want to be a part of a modern economy.

After Trump and Secretary of the Interior and wannabe cowboy Ryan Zinke shrank Bears Ears by more than 85 percent, Patagonia, and several local tribal organizations decided to sue the administration.

In this piece for Freedom Leaf, I speak with tribal leaders about the local dynamic at play.

Patagonia vs. Trump

Talkin’ weed with Bill Allred of The Let’s Go Eat Show and X96’s Radio From Hell

Being able to sit across the lunch table from Bill and have a conversation about weed was a really cool experience.

Bill is a DJ at one of the longest running radio morning shows in the country, I’m guessing. And now, he has his own podcast, where like the title, you have a meal and shoot the shit.

I first saw Bill and one of his co-DJ’s Kerry Jackson (who also has an incredible podcast called The Geekshow Podcast) at a mall in Ogden, Utah, when I was about 13.

They were famous to me because they were the voices of my teen years, and I livestream them nearly every day as I get ready for work.

I know they’re mortal and all, but I would really love it if Kerry, Bill, Gina and The Radio From Hello show could last forever.

So give a listen to me and Bill talkin’ weed on The Let’s Go Eat Show. Make mine a double!

Talking Weed with Erin Hiatt