Marijuana and Cannabis Product News, Reviews and Views

Cultivator's Handbook Still Around After Almost 40 Years
Monday, August 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm
intl cultivators handbook drake.jpg
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
DSCF1226 sized for toke.jpg
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
Holy Hippies Cover-1.jpg
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.

Fistful of Reefer: 'Reeferpunk' Novel Is Western On Weed
Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm
Graphic: Reeferpunk
Fistful of Reefer is a dieselpunk, weird Western pulp novel featuring goats, guns, and the camaraderie of outcasts. Marijuana was the plan, liberty the dream, revolution the result. Viva this!

David Mark Brown's debut novel is the first in a series he calls Reeferpunk -- an alternate history that explores the ramifications of an industrial revolution sans cheap oil.

Set along the Texas-Mexico border during the waning years of the Mexican Revolution, Fistful of Reefer focuses on a group of unlikely heroes and their equally unlikely foe as they stumble upon the fringes of a cabal bent on nothing short of redrawing geopolitical boundaries and world domination.

Anticipated release of this ebook exclusive is July 31. ~ Editor

By David Mark Brown
Special to Toke of the Town

If any of you are old enough, you might remember the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups commercial, "You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!" The ad ended with the tagline, "Two great tastes that taste great together." That's how I feel about Reeferpunk. Whether you end up preferring punk in your reefer or reefer in your punk, from now on they just gotta go together.

Hempsters Documentary Compellingly Explores A Movement
Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm
Graphic: Desert Star Weekly
Going into the documentary Hempsters: Plant The Seed, I was already aware of many of the facts surrounding the hemp plant and its many uses to humanity for food, fiber, pharma and fuel.

But as a good docu tends to do, this film doesn't just engage your intellect; it touches your heart, too, and that emotional impact took me somewhat by surprise.

The lively documentary, directed by Michael Henning and produced by Diana Oliver, explores the reasons why the United States is the only developed country on Earth that bans the cultivation of industrial hemp.

Due to its relation to marijuana, it is illegal under federal law to grow hemp in the U.S. Hemp is considered a drug under the Controlled Substances Act even though it contains minimal levels -- less than one percent -- of marijuana's chief psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Video of the Day: No Knock Raid
Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 10:52 am

Note: This video contains graphic images of violence and mature language. Viewer discretion is advised. 

"No Knock Raid," written and performed by Toronto-based musician Lindy, is a searing indictment of one of the most aggressive, ubiquitous, and mistaken tactics in the War on Drugs.

Marijuana Lab Touts Free Website Development For Dispensaries
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm
If you have a dispensary in California and test five or more strains weekly with, you can qualify for a free website., which is both a social networking website and medical marijuana testing laboratory, announced on Wednesday it is introducing a $250,000 program for the development of 25 websites to be built for qualifying medical marijuana dispensaries.

The company said it aims to show than an effective social web strategy will fully offset the cost of medical marijuana testing.

"We have a problem in the medical marijuana industry," said Angel Stanz, cofounder and president of Santa Barbara-based "Many caregivers are distributing marijuana that is potentially contaminated with harmful mold and pesticides, while therapeutic dosing is rarely explained. Handling untested medicine without potency guidelines to patients is medically irresponsible."

BudGenius says its internal study showed that less than one-third of all dispensaries surveyed in California test their marijuana for safety and potency. Of those currently testing, less than 25 percent maintain strict protocols to keep their catalog up to date.