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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

To Waste or Not to Waste - by Rebecca Veenstra

   In the USA, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month. In the USA, organic waste is the second highest component of landfills.

     Statistics like that are disturbing all by themselves. When you pair that statistic with the number of hungry people in the U.S. and around the world it becomes even more upsetting. It is true that we should be more responsible with how we allocate food resources. Globally, there are enough resources to ensure that people don’t starve. However, the powers that be use different statistics to further their own causes instead of meeting the needs of the people.

     So, if we can’t personally end world hunger—if the US continues to waste food resources at such astronomical levels—is there another way to turn these lemons into lemonade?

     Well, in order to see the big picture let’s consider for a minute the amount of chemical fertilizers applied agriculturally in the United States.

     In the United States in 2014 according to world bank statistics approximately 745 lbs. of chemical fertilizer were applied per acre of usable land. North America produces and sells more fertilizer than any country in the world. North America is also the world’s second largest consumer of fertilizer.

     Ok, so we have all this food waste, and we are one of the world’s leaders in the use of chemical applications to our farmlands. How can we take these two statistics and use them to overcome our dependence on chemical fertilizers and make good use of the astronomical amount of food we waste every year? Perhaps if we took another approach we could revitalize our farmlands and make good use of the extraordinary amount of foods wasted in our country.

     In 2010, World Foods Markets took a new approach to this issue that I think we could all learn from. The stores capture out-of-date food from each of the departments, as well as from its administrative and customer service areas, and place it into a compost container located at the rear of the store. Waste Management collects the container and takes it to a site…where it is mixed with yard wastes and, over a six-month period, converted into compost. These stores recovered and re-purposed more than 1,100 tons of food wastes in the first year the program was implemented.

     Just think if every store in the country took the time to separate out compostable items from their daily waste? If one business can re-purpose over a thousand tons of waste per year, the amount of waste we could re-purpose nationally is potentially staggering. If we could apply the resulting compost to our farmlands the impact could be revolutionary to our nation’s depleted soils.

     Another use for compost was discovered by a company called Filtrexx out of Ohio. They developed the compost sock which is a tube filled with compost that can be used to protect waterways from pollution. The compost tubes filter water from storm water runoff and construction sites by capturing pollutants that would otherwise contaminate our waterways. These compost tubes work much more effectively than the industry standard silt fences that we are accustomed to seeing.

     How brilliant is that? The compost socks can also be used in agricultural applications. Plants can be planted directly into the tubes removing the need to till the soil. They can be used in greenhouses as well as farmlands. The plants root directly through the tube into the ground allowing for weed-free, chemical free cultivation.

     So, what does this have to do with cannabis and Michiganders? Well, for starters we are all contributors to this food waste problem. Statistics say we all throw out twenty pounds of food per month, and a lot of Michiganders use chemical fertilizers. Additionally, our new marijuana laws are written in a such a manner as to promote large scale cannabis cultivation that unfortunately could likely lead to large scale chemical fertilizer use.

   What if we initiate more conscientious methods in our own homes and demand that the inevitable new big marijuana farms do the same?

     According to the statistics there is plenty of food waste to accomplish this. If we insist the businesses we frequent re-purpose food wastes and if we refuse to accept chemically produced cannabis in our marketplace we could potentially create a new movement that will not in any way reduce business revenue, which is ultimately the deciding factor in the long run.

     People are all abuzz about these new laws and the potential for money making off cannabis in our State. There is a lot of talk about the “side-businesses” that will rise up to coincide with Marijuana commerce like marketing and grow supplies.

     Wouldn’t it be revolutionary to see Michigan develop large scale composting systems to provide all of Michigan’s farmers of cannabis and other agricultural products with healthy grow mediums and fertilizers that will enhance the health of our foods and herbs as well as livestock and farmland. We could use compost to protect our waterways in both agricultural and urban applications. Even hydroponic cultivators can use compost based products.

     I am sure there are plenty of people out there to argue that chemicals are easier and less work. I am sure plenty of people would say it’s easier to throw things out than to take the time to re-purpose them. I am sure that in the long run probably those people will win their way unless we stand up for ourselves and take the initiative to begin the movement at home. Insist on organic cannabis. Insist businesses in your community re-purpose their compostable waste.

     The ultimate outcome will be that people with dollar signs in their eyes will embrace the movement in order to profit. We will see large scale compost operations in our State that will provide jobs and healthy grow mediums to our agricultural producers. If people refuse to contribute to large scale food waste and turn down chemically grown products in the marketplace the only way to make a buck will be to satisfy the demands of the people. In the end, we do have the power. Only by complacency will we lose it.

Rebecca Veenstra
Founder, New World Seeds 
of Traverse City

2017 Hash Bash in Review - by Ben Horner

Ann Arbor, MI:  As cannabis becomes more mainstream so, too, does the annual Ann Arbor Hash Bash, which was held in the typical tradition on the diag at the University of Michigan on the first Saturday of April. As the medical marijuana industry grows, it’s influence plays a more dynamic role in the festivities. The Monroe Street Fair, Cultivation Classes by Arbor Side, and the first Hash Bash Cup were the best examples, however local advocates like Captain Kirk and his mobile rolling tray added to the day’s ganja glory.

     Rhory Gould, and the crew from Arbor Side (a premier dispensary in A2), brought two expert legendary speakers, Danny Danko and Gorge Cervantes to teach a Cultivation Seminar.  Danko brought insightful strategies for entering the new commercial world of cannabis production.

Cervantes showed how outdoor cultivation is done around the world; complete with slides from grows in California, Oregon, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico and several others.

    Both Gorge and Danko joined other local Michigan speakers like Adam Brook and John Sinclair to deliver the Hash Bash commencements on campus. As the main speaker finished attendees filtered out onto the Monroe Street Fair. There, Charlie Strackbein and the crew from BDT organized the street vendors and live entertainment. The weather was warm and sunny, copious amounts of marijuana in every form was available to purchase from people at the fair.

    On the Eastside, Cory the Budtender and      Adam Brook took over the old Clarion hotel.  They booked the entire hotel and turned it into the biggest weed flea market east of the Mississippi. Hundreds of patients came to try just about every flavor of sticky buds made in Michigan. The event was so successful Brook is considering doing another later this summer.

     There are estimates of over ten thousand visitors to the Bash, making this year the largest attended Hash Bash in the event’s forty-seven year history.

Grow Tip for May 2017 - by Ben Horner

Secured, Outdoor Growing

     All medical marijuana that is grown outdoors must comply with Michigan House bill 4851 that amended the MMMA. 

     According to the rules, all outdoor cultivation must not be "visible to the unaided eye from an adjacent property when viewed by an individual at ground level or from a permanent structure" and must be "grown within a stationary structure that is enclosed on all sides, except the base, by chain-link fencing, wooden slats, or a similar material that prevents access by the general public and that is anchored, attached or affixed to the ground, located on land that is owned, leased, or rented by the registered patient or caregiver and restricted to that grower's access.

     Just as important, if someone robs a grow, a patients medicine is going on to the streets, which endangers everyone’s ability to cultivate their own medicine.

Here are some tips to stay in compliance when growing outside:

1. Always grow on your property, or property that you are renting. Currently there is a bill in the works that would allow landlords to prohibit tenants from growing their own medicine, so make sure that one has permission to avoid complications.

2. Make sure your grow is secured on all sides and cannot be seen from anyone unless they are on your property. Fencing around your green house or other grow structure is the best solution. Chain link fence will do but you may need to acquire translucent material to line the fences. Just one leaf that is popping out could make one out of compliance so make sure you give your plants room to grow. Fencing must be secured to the ground in such a fashion that one could not easily break in.

3.  Secure your fencing to the ground. If one is growing on a concrete slab, secure it with high impact concrete screws. If one is on dirt use 4x4 posts every four to six feet around the grow structure. Using a post hole tool, dig two foot deep post holes and use quick setting concrete to secure the post in the ground. (if you need further instruction, look up do-it-yourself guilds to deck building) Then secure the post to the grow structure so nothing can lift it. 

4. Put something on top of your grow structure, such as chick wire. This will keep you in compliance for both a structural security as well as preventing your plants from growing so high that the girls may be seen from a distance.

5.  Use motion sensor floodlights, security cameras and watch dogs for additional security. If someone breaks in to a grow operation the security will be questioned and you will lose you medicine. 

6. Finally, do not tell anyone that does not need to know. Seems like common sense but more grows are stolen from bragging to friends and family than anything else.

MMM Report Visits 'The Spott' - by Joe Dauphinais

     We recently made a trip to check out The Spott, a medical cannabis testing facility in Kalamazoo. Conveniently located near I-94, this state of the art laboratory boasts some of the most cutting edge equipment in the entire state. The Spott provides growers and dispensaries with full spectrum testing including cannabinoid potency, terpene quantification, genetic profiling, residual solvents, and gender identification. The Spott offers more testing options than any other lab in Michigan, with a fast turnaround. Often in less than 24 hours!

     Inside the lab is quite impressive. The interior features highly educated personnel in lab coats running complicated machinery and equipment accompanied by computer screens displaying chromatographs and various other data, all pertaining to the scientific methods The Spott utilizes to obtain the most accurate results possible. With a combined experience of over 50 years in the industry, the staff at The Spott have a deep passion for science and cannabis.

     I had a chance to sit down with Linda, owner of The Spott. Linda told me that before The Spott came to be, she was looking to open a dispensary in Kalamazoo. With resistance from the city, Linda decided to go another route and instead got into cannabis testing in 2014. With continued problems from the city, The Spott faced loopholes and legal grey areas, but they were finally able to open up shop and made their first sale in 2015. Since then, The Spott has grown in leaps and bounds.

Among the half-million dollars worth of equipment, one machine stands out as the flagship of their fleet: The Waters Acquity H Class UPLC.   This bad boy is the latest and greatest thing when it comes to pharmaceutical level testing. It is used by Pfizer and other big name pharmaceutical companies.

     We met Greg, who has the pleasure of operating this liquid chromatography equipment. Employees at The Spott have a variety of degrees, including Masters in chemistry, Biological Sciences, and Basic Medical Science. Greg specializes in chemistry and has over 15 years pharmaceutical testing experience. Greg demonstrated how they separate every single component of the testing material through liquid dilution. Using this method, The Spott is able to quantify up to 13 cannabinoids with accuracy down to 0.002 percent.

     We also met Mike, who was at the microscope station examining some nugs of GMO Cookies. Mike explained how it was important to do a visual inspection of the materials first, looking for mites, mold, hairs, or other foreign debris. Mike also assesses the trichome formations and conditions. When asked what the strangest foreign matter he found was, he replied that he had once found a cocoon-like type of pupa inside a bud.

 Detecting contaminants is essential for any caregiver to know, as things like mold and other fungi could make people sick. Being aware of the cannabinoid profile and the concentrations of terpenes in cannabis is also quite important as different ratios of these components can have different effects on patients.

     Terpenes are the fragrant oils that give cannabis its aromatic diversity. The Spott has another instrument in its arsenal for detecting the terpenes in cannabis: the Agilent 6890 GC FID. With this, The Spott can detect the presence of over 26 different terpenes. Terpenes are now being studied for their therapeutic effects.

     Another important service that The Spott offers is sexing from a leaf sample. This helps for early determination of gender for your baby plants. The instrument which reveals  gender uses polymerase chain reaction technology to identify the DNA code specific to male cannabis. If you are interested in sexing your plants, please contact The Spott for their specimen collection guidelines. The Spott also happens to be the only lab in Michigan to run this gender test in-house.

     Genetic strain identification and certification is also available. If you have a unique strain, you can have the DNA sequenced and registered with StrainSEEK as proof of existence and ownership of cannabis genetic intellectual property on the BlockChain database.  

     The Spott also tests for residual solvents. Residual solvents are the solvents that can remain in cannabis oils, shatters, waxes, and edibles. It is important to know that if any solvents are left over after processing, they are at safe levels.

     The Spott is a multiple award winning facility, and is family owned and operated. You can trust that your samples will be treated with the utmost care and scrutiny. The staff is quite knowledgeable and experienced in chemistry, biology, pharmacology, botany, and cannabis. They will be more than happy to assist you in anything you need. They even offer growing consultations and grow room certifications.

     Turn the page for The Spott’s price list. If you are interested in contacting The Spott, they can be found at: 901 Riverview Drive in Kalamazoo, Michigan. They can also be contacted online:

They can also be found on Facebook and Instagram. Check them out!

Free the Weed 73 - by John Sinclair

Highest greetings from the former Motor City, where I’ve been celebrating at the many events held during Michigan’s spring marijuana festivities that started for me at the THC Expo at the Roostertail in March, continued through the intensive Hash Bash ceremonies on the Diag at the University of Michigan for the 46th consecutive year and at the Monroe Street Fair a couple of blocks away, then at the first Hash Bash Cup ceremonies at the Wyndham Gardens hotel and the traditional Hash Bash party at the Blind Pig with the great Macpodz band and their guests, including this writer.

 The Hash Bash Cup is a welcome addition to the annual celebration of smoking marijuana openly in defiance of the state laws, and in recognition of Ann Arbor’s historic $5.00 (now $25.00) fine for marijuana violations and recent vote to fully legalize marijuana use in the city, the Ann Arbor police close off Monroe Street at both ends and let the people mingle and smoke freely while shopping at the many stands and enjoying the music emanating from the stage.

     The Wyndham Gardens hotel was fully booked by the Cup organizers under the direction of Adam Brook and, absent any random guests who might object to the theme of the event, the celebrants at the Hash Bash Cup tested the strains submitted by the entrant growers, voted on their favorite preparations, browsed the booths and tables and bought lots of weed-related products from the expo vendors, and enjoyed music emanating from a big stage placed above the main floor for two full nights of total fun. I had the privilege of performing with my old pal and fellow former marijuana defendant, pianist Bob Baldori and his band, and with my producer Tino G and the Funky D Records crew as well.

     Following the Hash Bash activities I enjoyed a little series of signing parties for my book It’s All Good sponsored by Horner Books and MMMReport at Crazy Wisdom Books in Ann Arbor, at the terrific new bookshop in Flint called Totem Books followed by a concert with Macpodz at Churchill’s in downtown Flint, and at Dr. Bob’s Psychedelic Healing Shack in Detroit, where I returned on April 20 to host a 420 party with Jeff Grand and Bobby East on guitars, James Whalen on harmonica and Ras Kente’s Detroit reggae band on board.

     I’m probably leaving something out, but the last thing I remember is driving up to Flint in a vicious rainstorm on 4/20 and making an appearance at the annual 420 Party at Buddy’s Clio Cultivation headquarters north of the city, nor far from the Auto City Speedway where High Times presents its Clio Cannabis Cup in the summertime.  Buddy says “Rain Or Shine,” and it was certainly raining on the ground between the stage and the big tent where all the celebrants were gathered out of the weather. Everybody had a great time but it was sort of a bizarre experience for the performers on stage to be looking out through the rain while we were playing.

     First of all it reminded me of the Hash Bash last year when it snowed on Ann Arbor all afternoon and we had our fun just the same. Then it made me think of the strangest experience I’ve ever had on stage when the MC-5 played one evening back in the late 1960s at a drive-in theater outside of Grand Rapids where it rained like crazy and all the people stayed in their cars, honking their horns and flashing their lights at the end of each song in lieu of applause.

     My month of hard labor in the Michigan trenches came to a conclusion on National Record Store Day with a performance with Tino G at the Found Sound record shop in Ferndale in celebration of the vinyl release of my Funky D album Mobile Homeland on the Jett Plastic Recordings label, selected as one of 50 vinyl releases for 2017 recommended for LP lovers to buy in stores across the country. It’s my first vinyl LP after about 25 album releases on CD and it was quite a thrill to be recognized by the record industry at last—albeit the smallest but most passionate segment of the record-buying populace.

     Later that evening I had the honor of opening a pair of shows for my pal Rodriquez, probably better known as Sugar Man, a fierce advocate of marijuana legalization and my friend since 1968. Rodriguez wanted to say something in the face of the ugliness that’s recently descended upon our great country courtesy of our reality TV star and real estate developer posing as the president, so he filled up first the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac and then the Old Miami Bar in the Cass Corridor for a double-header of music and poetry meant for the common people like ourselves.

 It’ll be over by the time you read this, but the last event of the glorious month of April this year in Michigan turned out to be the 50th anniversary celebration of the Belle Isle Love-In on April 30. On this date in 1967 a few thousand of us showed up on Belle Isle to smoke joints, dance to the music of the MC-5, Seventh Seal, Billy C. & The Sunshine and other bands, and otherwise celebrate our existence together in the open on a beautiful spring day in Detroit.

     The Belle Isle Love-In of 1967 was organized by our hippie collective called Trans-Love Energies, a broad-based non-profit cultural coalition developed by Rob Tyner, Gary Grimshaw, Leni Sinclair and myself that produced dances, free concerts and benefits, managed bands, published the Warren-Forest Sun newspaper, provided emergency housing for footloose hippies and runaways from straight civilization, and agitated for the legalization of marijuana through a branch called Detroit LEMAR, founded by this writer in January 1965.

     I have to mention Trans-Love in the context of my one major disappointment last month—my dream of finally opening my medicinal cannabis coffeeshop was dashed when things failed to work out as planned once again. Ever since Michigan legalized medical marijuana in 2008 I’ve been trying to establish a little place where people can meet, show their medical card, have a coffee or juice, enjoy a smoke, tune in to a high-powered wi-fi connection and listen to music from Radio Free Amsterdam over the sound system.

     From 2008 to 2010 I tried to make this happen at the Bohemian National Home and gave up when they decided to grow weed instead. I paired up with a guy named Paul Freel who called himself “Hollywood” or “Hollis P. Wood” and tried to set up shop in his little space on Gratiot near Eastern Market that he wanted to call Trans-Love Energies. In 2012 he raised a bunch of money for the venture, ripped off the Trans-Love name and registered it as his own for-profit company, put me out of his place and opened the coffeeshop without me.

     I’ve pursued the concept with two or three potential partners since then but so far to no avail. I’m convinced that a city-based cannabis coffeeshop would be a popular cultural destination among a certain population of metro Detroiters and I’ll keep praying for its eventual inception, if only so I can have a decent place to hang out when I’m in town. Free The Weed!
April 25, 2017

©  2017 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

V.G.I.P. Update for May 2017 - by Ben Horner

CRMLA Gets United Support for
Cannabis Legalization Petition

The Marijuana Policy Project has formed a new ballot committee, the Coalition for the Regulation of Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA). After just a few short months of drafting language, the real coalition of cannabis organizations around Michigan have endorsed the new petition to tax and regulate adult use of marijuana.

MI Legalize 2018, a ballot committee formed last year after their failed attempt to legalize marijuana in 2016, spent weeks negotiating for key points in the statutory initiative. Antimonopoly sentiments encouraged the language to open up secured transport structures and be a less restrictive. The plant count for personal cultivation is set at 12 plants per Michigan resident. Coveted expungement language for nonviolent cannabis charges was pulled, leaving court activists disappointed.

CRMLA will need 252,523 valid signatures within 180-days to make the 2018 ballot. After signatures are turned in, the state legislature will decide whether to enact the initiative into law or send it to the voters. The coalition has a goal of raising approximately 8 million dollars.

World News for May 2017 - by Rachel Bunting

Lucky Break for Large Grow
England: A 43-year-old man has received an eight-month prison sentence which will be suspended for two years for a large grow operation in Sherwood. James Coward was arrested after police responded to his address after receiving a call about a possible robbery. Officers found 73 plants in a sophisticated grow. Coward fully accepted responsibility for the plants. Judge Sampson reminded the offender that for the next two years “he would have the eight-month sentence hanging over his head.” Coward will be required to complete five rehabilitation activity days as well as six months of an alcohol treatment program. This is a light sentence considering this is not Coward’s first offense and the maximum sentence he could have received for cultivating was fourteen years and/or unlimited fines.


Dispensary Robbers Caught
Canada: Six people were arrested last month in connection to a string of robberies targeting dispensaries across the city. Four of those arrested were between the ages of 15 and 17, while the other two were 20 and 24. Police say masked assailants with guns entered the businesses, taking “physical control of the employees before stealing marijuana and cash.” Four dispensaries and one convenience store were robbed by the group between March 17th and April 4th. Law enforcement believes there is one more suspect that has yet to be apprehended. Unfortunately, due to the current laws, a couple of the dispensaries were unwilling to cooperate with police and refused to report the incident.


First in the World
Uruguay: After 4 years in the making Uruguay will be the first country in the world to legally sell marijuana over the counter for recreational use. The law legalizing cannabis trade in the country was passed in 2013 but the process of creating the market has been slow. This month, however, presidential aide Juan Andres Roballo announced the first dispensaries will be opening in July of this year. The law will require buyers, who must be citizens or permanent residents, to be listed on a national registry. Adults may buy up to 40 grams per month which will cost £1 ($1.30) per gram. All cannabis sold in pharmacies will be cultivated from state-supervised fields, but users will be allowed to grow in their own home or join clubs that farm it. Some buyers have voiced concern over signing a national registry, claiming it to be a violation of their privacy. So far 16 pharmacies have agreed to work with the government to sell the plant. Roballo says there will be a public health campaign before the registry opens.


New Drugged Driving Test 

Italy: The GardaĆ­ have announced a new oral test for drugged driving will start being used by officers in April. The test, called Drager Drugtest 5000, uses oral fluid to alert officers to intoxicated drivers. After receiving multiple calls with questions about the new test, officers released details claiming drivers whose oral fluid tests positive for cannabis or cocaine will be arrested and taken to the station for a blood test. Drivers that test positive for benzodiazepines or opiates and are deemed by officers to be visibly impaired will be arrested and taken for a blood test, while those the Garda believe are not impaired will be let go. Many residents were worried about the length of time marijuana can stay in the body and how medical cannabis factors into this test. The released statement claims the Drager Drugtest 5000 will detect THC in saliva for about 6 hours after the last use. “It is recommended to wait 24 hours after last using cannabis before driving. If you are sure you are no longer impaired as result of taking cannabis and more than 6 hours have elapsed since last use it should not be possible for a Garda to detect impairment and the 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level in your oral fluid should be lower than the detection limit for the Cannabis test on the Drager Drugtest 5000.” They believe the number of drivers who will qualify for a medical exemption will be small as a prescription does not allow them to drive while impaired. Law enforcement feels this new test will help prevent future accidents by keeping impaired drivers off the road.


Synthetic Cannabis Creating ‘Dazed Zombies’
England: According to Euro News, synthetic marijuana, also known as spice, is causing problems in Manchester. Residents seem to become addicted to the drug, with the area supposedly “littered with people lying in the streets in a stupefied state. Often, they are found frozen to the spot for hours or slumped against walls.” Since the drug has been made illegal, new more powerful strains have come out. Makers have been altering the chemical make up just enough to keep their product on the market. A worker for the Homeless Charity Life Share told the BBC the effect on users is obvious in their actions, constantly trying to support their habit of a “legal high”. Operation Mandera was meant to crackdown on drug use in the area, but has been ineffective.


Irish Govt. Doesn’t Trust General Practitioners 
Ireland: A new access program proposed by a member of the Department of Health Medicines and Controlled Drugs Unit, Eugene Lennon, will allow special consultants to prescribe medical marijuana for three specific medical conditions. While the proposal would allow patients in need to obtain cannabis to help them, it is being criticized by many for its tight regulations. Richard Boyd Barrett spoke at the Oireachtas Committee on Health accusing the Department of Health of not trusting general practitioners with prescribing the medication. Lennon disagreed with this statement claiming the Department does trust GPs, but ‘had concerns about doctors prescribing cannabis for any condition.’ The new program would allow patients with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and those suffering from the effects of chemotherapy to use medical marijuana. Gino Kenny (PBP) believes the new program is flawed as it excludes people with chronic pain. However, consultants would be allowed to apply for licenses to treat patients with other conditions.