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A 420 Walkthrough of the Evolution of 420s Over the Past 52 Years



420 april 20th is 4/20 marijuana day

420 Reflection – How far have we come?

As I approach the 25th anniversary of my introduction to the infamous “420” ritual, I find myself reflecting on the evolution of this cultural phenomenon and its place in our society. 

When I first heard about 4:20, I was a newcomer to the world of cannabis, and the concept seemed like nothing more than a quirky tradition among fellow enthusiasts. As the clock approached the designated time, a joint was readied, and we sparked up in unison, marking the moment with a shared experience. At the time, I didn’t give much thought to the origins or significance of this ritual, simply enjoying it as a fun, bonding activity while getting high. When I inquired about the reasons behind the 4:20 tradition, the answers I received were vague and unsatisfying, leaving me curious about its true roots.

As time passed, I encountered various legends and theories surrounding the origins of 420. Some spoke of high school students in California who would gather at 4:20 to indulge in their favorite pastime, while others mentioned connections to the Grateful Dead and their dedicated fan base. Despite the numerous stories circulating, the most credible lead I’ve come across points to those pioneering high-schoolers who helped popularize the term and cement its place in cannabis culture.

However, in the two decades since I first embraced the 420 tradition, our society has undergone a remarkable transformation in its attitudes towards cannabis. What was once a taboo subject, discussed in hushed tones and confined to counterculture circles, has now become a topic of mainstream conversation and political debate. 

The legalization movement has gained significant momentum, with an increasing number of states and countries recognizing the potential benefits of cannabis and moving towards more progressive policies. As we stand on the cusp of 420 in 2024, it’s clear that cannabis is closer than ever to being fully integrated into society, shedding the stigma and misconceptions that have long surrounded it.

The Global Shift Towards Cannabis

When I first began my journey with cannabis, I was young, and the culture surrounding it was still very much “underground.” In a sense, our embrace of cannabis was an act of defiance against the system. The government attempted to program us with their D.A.R.E propaganda and horror stories about the dangers of drug use, yet the kids of the early 2000s were tripping harder than those at Woodstock in 1969. The irony of the situation was that, at the height of the Drug War, drugs were more readily available and affordable than ever before.

Despite the prevalence of cannabis use, the idea of it remained taboo, and those of us “in the fold” were the ones growing it, smoking it, and championing its culture. We celebrated “420” every April 20th, separately but united, as the “unsmoken truth.” It was a time when comedies about cannabis were still a part of the mainstream entertainment landscape.

However, at some point, those in power decided to intensify the Drug War, both along the southern border with Mexico and within the United States itself. To say the least, “shit got hairy.” While drugs remained plentiful and easily accessible, the tension escalated as “drug warriors” began busting down doors, and cartels made visits to homes in Mexico. Corruption scandals emerged, with HSBC found to be funneling billions of dollars from drug cartels and terrorist organizations, yet only receiving a slap on the wrist in the form of a fine. The US government even resorted to providing weapons to the cartels, hoping to “track them to their source.” It was a period marked by bloodshed, corruption, and carnage.

However, this backdrop served as the catalyst for the question that ultimately unraveled marijuana prohibition: Is cannabis truly so detrimental to society that we must wage this level of brutality to keep our communities safe?

The answer, of course, was a resounding no.

As the realization dawned that the War on Drugs, particularly concerning cannabis, was a failed and misguided endeavor, the tides began to turn.

 Slowly but surely, public opinion shifted, and the conversation around cannabis evolved from one of fear and stigma to one of potential benefits and responsible regulation. States began to legalize medical marijuana, recognizing its therapeutic value for a wide range of conditions. As more research emerged and the positive experiences of patients and consumers came to light, the momentum towards full legalization grew.

The 420 of Today isn’t your Grandma’s 420

In the present day, cannabis has shed its underground status and emerged as a widely accepted and mainstream phenomenon. It’s no longer a taboo subject whispered about in secret; instead, it has become a cultural touchstone, with celebrities and their entourages proudly promoting their own blends of weed in the market.

Even Wall Street has taken notice, with investors eagerly jumping on the cannabis bandwagon. Countries around the world are defying global treaties and legalizing cannabis, signaling a seismic shift in attitudes and policies. There’s no denying that we are living in a vastly different time compared to the days when cannabis was a symbol of rebellion and counterculture.

However, this new era of cannabis acceptance isn’t necessarily the utopia that stoners of yesteryear dreamt of. Instead, it comes with its own set of rules, regulations, and red tape. 

The “nanny-statism” that pervades the industry can be frustrating, treating adult consumers like dumbfounded toddlers incapable of making rational decisions for themselves. The once-free-spirited cannabis culture has become somewhat sanitized and commercialized, leading some classic stoners to feel that 420 has “sold out” to the mainstream.

But here’s the thing: regardless of the mega-events, the brands, the advertisements, and the whole “system” that has sprung up around cannabis, the true essence of 420 remains untouched. 

At its core, 420 is a reason to celebrate, to come together with like-minded individuals and embrace the spirit of unity and acceptance. The public gatherings and festivals that now mark the occasion are a testament to the enduring power of the counterculture, the “we don’t give a fuck” attitude that defined the youth of the 80s and 90s who fearlessly lit up, donned baggy clothes, and embraced their wild, feral side.

So, while the 420 of today may look different from the 420 of our grandparents’ generation, the heart and soul of the movement remain intact. It’s a time to honor the pioneers who fought for legalization, to celebrate the progress we’ve made, and to look forward to a future where cannabis is fully integrated into society without stigma or judgment. 

The 420 of today is a reflection of how far we’ve come, but it’s also a reminder that the spirit of rebellion and the fight for personal freedom will always be a part of the cannabis community.

In the end, whether you’re attending a massive 420 festival or simply sharing a joint with friends in the comfort of your own home, the essence of the holiday remains the same. It’s about coming together, embracing our differences, and celebrating the plant that has brought so many people joy, relief, and a sense of belonging.

The Sticky Bottom Line

As we approach another 420 in this wild ride of 2024, let’s take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve been on, my fellow stoners. From the days when we had to keep our love for the herb under wraps to the current world where cannabis has become a mainstream sensation, it’s been one hell of a trip.

We’ve seen the rise and fall of prohibition, the emergence of a thriving industry, and the transformation of a once-underground culture into a global movement. Some might argue that 420 has lost its edge, that it’s become just another commercialized holiday. But let’s be real – the spirit of 420 is as strong as ever, and it’s not going anywhere.

So, as we get ready to blaze up and celebrate this sacred day, let’s remember what it’s all about. It’s about coming together, standing up for what we believe in, and savoring the sweet, sweet embrace of Mary Jane. Make sure you’ve got plenty of munchies on deck, and keep those drinks icy cold – trust me, you’ll thank yourself later. And when it comes to edibles, proceed with caution. Those little fuckers can sneak up on you like a ninja in the night.

But above all, remember that 420 is a day to pay homage to the legends who fought tooth and nail for our right to smoke, the ones who risked it all to bring cannabis out of the shadows and into the light. It’s a day to celebrate the unbreakable bonds of our community, the friendships forged over countless smoke sessions and shared stories.

So, spark up that joint, take a deep hit, and let the good times roll. Happy 420, my brothers and sisters. May your day be filled with top-shelf bud, positive vibes, and the knowledge that no matter how much the world changes, the spirit of the stoner will always endure. Stay lifted, stay true, and never forget – it’s always 4:20 somewhere in the world!



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What Rescheduling Marijuana Means for California’s Cannabis Industry




California‘s cannabis industry suffers from a seemingly unending list of problems: high taxes, prohibitionist cities, a related lack of retail licenses and oversupply of non-retail licenses, a monster illegal market with no end in sight, burdensome and often senseless regulations, and so on. Unfortunately, rescheduling won’t solve most of these problems–at least not directly. Today I want to look at what rescheduling could mean for California’s cannabis industry.

If you’re not already up to speed on rescheduling, check out my colleague Vince Sliwoski’s explainer of the DEA’s notice of proposed rulemaking to move marijuana from schedule I (where it sits next to heroin) to schedule III, or any of the following posts of ours:

With that out of the way, let’s look how rescheduling could affect (or not affect) California’s cannabis industry.

First and foremost, rescheduling does not mean that state-legal cannabis markets will be federally compliant. In other words, all California cannabis businesses will still violate federal law. The biggest change would be that  IRC § 280E – which prohibits cannabis businesses from making standard federal tax deductions – will go away. But the statewide cannabis industry won’t be federally “legal.”

What that means is that rescheduling will have no impact on things like the prohibition on interstate commerce, which has kept California walled off from other states (at least California’s legal market). So for now, California’s still on its own.

Rescheduling also won’t impact state law where it counts. Things like local control, burdensome regulations, fighting the illegal market, and so on, will stay the same. Importantly, local and state tax law won’t change: California and many local cities tax cannabis businesses as if they are piggybanks. While 280E relief will undoubtedly help, it makes it much less likely that the state will revisit its own excise tax or think about how it could cap local gross receipts taxes.

So with all that out of the way, is there any good news? I think the answer is a clear yes. Here’s why:

  • Even without state and local tax relief, 280E relief alone will be a monumental change for the industry.
  • Investments into California’s cannabis industry are likely to increase as investors who previously stood on the sidelines become more comfortable with the idea of investing into a (slightly) less regulated industry.
  • Other ancillary service providers may also be more open to providing services to the industry for similar reasons. More ancillary service providers may reduce costs within the cannabis industry.
  • It’s possible that state governments also decide to be more bold. For example, states could decide to roll the dice on interstate commerce compacts after rescheduling, even in spite of schedule III issues.
  • Although the impact on the illegal market will likely be small, the removal of 280E liabilities could entice people who would otherwise have remained unlicensed to become legal and complaint operators.

We’ve got a long way to go before rescheduling happens. And while nobody can really say for sure how things will shake out, it seems like there are some definite positive outcomes for California’s cannabis industry. So stay tuned for more updates.

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The End of the US Hemp Industry is Near




end of hemp in america

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp, distinguishing it from marijuana based on its low THC content. However, an emerging loophole has allowed the proliferation of psychoactive hemp-derived products, particularly delta-8 THC, which has led to significant regulatory and public health concerns. In response, a proposed amendment to the Farm Bill seeks to address these issues by banning hemp-derived cannabinoid products, including delta-8 THC. This proposed amendment, filed by Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), aims to redefine hemp and close the existing loophole around intoxicating hemp. The amendment has sparked a heated debate among industry stakeholders, regulators, and lawmakers.

If you have followed the legal hemp market over the past 8 years and attended shows like the Benzinga Cannabis Conference, you know that the only thing keeping the US hemp industry alive, and on life-support at best, is the sale of commerical retail products that create revenue, ie, Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC products derived from hemp.  While hemp-crete and hemp twine are nice stories, the only “cash crop” hemp has right now is selling “hemp that gets you high” to Americans that don’t have acccess to legal weed.

As mentioned by a few VCs and investment firms at the industry trade shows, the only think keeping hemp alive in America is Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC products and sales.

That “loophole” in the original 2018 Farm Bill may be closing, and for good, with a new amendment put forward this week.


 Key Provisions of the Proposed Amendment

The amendment includes several critical provisions designed to tighten regulations on hemp-derived products:

  • Redefinition of Hemp: Redefines hemp to exclude products containing detectable levels of THC and cannabinoids synthesized outside the plant.

  • Ban on Delta-8 THC: Explicitly bans hemp-derived products that contain psychoactive cannabinoids, such as delta-8 THC.

  • Enhanced Regulatory Oversight: Aims to provide clearer guidelines and stricter controls over the production and sale of hemp-derived products.

 Concerns Leading to the Amendment

Proponents of the amendment argue that the current lack of regulation has led to several issues:

  • Marketing to Children and Teens: Psychoactive hemp products are often marketed in colorful packaging, resembling candy and snacks, raising concerns about their appeal to children and teenagers.

  • Unregulated Market: The proliferation of hemp-derived cannabinoids has resulted in an unregulated market where the safety and quality of products are inconsistent.

  • Public Health Risks: There are concerns about the potential health risks associated with the unregulated sale and consumption of these products.

 Industry Opposition and Concerns

Industry stakeholders and advocates for the hemp industry have voiced strong opposition to the proposed amendment. Their main arguments include:

  • Impact on CBD Products: The amendment could criminalize many non-intoxicating CBD products that naturally contain trace amounts of THC.

  • Economic Consequences: The ban could devastate the hemp industry, resulting in significant job losses and economic decline.

  • Access to Health Products: Many Americans rely on hemp-derived products for health and wellness, and the ban could deny them access to these beneficial products.

 Economic Implications

The hemp market is currently valued at approximately $28 billion, with a significant portion of this market driven by hemp-derived cannabinoid products. The proposed amendment could have profound economic implications, including:

  • Job Losses: Potential loss of tens of thousands of jobs in agriculture, retail, and manufacturing sectors.

  • Market Decline: A potential decline in sales and overall market value as many products would no longer be legally available.

  • Investment Uncertainty: Increased regulatory uncertainty could deter future investments in the hemp industry.

Regulatory Challenges

The hemp industry has faced numerous regulatory challenges since the legalization of hemp in 2018. Key regulatory hurdles include:

Lack of FDA Regulation: The FDA has yet to establish clear regulations for hemp-derived CBD products, creating a patchwork of state-level regulations and contributing to market instability.

  • Safety and Quality Standards: The absence of federal guidelines has led to inconsistent safety and quality standards across the industry.

  • Youth Access: The unregulated sale of psychoactive hemp products has raised concerns about youth access and potential misuse.

Legislative Process and Potential Outcomes

The amendment’s approval by the House Agriculture Committee is the first step in a potentially contentious legislative process. The Senate, which has yet to release its version of the Farm Bill, will play a crucial role in determining the amendment’s fate. Key considerations include:

  • Senate’s Stance: The Democratic-controlled Senate may take a different approach to the regulation of hemp-derived cannabinoids, potentially leading to a conflict between the two chambers.

  • Bipartisan Negotiations: Successful passage of the amendment will likely require bipartisan support and negotiations to reconcile differing viewpoints.

  • Final Legislation: The final version of the Farm Bill will need to balance the interests of public health, industry stakeholders, and regulatory clarity.

Broader Implications for Cannabinoid Regulation

The proposed amendment raises broader questions about the regulation of cannabinoids in general:

  • Defining Cannabinoids: The amendment’s language excluding detectable levels of THC and synthesized cannabinoids could impact the regulation of other cannabinoids, such as CBD.

  • Regulatory Parity: Proponents argue that the amendment would create regulatory parity and facilitate state-level regulation of intoxicating hemp products.

  • Future of Cannabinoid Products: The regulation of cannabinoids will continue to evolve, with ongoing debates about the safety, efficacy, and legality of various products.

 Public Health Considerations

The shift towards greater regulation of hemp-derived cannabinoids has significant public health implications:

  • Consumer Safety: Enhanced regulatory oversight could improve consumer safety by ensuring that hemp-derived products meet consistent quality and safety standards.

  • Health Risks: The unregulated sale of psychoactive hemp products poses potential health risks, particularly for vulnerable populations.

  • Research and Education: Increased research and public education efforts are needed to fully understand the health impacts of hemp-derived cannabinoids and inform regulatory policies.

Industry Adaptation and Future Outlook

The hemp industry will need to adapt to the proposed regulatory changes if the amendment is enacted. Key strategies for adaptation include:

  • Compliance and Certification: Producers and manufacturers will need to invest in compliance and certification processes to meet new regulatory standards.

  • Product Innovation: The industry may shift focus towards non-psychoactive hemp applications and develop new products that comply with stricter regulations.

  • Advocacy and Engagement: Ongoing advocacy and engagement with policymakers will be essential to ensure that the industry’s interests are represented in regulatory discussions.


The proposed Farm Bill amendment to ban hemp-derived cannabinoid products represents a significant shift in U.S. agricultural and regulatory policy. While proponents argue that it addresses critical public health and safety concerns, industry stakeholders warn of devastating economic consequences and the potential loss of beneficial products. As the amendment moves through the legislative process, the hemp industry faces a period of uncertainty and adaptation. The outcome of this debate will shape the future of hemp regulation, balancing the need for consumer protection with the growth and innovation of a burgeoning industry.





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Just Say No to Pesticides on Your Weed




pesticide free cannabis growing

How To Prevent Pests In Your Homegrown Cannabis Plants Without Using Harmful Chemicals


Just like every other plant, cannabis plants will also attract its fair share of pests and bugs when you try to grow them at home. Even professional cannabis growers have to deal with pests!

Pests come in the form of insects, fungus, mites, and bacteria. For homegrown marijuana, the most common offenders include aphids, thrips, spider mites, botrytis, cabbage loopers, whiteflies, powdery mildew, fungus gnats, and root aphids. When they go on undetected or without any treatment, they can cause a wide array of damage to your precious cannabis plant.


The worst-case scenario is that your plant can end up being so unhealthy and damaged, that you might even have to end up throwing it away before you can harvest anything. Sometimes, the pest problem can hide itself so effectively that you won’t even know it’s there until you’ve harvested your weed, and are opening your buds apart to smoke. Then, it would be far too late to do anything!


Many weed growers end up resorting to strong, harmful chemical pesticides and fungicides to prevent pest problems or nip them in the bud. However, these chemical pesticides and fungicides can also be dangerous for humans and the environment. They are, after all, made with chemicals – and some of these chemicals are known to be carcinogenic.


But don’t worry: there are several other ways cannabis home growers can deal with pests without harmful chemicals and strong pesticides.


Prevention Is Key


Truly understanding your home grow setup and operation is the first and most important step to preventing pests. This can take some time and resources in the beginning, but it will save you time and money in the long run!

There are certain factors involved with specific grow setups as well as environments. For example, when growing marijuana outdoors, the most common pests to deal with include aphids, Eurasian hemp borers, corn earworms, and hemp russet mites among others. You’ll also have to learn to prevent squirrels, deer, raccoons, and other bigger animals since humans aren’t the only ones that are attracted to weed!


Meanwhile, there’s a different set of beasts to deal with indoors because other factors are involved. These include humidity, ventilation, and air circulation. But regardless of whether you are growing indoors or outdoors, keep in mind that soil plays a critical role in preventing pests. Many growers have found success in using beneficial nematodes, which are microscopic and thus invisible roundworms that eat pests that thrive in soil. Nematodes are excellent for eliminating root aphids and fungus gnats; you can drench the soil in it or mix it up in water before irrigation.


Companion Planting


Companion planting is a common and widely practiced technique in farming as well as gardening. You can apply the principles of companion planting for cannabis cultivation; it entails planting certain plants or herbs next to cannabis which are known to create a symbiotic or beneficial environment. For example, certain plants or vegetables are known to equally feed off water, while other plants consume more water and thus leave their companion plants thirsty.


Meanwhile, some companion plants are effective in helping repel insects and diseases, which is why they are favored among cannabis growers. When it comes to companion planting, some plants to consider include marigolds, lavender, basil, and nasturtiums.


Beneficial Insects


Believe it or not, some insects can actually be good for your cannabis harvest. Lacewings and ladybugs are two of the most valuable types of insects for cannabis growers, especially if you are growing outside.

To ensure an abundant population, you can purchase beneficial insects and let them roam free in your greenhouse or grow area. They are fantastic for all kinds of plants, not just marijuana. Ladybugs and lacewings are particularly effective because they feed on spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs, and other soft-bodied pests as well as larvae.


Organic Pesticides


There are several different kinds of effective organic pesticides and fungicides in the market, too. You can use them as a complement to other pest-prevention techniques that you are already doing. Adding organic pesticides to cannabis crop care and maintenance can help greatly deter pests especially if you find that other techniques are lacking or not working as well.

Organic pesticides come in the form of neem oil, insecticidal soap, and botanical sprays. Neem oil is a top choice when it comes to organic pest control, even among household plants! Keep in mind to use neem oil only during the vegetative growth cycle of marijuana.


 Just dilute two teaspoons of neem essential oil into a gallon of water, then spray. Or, you can also buy ready-to-use neem spray. Neem oil can be sprayed directly on the foliage, or you can also drench the soil in neem oil no matter what stage of growth your cannabis plant is in. It’s extremely effective in killing and preventing cannabis pests including leafhoppers, crickets, aphids, mealybugs, and so much more.


If you’re going to end up using foliar sprays, it’s important to buy the best-quality organic, natural sprays that you can afford. That’s because any ingredients used in those sprays are going to end up in the cannabis flower, which means that you’re going to end up smoking it. When it comes to the best time to use foliar spray on cannabis, it’s during the flowering cycle because it can help keep cabbage loopers and other pests off during this phase.



There are many creative ways you can get rid of pests effectively, whether you are growing cannabis indoors or outdoors. Follow these tips to ensure a healthy harvest without compromising your health or that of the environment – there’s no need to use nasty and highly toxic chemical sprays





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