Marijuana and Cannabis Product News, Reviews and Views

A NORML Life: Cannabis Documentary Is Top Notch
Monday, August 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm
Photo: Cinema Libre Studios
Director Rod Pitman's just-released cannabis documentary, A NORML Life, goes beyond the recitation of facts and figures to capture the beating heart of the legalization movement, in all its passion, its commitment and its excitement.

It's an extraordinary job by Pitman, producer Doug Ross and a rich cast of cannabis characters including Seattle Hempfest founder Vivian McPeak (who, near the beginning of the show, rightly says America's marijuana laws are "fixing a problem that never existed,"), and it wastes no time in going for the emotional resonance which is the reason many of us are involved in this movement.

The documentary, which compellingly tells the proud story of advocates fighting for the legalization of marijuana, was released by Cinema Libre Studios on DVD last week. The film presents a strong case that the use of medical marijuana is effective, and that it is a safe alternative to pharmaceutical medicines.

Seattle Hempfest 2011 In Photos: Friday and Saturday
Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 10:20 am
All photos by Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ unless otherwise noted
Hempfest 2011, the biggest ever (as in, for the first time ever, three days, man) is still happening at Myrtle Edwards Park in Seattle until 10 p.m. Sunday night. The first two days saw plenty of memorable moments.

For me, speaking for the first time from the Share Parker Memorial Main Stage on Friday was a sure enough rush. Looking out, seeing and hearing that many cheering, happy people was definitely one of the high points of my weekend -- and one that I was able to replicate again on Saturday from the Seeley Memorial Stage, where I spoke just before 4:20 and got back up onstage with a big crowd of folks at the magic moment.

Here are some of the best photos from this weekend to remember.

Find The Right Marijuana Strain For You At
Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm
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Leafly helps you make sense of the plethora of medical marijuana strains available., online for just over a year now, is a powerful resource which can help medical marijuana patients find the strains which work best for them. Since its debut in June 2010, patients have used the site to explore the dispensary options available and to match strains with symptoms. 

When I entered one of my favorite strains, Afgoo, Leafly told me the effects, medical uses, and where I could find it, listing five dispensaries from 10 to 35 miles away.

Toke of the Town had a chance to chat with Mike Juberg, on the sales team at, about what the site has to offer.

Growing Marijuana? Get The Secrets of the West Coast Masters
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm
Photo: West Coast Masters
Do you grow medical marijuana? Would you like to have more of it? Ounces are for amateurs, according to Dru West, author of The Secrets of the West Coast Masters. West wants to teach you how to yield a pound per plant -- indoors.

The West Coast Masters are medical marijuana growers and patients from California, Oregon and Washington state. After researching the leading cannabis cultivation techniques from around the world, including bonsai and tomato horticulture, they developed what they call the "ultimate techniques" for growing medicinal marijuana.

"Throughout the mountains and valleys of the US West Coast resides a secret society of master growers who are producing marijuana of unbelievable yields and potency," we're told on the cover of this $34.99 hardback. "While most growers are content with a yield of two ounces per plant, these West Coast Masters consistently yield over a pound, and in some cases over two pounds, all while staying within the limits of their medical marijuana programs."

Cultivator's Handbook Still Around After Almost 40 Years
Monday, August 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm
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Graphic: Homegrown Goodness
Back when I first started noticing such things in 1977, Bill Drake's International Cultivator's Handbook was already a classic. Published in 1974, the book was one of the very first to market that went into detail on how to grow not only marijuana, but also coca and opium.

The volume, which became quite hard to find after it went out of print in the early 1980s for a few years, is now available again in a new large paperbound edition from the author.

Author William Daniel Drake Jr. is a writer, teacher and social inventor living and working on a biodynamic vegetable and flower farm located on Johnson Creek in the Texas hill country. Bill is a former professor of international management at the University of Texas at Dallas.

His counterculture books have sold more than three million copies in six languages worldwide since his first book, the Cultivator's Handbook of Marijuana, in 1969. 

Breathe Deeply: 4:20 Yoga Class Offered In California
Monday, August 15, 2011 at 11:47 am
Graphic: Cafe Press
​Classes are being offered in California and elsewhere which combine two kinds of relaxation and centering: yoga and marijuana.

The 4:20 Remedy Yoga Class at Brazilian Yoga and Pilates in Atwater puts together "two of hippy-dippy California's favorite feel-good, vaguely medicinal pastimes," reports Amanda Lewis at LA Weekly.

Yoga teacher Liz McDonald noticed that many of her private clients showed up high to practice yoga, so she decided to offer a class specifically catering to a cannabinated clientele.

She conceived of the class as "a gathering of creative minds, a very non-judgmental place where all are welcome," McDonald said. "Do I really want a couple of uptight conservatives in here? Ideally, no, but ... my business welcomes all types of people, especially those tight-asses that may need it most!"

5 Tips For Choosing A Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Friday, August 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm
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Photo: Steve Elliott ~alapoet~
The "medicine wheel" at Ben Reagan's dispensary, The C.P.C., is used to demonstrate for patients the continuum between sativa and indica varieties of medicinal cannabis.
Co-Founder, The C.P.C.

Choosing alternative medicine such as medical cannabis is a big decision, and one you probably took a long time to make.  Now that you're here, and whether or not you were previously a cannabis user, there are a few things you should know about dispensaries (also known as collectives) to ensure that you get the quality of life improvement and medical benefits you're looking for.

Here are five tips to help get you started on your new journey.

Synthetic Marijuana Ban Sailing Through Congress
Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 9:20 am
Photo: Daily Record
​Federal legislation that would ban possession and sales of chemical compounds found in products such as "K2," "Spice," and "bath salts" began moving this week in House and Senate committees. Lawmakers are considering four bills -- three in the Senate and one in the House -- that would add these synthetic drugs to Schedule I, which is the most restrictive category of drugs that have a "high potential for abuse and no medical value."
On Tuesday, the House Subcommittee on Health approved legislation by voice vote, and today (Thursday, July 28) the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Senate Judiciary Committee are scheduled to vote on legislation.
"Lawmakers are poised to repeat mistakes from the past by creating ineffective laws that will criminalize more people and drive these substances into the illicit market," said Grant Smith, federal policy coordinator with the Drug Policy Alliance. "History has clearly shown that prohibiting a drug makes it more dangerous, not less."

Diffuser Beads Help Cool Down Hits From The Bong
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 1:07 pm
Photo: 2K Industries LLC
Diffuser Beads, designed to cool the smoke in your bong or water pipe, come in six colors

I recently had a chance to try 2K Diffuser Beads, small plastic beads that are placed in the water chamber of a water pipe or bong. The beads cool down the smoke by adding more surface area, acting as a percolation chamber to break up the smoke before it reaches your mouth and lungs, making it less harsh.

They were created for those who enjoy the fun of smoking out of a water pipe, but find the hit a bit harsh.

The beads, made of high-grade recycled plastic described by the company as "100 percent safe and non-toxic," intermix with the smoke and water. This forces the smoke to separate and travel around each individual bead, softening the hit. Between 500 and 600 diffuser beads come in every jar.

'Holy Hippies' Tells Story Of 1971 Pot-Fueled Spiritual Bus Caravan
Monday, July 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm
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Graphic: Voluntary Peasants
For those who were too young or weren't born yet, have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be in the first wave of hippies that crested in the late 1960s and early 70s? So have I.

Now you can get a real window on that world, perhaps a clearer window than ever before. Actually, it's more of a total immersion in that world rather than just a window on it, because Holy Hippies and The Great, Round-the-Country Save-the-World School Bus Caravan is written very much from an inside viewpoint.

Holy Hippies is Book Two of Stiriss's "Voluntary Peasants Trilogy," penned by former UPI journalist turned hippie Melvyn Stiriss. Toke of the Town also loved Book One, Enlightenment: What's It Good For when it was released last December.

The trilogy is the first comprehensive, inside story of The Farm, the biggest, most successful hippie commune in United States history, located at Summertown, Tennessee.

The Farm won the "alternative Nobel Peace Price," the Swedish-based Right Livelihood Award, "for caring, sharing and acting with and on behalf of those in need at home and abroad."

The place really was a haven of good vibes; I visited several times during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and got a warm welcome each time. I remember being struck by the fact that the sentries at the front gate of The Farm didn't shake your hand -- they hugged you.