The Feds Will Let States Legalize Pot… Maybe
Ever since Colorado and Washington state voted last November to legalize marijuana and treat it like alcohol or coffee or anything else that comes from nature, maaaaaaaan, the question has been how the federal government would respond. Would the people in charge of conducting the war on drugs really be OK with letting state law trump federal law? Well, the Department of Justice released a memo today and it turns out that yes, they’ll let everyone from Seattle to Denver light up legally—but there are some caveats, as always.
The memo (which can be read in full here) says that the DOJ has already been prioritizing stopping the really bad crimes that are connected to marijuana, like the sale of pot to kids, revenue going to cartels and other criminals, and violence that’s connected with the weed trade. It goes on to advise prosecutors that focusing on those activities is still a good idea before tackling the meat of the matter at hand: though some states have legalized weed, it shouldn’t change the Feds’ policy of going after drug growers and dealers who are killing people, growing pot on federally-owned land, or breaking the law in other ways. 
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The Feds Will Let States Legalize Pot… Maybe

Ever since Colorado and Washington state voted last November to legalize marijuana and treat it like alcohol or coffee or anything else that comes from nature, maaaaaaaan, the question has been how the federal government would respond. Would the people in charge of conducting the war on drugs really be OK with letting state law trump federal law? Well, the Department of Justice released a memo today and it turns out that yes, they’ll let everyone from Seattle to Denver light up legally—but there are some caveats, as always.

The memo (which can be read in full here) says that the DOJ has already been prioritizing stopping the really bad crimes that are connected to marijuana, like the sale of pot to kids, revenue going to cartels and other criminals, and violence that’s connected with the weed trade. It goes on to advise prosecutors that focusing on those activities is still a good idea before tackling the meat of the matter at hand: though some states have legalized weed, it shouldn’t change the Feds’ policy of going after drug growers and dealers who are killing people, growing pot on federally-owned land, or breaking the law in other ways. 

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I Saw the Future of Pot at Seattle’s Hempfest
It’s been a good year for pot lovers. The new recreational weed laws Washington and Colorado passed last November have taken effect. Illinois just became the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana. An industry eager to help users find and ingest their favorite strain grows larger and more legitimate by the day. And the federal government—which still outlaws producing, selling, and using pot—has yet to pull the plug.
So naturally, the vibe at the 22nd annual Hempfest—the massive pot pageant held in Seattle, Washington, this past weekend—was 100 percent celebratory. Sure, there were the usual activists calling for an end to federal prohibition. But the real business of the three-day weed-stravaganza was to make a leisurely victory lap to mark the state’s recent legalization of recreational ganja.
The scene at this so-called protestival, was fairly predictable, especially if you’ve spent time at freakier potcentric scenes like Phish or Grateful Dead concerts (events I’ve been to more times than I’d like to admit). Teens and seniors alike crowded Seattle’s downtown waterfront park to shop, dance, take in the sun, make a statement, people watch, and light up.
To answer your question, yes, there were bongs available for purchase.

Half a dozen stages featured an endless loop of reggae and cosmogroove (yes, that is a real genre). Speakers gushed excitedly about the beginning of the end of prohibition and the remaining work to be done. Vapes, pipes, bongs, grinders, memorabilia, and munchies spilled from hundreds of vendor booths. Pot leaves embellished stages, products, business cards, T-shirts, and port-a-potties. Even Ken Kesey’s legendary Further bus made an appearance. Everywhere I looked, someone was firing up a joint, pipe, or bong.
Continue

I Saw the Future of Pot at Seattle’s Hempfest

It’s been a good year for pot lovers. The new recreational weed laws Washington and Colorado passed last November have taken effect. Illinois just became the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana. An industry eager to help users find and ingest their favorite strain grows larger and more legitimate by the day. And the federal government—which still outlaws producing, selling, and using pot—has yet to pull the plug.

So naturally, the vibe at the 22nd annual Hempfest—the massive pot pageant held in Seattle, Washington, this past weekend—was 100 percent celebratory. Sure, there were the usual activists calling for an end to federal prohibitionBut the real business of the three-day weed-stravaganza was to make a leisurely victory lap to mark the state’s recent legalization of recreational ganja.

The scene at this so-called protestival, was fairly predictable, especially if you’ve spent time at freakier potcentric scenes like Phish or Grateful Dead concerts (events I’ve been to more times than I’d like to admit). Teens and seniors alike crowded Seattle’s downtown waterfront park to shop, dance, take in the sun, make a statement, people watch, and light up.


To answer your question, yes, there were bongs available for purchase.

Half a dozen stages featured an endless loop of reggae and cosmogroove (yes, that is a real genre). Speakers gushed excitedly about the beginning of the end of prohibition and the remaining work to be done. Vapes, pipes, bongs, grinders, memorabilia, and munchies spilled from hundreds of vendor booths. Pot leaves embellished stages, products, business cards, T-shirts, and port-a-potties. Even Ken Kesey’s legendary Further bus made an appearance. Everywhere I looked, someone was firing up a joint, pipe, or bong.

Continue

Kings of Cannabis

You might not know who Arjan Roskam is, but you’ve probably smoked his weed. Arjan’s been breeding some of the most famous marijuana strains in the world—like White Widow, Super Silver Haze, and many others—for over 20 years.

In 1992 he opened his first coffee shop in Amsterdam and has since crafted his marijuana-breeding skills into a market-savvy empire known as Green House Seed Company, which rakes in millions of dollars a year.

He’s won 38 Cannabis Cups and has dubbed himself the King of Cannabis.

VICE joins Arjan and his crew of strain hunters in Colombia to look for three of the country’s rarest types of weed, strains that have remained genetically pure for decades. In grower’s terms, these are called landraces. We trudge up mountains and crisscross military checkpoints in the country’s still-violent south, and then head north to the breathtaking Caribbean coast. As the dominoes of criminalization fall throughout the world, Arjan is positioned to be at the forefront of the legitimate international seed trade.

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You might not know who Arjan Roskam is, but you’ve probably smoked his weed. Arjan’s been breeding some of the most famous marijuana strains in the world—like White Widow, Super Silver Haze, and many others—for over 20 years.In 1992 he opened his first coffee shop in Amsterdam and has since crafted his marijuana-breeding skills into a market-savvy empire known as Green House Seed Company, which rakes in millions of dollars a year.He’s won 38 Cannabis Cups, and has even dubbed himself the King of Cannabis.VICE joins Arjan and his crew of strain hunters in Colombia to look for three of the country’s rarest types of weed, strains that have remained genetically pure for decades. In grower’s terms, these are called “landraces.” We trudge up mountains and crisscross military checkpoints in the country’s still-violent south, and then head north to the breathtaking Caribbean coast. As the dominoes of criminalization fall throughout the world, Arjan is positioned to be at the forefront of the legitimate international seed trade.Check back Monday, July 29, for part one of Kings of Cannabis.
Watch the trailer

You might not know who Arjan Roskam is, but you’ve probably smoked his weed. Arjan’s been breeding some of the most famous marijuana strains in the world—like White Widow, Super Silver Haze, and many others—for over 20 years.

In 1992 he opened his first coffee shop in Amsterdam and has since crafted his marijuana-breeding skills into a market-savvy empire known as Green House Seed Company, which rakes in millions of dollars a year.

He’s won 38 Cannabis Cups, and has even dubbed himself the King of Cannabis.

VICE joins Arjan and his crew of strain hunters in Colombia to look for three of the country’s rarest types of weed, strains that have remained genetically pure for decades. In grower’s terms, these are called “landraces.” We trudge up mountains and crisscross military checkpoints in the country’s still-violent south, and then head north to the breathtaking Caribbean coast. As the dominoes of criminalization fall throughout the world, Arjan is positioned to be at the forefront of the legitimate international seed trade.

Check back Monday, July 29, for part one of Kings of Cannabis.

Watch the trailer

Medical Weed Growers in Canada Are Ready for a Fight
 If you haven’t heard of marijuana activist and grower Mik Mann, he’s the articulate hippie and Frank Zappa look-alike we interviewed for our documentary BC Bud. He lives out in Port Alberni, a pretty remote town on Vancouver Island where he grows medicinal weed from the comfort of his basement garden.For the last decade, Mik has enjoyed the benefits of a legal marijuana-growing license under Canada’s now-defunct federal Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). He’s been floating on a healthy dose of seven grams of marijuana a day, which he cultivates from 35 plants with a doctor’s prescription for various debilitating conditions like spinal arthritis and degenerative disc disease. All that is officially set to change under the newly implemented and conservative-devised Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), which, among other things, makes it illegal for users to personally grow their own pot. Instead, medical users like Mik, who predominantly make less than $30,000 a year and suffer from various diseases, will be forced to purchase corporate dope: only for-profit companies can afford the extensive requirement for licenses to grow in the new system.Right now, patients pay an average of $1.80 a gram for marijuana. That will rise to $8.80 a gram when the MMPR takes effect in 2014. Estimates slap those same patients with an additional $166 million a year for the next ten years. In other words, the 28,115 Canadians using marijuana to ease chronic pain will be forced to rely on pricier government-sanctioned companies instead of personally growing it themselves for basically nothing.
CONTINUE

Medical Weed Growers in Canada Are Ready for a Fight

 If you haven’t heard of marijuana activist and grower Mik Mann, he’s the articulate hippie and Frank Zappa look-alike we interviewed for our documentary BC Bud. He lives out in Port Alberni, a pretty remote town on Vancouver Island where he grows medicinal weed from the comfort of his basement garden.

For the last decade, Mik has enjoyed the benefits of a legal marijuana-growing license under Canada’s now-defunct federal Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). He’s been floating on a healthy dose of seven grams of marijuana a day, which he cultivates from 35 plants with a doctor’s prescription for various debilitating conditions like spinal arthritis and degenerative disc disease. All that is officially set to change under the newly implemented and conservative-devised Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), which, among other things, makes it illegal for users to personally grow their own pot. Instead, medical users like Mik, who predominantly make less than $30,000 a year and suffer from various diseases, will be forced to purchase corporate dope: only for-profit companies can afford the extensive requirement for licenses to grow in the new system.

Right now, patients pay an average of $1.80 a gram for marijuana. That will rise to $8.80 a gram when the MMPR takes effect in 2014. Estimates slap those same patients with an additional $166 million a year for the next ten years. In other words, the 28,115 Canadians using marijuana to ease chronic pain will be forced to rely on pricier government-sanctioned companies instead of personally growing it themselves for basically nothing.

CONTINUE

Take a mind-melting journey through the Silicon Valley of weed.

Take a mind-melting journey through the Silicon Valley of weed.

North Korea Smokes a Lot of Weed
Long-time VICE contributor Alex Hoban has been covering North Korea for us for years, but it turned out he had so much to say on the topic he decided to start a news site dedicated to the country. NK NEWS is the result, and since its relaunched last September it’s been running great daily stories like the one we’re featuring here by Ben Young. So go check out the site, follow them on Twitter, and, if you’re feeling super daring, they’ve also got this mysterious sign-up sheet that offers you a chance to join them on their next adventure inside the hermit kingdom.

North Korea, the most tight-lipped, conservative, and controlling country in the world is also a weed-smoker’s paradise. Despite the government’s deadly serious stance on the use and distribution of hard drugs like crystal meth (which has a notorious legacy in the country), marijuana is reportedly not considered a drug. As a result, it’s the discerning North Korean gentleman’s roll-up of choice, suggesting that, for weed smokers at least, North Korea might just be paradise after all.
NK NEWS receives regular reports from visitors returning from North Korea, who tell us of marijuana plants growing freely along the roadsides, from the northern port town of Chongjin, right down to the streets of Pyongyang, where it is smoked freely and its sweet scent often catches your nostrils unannounced. Our sources are people we know who work inside North Korea and make regular trips in and out of the country.
There is no taboo around pot smoking in the country—many residents know the drug exists and have smoked it. In North Korea, the drug goes by the name of ip tambae, or “leaf tobacco.” It is reported to be especially popular amongst young soldiers in the North Korean military. Rather than getting hooked on tar and nicotine like servicemen in the West, they are able to unwind by lighting up a king-sized bone during down time on the military beat.Despite the fact the government doesn’t crack down on the use of marijuana (or opium) and its prevalence among the common people, traveling weed enthusiasts eager to sample some NK bud will likely be disappointed. If a Western tourist asks his or her guide where is the best place to get the “special plant,” as it is euphemistically referred to, the guide will most likely eschew the question. Most of them are educated enough in Western legal attitudes toward marijuana to not feel the need to promote anything that might attract negative press. Then again, bring them a bottle of Hennessy and they might be more willing to help you out.

Continue

North Korea Smokes a Lot of Weed

Long-time VICE contributor Alex Hoban has been covering North Korea for us for years, but it turned out he had so much to say on the topic he decided to start a news site dedicated to the country. NK NEWS is the result, and since its relaunched last September it’s been running great daily stories like the one we’re featuring here by Ben Young. So go check out the site, follow them on Twitter, and, if you’re feeling super daring, they’ve also got this mysterious sign-up sheet that offers you a chance to join them on their next adventure inside the hermit kingdom.

North Korea, the most tight-lipped, conservative, and controlling country in the world is also a weed-smoker’s paradise. Despite the government’s deadly serious stance on the use and distribution of hard drugs like crystal meth (which has a notorious legacy in the country), marijuana is reportedly not considered a drug. As a result, it’s the discerning North Korean gentleman’s roll-up of choice, suggesting that, for weed smokers at least, North Korea might just be paradise after all.

NK NEWS receives regular reports from visitors returning from North Korea, who tell us of marijuana plants growing freely along the roadsides, from the northern port town of Chongjin, right down to the streets of Pyongyang, where it is smoked freely and its sweet scent often catches your nostrils unannounced. Our sources are people we know who work inside North Korea and make regular trips in and out of the country.

There is no taboo around pot smoking in the country—many residents know the drug exists and have smoked it. In North Korea, the drug goes by the name of ip tambae, or “leaf tobacco.” It is reported to be especially popular amongst young soldiers in the North Korean military. Rather than getting hooked on tar and nicotine like servicemen in the West, they are able to unwind by lighting up a king-sized bone during down time on the military beat.



Despite the fact the government doesn’t crack down on the use of marijuana (or opium) and its prevalence among the common people, traveling weed enthusiasts eager to sample some NK bud will likely be disappointed. If a Western tourist asks his or her guide where is the best place to get the “special plant,” as it is euphemistically referred to, the guide will most likely eschew the question. Most of them are educated enough in Western legal attitudes toward marijuana to not feel the need to promote anything that might attract negative press. Then again, bring them a bottle of Hennessy and they might be more willing to help you out.

Continue