Author Toke of the Town

Budtender Jason McDaniel behind the counter at Sticky Medz in Los Angeles.David Futch

Budtender Jason McDaniel behind the counter at Sticky Medz in Los Angeles.

Behind every counter at L.A.’s medical marijuana dispensaries is an expert who knows what strains are best for pain relief and which brownies best quell nausea caused by chemotherapy.

These experts are called “budtenders,” and their profession is a new career choice, whether they’re stocking the shelves and studying labels or learning medicinal properties and caring for the afflicted.

To get to know this quirky group, read more about California’s budtenders via L.A. Weekly.

ask_a_stonerWestword

Dear Stoner: I have a metal pipe that I can unscrew and clean, and the other day I had a great idea: What if I put a nug in there to get nice and sticky after smoking a few bowls? Will it be more potent?
JustBlaze

Dear Blaze: Now I know why natives get so annoyed with transplants, because no one who grew up here would ever think of doing such a stupid thing. No offense. Yes, sticking a nug in a pipe while you smoke can be a jailhouse way of coaxing it to get you a little higher, but it comes at the cost of your tastebuds, lungs and brain cells. That black stuff that covers the inside of your pipe is basically tar with some THC in it. Smoking it gets you high, but it’s not worth the damage it does to your lungs or brain cells while you’re coughing for five minutes — and it tastes like Bigfoot’s dick.

Take advantage of the beautiful state you live in, where pot enhancement is readily — and, more important, legally — available. A small drop of hash oil over a bowl will get you higher than a tar-coated nug ever could; some dispensaries even sell buds that are coated in the stuff. A small pinch of kief will also do the trick, and you can collect that yourself if you buy a grinder with a screen in it. Whatever you do, stay away from the metal hardware.

tinctures.800Westword

Dear Stoner: I just got some pot brownies, and I’m not planning to ingest them for two weeks. Do you think the potency will still be the same, and if they’ll be okay to eat? Can I heat them up if they go hard?Tasnim

Dear Tasnim: We’ve talked to multiple cannabis bakeries and kitchens about the shelf life of edibles, and all of them have said that edibles are pretty hard to tarnish in terms of potency, so two weeks definitely wouldn’t be long enough to harm your brownies. The “normal” ingredients in them are what you need to worry about, because they’ll decay much faster on your kitchen counter than THC would. Throw the brownies in the freezer if you’re scared of spoilage, but that’s just to fend off mold, not THC degradation. Freezing definitely beats food poisoning — and what a waste of pot that would be!

Take care when heating up frozen edibles — which usually have the texture of cold turds — as THC will slowly start to fade at temperatures over 200 degrees Fahrenheit (and die altogether at 392 degrees Fahrenheit). But most microwaves don’t take food above 212 degrees, so there shouldn’t be any noticeable difference in potency after the short fifteen seconds it takes to warm your brownie. Throw a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top or wash it down with a fatty glass of whole milk to increase the effects.

ask_a_stonerWestword

Dear Stoner: I hate dry pot. My roommate says he puts his on the bathroom counter, turns the shower on hot and lets the steam bring it back to life. Thoughts?
Monte

Dear Monte: Few things are worse than pinching a bud and seeing it crumble to dust — as so many of your dreams have. But cheer up: We’re here to help. First, dump whoever is selling you withered pot. This isn’t Kansas; there are plenty of people selling healthy weed in Colorado. If you need to resuscitate some dying nugs, though, don’t use the shower method. It’s not a bad idea in theory, but I’ve heard stories of mold appearing after this procedure. Besides, there are other options that use much less water.

Skin your favorite citrus and put a few of the peels in a jar (no bags) with the dry herb for a day, shaking the jar every few hours and burping it for fresh air. Or substitute slices of bread, lettuce leaves or tortillas for the citrus; they’ll do the same trick and won’t add a fruity flavor. You should only need a little of whatever you’re using; check the buds frequently to make sure they’re not getting too wet. My favorite method is to throw one or two fresh, damp buds in with the dry ones and let them spread the moisture. Keep trying until you find a system that works for you.

A Facebook photo of Jared Howard

A Facebook photo of Jared Howard

There are an infinite number of ways that a person can become a Schmuck of the Week.

And Jared Howard appears to have found a new twist on an old favorite: squealing.

The 23-year-old Texas college student was caught with a car full of marijuana while in Colorado — after which he seems to have gone many extra miles to make sure two fellow students from the Lone Star state shared his fate.

How so? After his arrest, Howard reportedly convinced Rafael Villegas-Perez, 20, and Stephen Martin-Emge, 23, to come to Colorado to help him move the weed — at which point they were busted, too.

800px-Las_Vegas_63-thumb-560x340.jpgadmin | Toke of the Town

Dear Stoner: I’m going to Vegas in October and wonder if I can use my Colorado medical card to pick up a little medicine while I’m there.
Rich

Dear Rich: Nevada is one of the few medical marijuana states with a reciprocity law that allows out-of-state patients to possess and purchase cannabis while they’re visiting. Although the state might not have as many dispensaries or options as you’ll find in Colorado, Nevada has become a haven for patients coming from states with more restrictive regulations — and those coming from states with no MMJ. A February article in the Las Vegas Sun detailed how pre-screened tourists with a valid California ID or U.S. passport boarded a California-bound bus in Vegas and were connected with a doctor, who evaluated the tourists for a California medical card. If the tourists were approved, a medical marijuana recommendation was printed on the bus in Vegas, where the new patients were then free to visit dispensaries and carry and consume cannabis.

Dear Stoner: I’ve been dealing with migraines for years, and my prescribed medication rarely works. I’ve been thinking about medical marijuana as an alternative treatment. Does it do anything for migraines?
Ken

Dear Ken: They say that those who deal with migraines and insomnia are the most intelligent and creative people; I am neither, but my dumb ass still dealt with the same issue growing up. I tried all sorts of treatments — aspirin, prescription ibuprofen and Imitrex, multiple MRIs, even locking myself in a dark, silent room — but nothing worked. I’ve also gotten so stoned that I’ve forgotten I even had a migraine — but that put me out of commission longer than the headache ever did. Finally, I spoke with a medical marijuana doctor about my condition, and he recommended tinctures and edibles.

CannaKids founder Tracy Ryan with her daughter Sophie.Daniela Rey

CannaKids founder Tracy Ryan with her daughter Sophie.

When Tracy Ryan’s daughter Sophie was just 8 months old, doctors found a tumor in the newborn’s brain.

Doctors told Ryan that the slow-growing optic pathway glioma tumor near her daughter’s left eye would never go away. And if the tumor continued to grow, Sophie could lose vision in that eye.

Faced with the prospect of their daughter’s blindness, Ryan joined an increasing number of parents who are turning to cannabis to treat their children for illnesses ranging from cancer to epilepsy.

After nearly two years of chemotherapy combined with highly concentrated cannabis oil, made mostly of non-psychoactive, can’t-get-you-high cannabidiol (CBD) with traces of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — Sophie’s tumor has shrunk.

Read more of Sophie’s story via L.A. Weekly.

photo_dec_12_5_00_57_pmLindsey Bartlett

Did you miss us? We certainly missed you.

After an 18-month hiatus, Toke of the Town is back with a new, responsive redesign and new marijuana stories (coming soon). As marijuana continues to grow as an important national (and international) political and cultural issue, Toke of the Town has returned to bring you pot news and views from across the country, via Voice Media Group’s alt-weekly network. If you don’t already, we hope that you’ll follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with the latest developments in the world of marijuana.

 

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Brandon Marshall

 

Update, June 14, 2016: We’re back, and we hope we’ll see you again.

Since 2009, Toke of the Town has brought you the biggest marijuana news and loudest pot views from across the country — and around the world. Along the way, we’ve covered the huge progress many states have made towards legalization and wondered why others are so far behind. The country still has a long way to go, but things are looking up — and we have our fingers crossed that 2015 will be another big year for legalization.
But Toke won’t be around to see it — at least, not in its present form. This is Toke of the Town’s final day of publication.
Don’t worry: We’re not quitting the movement. We’re just returning the focus of our marijuana coverage to our local Voice Media Group papers. You can still read William Breathes’ weekly pot reviews and Ask a Stoner column at Westword.com, where they started, and you can continue to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. And you can keep following Toke on Facebook and Twitter, too, for the latest marijuana news from all our papers.
Many thanks for reading and supporting us for the past five years! We couldn’t have covered the marijuana community without such a strong one reading us.
And all our archives will remain online, because we wouldn’t want you to lose access to our serious reporting on issues of medicine and our lighthearted coverage of stoner movies.
Light one up for us, won’t you?

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