[Canniseur: LOVE these lesbian’s sense of whimsy, silliness, and humor. It’s not hard to see why they’ve got over 70,000 followers on Instagram in just a few weeks.]
Are these your cannabis internet heroines? Instagram has answered with a resounding yes when it comes to Lee and Sue, a.k.a. the 420 Old Fat Lesbians. The retired duo started their account on March 3 on a lark, a fun way to entertain themselves, having moved from Florida to Maine after 10 years of coupledom. On the power of around 30 short, goofy, majority cannabis-themed clips, their follower count has swelled to 71 thousand in under a month. Lee and Sue now field their followers’ admiration and occasional adoption requests with grace and aplomb as they navigate their newfound virality.
“We are humbled and have nothing but gratitude for the kind words coming our way,” the pair told High Times.
What’s the secret to this wild popularity? Some may chalk it up to the pleasure of sharing the couple’s small moments of queer love, woefully lacking in the hetero-centric world of online marijuana personality. Take for example, a March 5th post from when Lee was in the hospital (recovering from a heart attack, it would be explained to a worried fan). Sue stole her away for a cannabis break in the hospital bathroom. The pair set up their phone’s camera, readied their medicated cannabis lollipops, and queued a Chicken Dance Elmo doll positioned between them on a windowsill. The doll flaps his arms and Sue and Lee follow his lead, sucking away happily on the canna-pops in what seems like a moment of real tenderness. Cue viral swoon.
But trust that the pair are hardly one-dimensional love bugs. Sue has a talent for fashioning smoking instruments from the unexpected — a mermaid doll’s crotch, a plastic unicorn, KY jelly container, and a green transparent gas mask have all been fodder for her cannabis creativity.
And of course, there’s the account’s light choreography to classic queer party tracks. A post featuring Friday night Sister Sledge session makes it impossible not to bop along. One shot of the two swaying to Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”, in which hard hat-clad Sue hoists said accoutrement, is a deadpan dream.
Not to mention their sweetly and clunky scripted lesbian puns. “About to tap this sweet lady,” Sue says, lighting up a DIY bowl-equipped Mrs. Butterworth’s maple syrup container. A certain self awareness runs throughout the bits. Not for nothing have the woman chosen an IG handle perfectly constructed to elicit both guffaws and a knee-jerk follow for queer marijuana consumers starved for relatable content (their IG profile’s subtitle: “The Likes of Dykes”).
We’re thrilled to witness the birth of two LGBT cannabis icons in their pre-blue check flush. Such was the ocean of our affection that High Times had to reach out to the pair to learn more about their thoughts on life, love, and dank herb. By the way, potential sponsors, Lee and Sue await your DM.
Courtesy of Sue and Lee
HT: Hi, friends. First things first — what are your favorite strains? Preferred ways to consume cannabis?
420 Old Fat Lesbians: White Widow, Blueberry Kush, Northern Lights, Purple Train Wreck … too many to list. We both like vaping and edibles, but alternate with bong rips and joints. Seems to work for us.
HT: Will weed will lose its outlaw cache should it become legalized on a federal level in the United States?
420 Old Fat Lesbians: We think it depends on the permit fees, taxes, etc. behind all of it! Smaller businesses may not be able to afford filling the government’s pockets, so we’re sure there will still be a black market.
HT: What has been the reaction among your friends and family to your newfound cannabis fame?
420 Old Fat Lesbians: Some of our friends and family are surprised, maybe a little shocked, but all care for us deeply and want the best for us.
HT: You’re both medical marijuana users who gave you followers the chance to check in with the two of you on Lee’s recent hospital stay. Has cannabis been aiding in her recovery process?
420 Old Fat Lesbians: Yes, some forms of indica keep Lee relaxed and we both use it for pain. It’s so much better than opioids that don’t work as well and cause addiction. No one has ever overdosed on marijuana.
HT: If I’m not mistaken, a lot of your fans are reacting to a queer relationship that seems to be thriving. What are your tips for reaching old fat lesbian status with a loved one?
420 Old Fat Lesbians: Accept each other without trying to change them, and if you’re lucky enough to find your twin soul like we have, the journey is just that much sweeter.
HT: Love is great, but sex … that KY jelly smoke sesh, I hear, was a fan favorite. Does cannabis plays a role in your sexual relationship? (When doctor’s orders allow, of course.)
420 Old Fat Lesbians: It helps relax our minds.
HT: What are your plans and goals for the future of 420 Old Fat Lesbians? Will you be doing more product reviews? DIY paraphernalia inspo posts?
420 Old Fat Lesbians: We will keep our options open. We are new to this and our minds welcome whatever possibilities come our way.
Meet Your New Instagram Crush: 420 Old Fat Lesbians was posted on High Times.
[Editor’s Note: This is a start. MDMA can help those with resistant-to-treatment PTSD, they should have access.]
The government received counsel from a US advocacy group for drug studies.
After a government representative was sent to learn about the substance from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Israel has approved the use of MDMA to treat PTSD on 50 patients.
“The ministry is taking this seriously and with appropriate caution, an in-depth investigation has been carried out,” Ministry of Health official Bella Ben-Gershon told Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “There is a considerable population in Israel of people suffering from PTSD that is resistant to other treatment.” Treatment will take place in Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center and psychiatric hospitals in Be’er Yaakov, Lev Hasharon, and Be’er Sheva.
MDMA’s effects on PTSD are considered by many to be a crucial point of research. It is estimated that 8 percent of US residents have PTSD at any one time, for a total of 24.4 million people. That rate rises considerably when one looks at the country’s population of veterans, for whom the rate varies between 11 and 20 percent.
States-side, there has also been key movement on the issue. MAPS has announced a $26.9 million strategy to convince the FDA to make MDMA an approved medication by 2021. The organization’s representatives met with the FDA to answer the government entity’s questions regarding a protocol that MAPS submitted for similar tests to take place in the United States. In 2017, the FDA approved two Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA’s effects on the symptoms of PTSD, dubbing it a “breakthrough therapy.”
In some states, politicians are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to the drug’s availability for therapeutic purposes. Earlier this month, an Iowa state representative spoke out against the prohibition of MDMA and other hallucinogenic drugs. “A significant body of research indicates that there are substantial medical benefits,” said State Rep. Jeff Shipley, a Republican.
Approval of MDMA in the future would not be the first time that the drug was allowed for use in psychotherapy. In the ‘70s, the substance was utilized in therapy. But by 1985, MDMA was deemed a Schedule I drug. In 2001, the government increased sentencing requirements in the face of the drug’s popularity within the rave scene — as it currently stands, penalties are 500 times higher than those of cannabis.
Two years ago, the U.S. Sentencing Committee began a process to review MDMA’s sentencing guidelines.
“This is an opportunity to learn a lesson from history and get it right this time,” said Jag Davies, director of communications and strategy at the Drug Policy Alliance, at the time. “People who use psychedelics or MDMA shouldn’t be vulnerable to any form of criminal punishment.”
Alternative therapies have been the subject of much interest when it comes to the treatment of PTSD. In February, MAPS announced that it had overcome significant institutional and governmental hurdles to successfully complete the world’s first clinical trial of the impact smoking cannabis has on PTSD symptoms.
PTSD is not the only condition being examined and treated with MDMA. Last year, research uncovered positive effects when the drug was taken by autistic adults. The investigation further suggests that MDMA improves symptoms of social anxiety and caused less avoidance of social interaction.
Israeli Ministry of Health Approves Therapeutic MDMA for PTSD Treatment was posted on High Times.
[Editor’s Note: Calaveras County may be more famous for jumping frogs, but they’re also notoriously famous for the cannabis ban put into place at the beginning of 2018. The anti-cannabis county supervisors have been voted out and the county is taking steps to move into the modern era.]
Calaveras County growers in Northern California may have been tentatively enthused last week when the Board of Supervisors directed staff to prepare regulatory ordinances that would allow the area to rejoin the state’s cannabis industry.
The county’s Board of Supervisors voted to ban cannabis entirely from the county in January of 2018, right when the rest of the state was celebrating the legalization of recreational weed. The decision was devastating for local growers, who were given just three months to halt production on their property. No concessions were made for refunding the various fees the growers had already paid to the county to set up their businesses.
But on Tuesday, months after November’s elections displaced some of the county’s most fervent anti-pot elected officials, Supervisors spent most of the day on the process of revamping cannabis policy. They discussed the finer points of what re-legalization would look like in the county. Among the items up for analysis were the size of permitted grows, potential centralized facilities for processing marijuana, and application requirements for growers. No immediate conclusion was reached on any of these items.
The day started with presentations from the sheriff, public works, building and safety, code enforcement, waste management, the treasurer, and the auditor-controller on how their offices operated the first time that marijuana production was regulated in the county, from May 2016 to January 2019. Recommendations were asked from each entity about what it would need to once again oversee a legal cannabis system.
Supervisors also heard from the public, from Calaveras County individuals who were both for and against the year-old ban. Not everyone thought that the county’s quest to establish its own regulatory system was the best plan.
“Seems like why reinvent the wheel,” said Al Segalla of the Calaveras County Taxpayers Association. “Let the state take care of regulation and we can focus on land use and zoning. Let the state regulate it and be done with it.”
The Board’s about-face may have everything to do with the will of county voters, who swapped out two pro-ban candidates for supervisors who had expressed openness to reconsidering the prohibition on weed. In November, supervisors Ben Stopper and Merita Callaway won their challenger campaigns. 53 percent of Calaveras County voters approved Prop 64 in 2016, which legalized recreational cannabis for adults.
County officials were the subject of much censure when they took the step to reverse their policy on medical cannabis last year. Farmers that had spent thousands of dollars stepping up their growing operations were left without recourse, and those familiar with the state of marijuana in the county knew the measure would do little to correct illicit market growers.
In January, the Board of Supervisors took the first step towards securing justice for the growers who had been left high and dry by the ban, voting to refund almost $1 million in medical marijuana program registration fees after farmers sued for $16.3 million over the county’s hypocritical about face on cannabis production.
Of course, the ban did not have the intended effect of halting cannabis production in the county. In late January, a woman was taken to the hospital when a gas explosion rocked an outbuilding of a marijuana grow operation. In that incident, police confiscated over 1,000 pounds of cannabis.
Once Virulently Anti-Cannabis, Calaveras County is Reconsidering Commercial Ban was posted on High Times.
[Editor’s Note: We’re optimistic Federal laws will soon overturn prohibition. Until then, it you are not in your own home, your cannabis use must be discreet or you’ll be answering to the courts.]
No matter the state, you can still get evicted from public housing for using cannabis.
Underlining the role that economic class plays in one’s experience of the cannabis legalization movement, Maine resident Olanian Jackson saw his eviction upheld by the state’s Supreme Court after his landlord discovered that Jackson was using state-legal medical marijuana in his home.
The court’s decision highlights the fact that for anyone who lives in federally subsidized housing, the progress that has been made in state-by-state cannabis legalization in the US is simply not enough to ensure one’s safety. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has made it clear that recipients of Section 8 vouchers, or anyone who lives in public housing can be evicted or denied a home based on marijuana usage, regardless of state and local laws.
The injustice led Rolling Stone to ask “If you can’t legally use cannabis in your own home, is weed really legal for you?” in an article profiling Washington DC resident and fibromyalgia patient Sondra Battle. Battle was shocked when her apartment manager posted a notice informing residents that they would be evicted with no appeal should they be found using marijuana, regardless of whether they had a doctor’s recommendation.
In Jackson’s case, the Supreme Court was able to avoid addressing the conflict in state and federal laws by focusing on the related criteria for his eviction. As reported by Bangor Daily News, these included “intimidating behavior, denying access to his apartment, and illegally installing a lock”.
The feds say that the weed alone was grounds for him to be shut out of his home in the Fairfield Family Apartments. A 2014 HUD memo states that “Regardless of the purpose for which legalized under state law, the use of marijuana in any form is illegal under the [Controlled Substances Act] and therefore is an illegal controlled substance.”
The memo also states that landlords are required to deny federally assisted housing to applicants known to be using federally banned substances, and must “establish policies which allow the termination of tenancy of any household with a member who is illegally using marijuana.”
Last year, Washington DC member of Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act, which would have made it legal for residents to consume cannabis in federal housing located in states and districts which allowed for their usage. The bill went nowhere.
In the United States, over five million people live in federally subsidized housing. In large part due to the country’s history of racist redlining bank policies that curtail housing choices, half of them are people of color. Anti-cannabis policies in federal housing is yet another area in which the malignant War on Drugs falls on the shoulder of communities of color.
And in what should be seen as a severe handicap to existing medical marijuana laws (present in 33 states), of the five million people, one quarter are disabled and 35 percent are elderly.
There have been several high profile cases of marijuana-based eviction. In California’s Humboldt County, Emma Nation was evicted from her publicly subsidized housing when a maintenance worker reported seeing cannabis in her apartment to her landlord. In September, the Billings Gazette told the story of Montana breast cancer survivor Lily Fisher, who was denied Section 8 vouchers after detailing her medical marijuana usage on a screening questionnaire.
Maine Supreme Court Upholds Eviction of Man Growing His Own Medical Marijuana was posted on High Times.
[Editor’s Note: It’s interesting that Russia wants to import cannabis to study it’s addiction-causing capacities. They’re decades behind the times. This is a fascinating insight into the mindset of the Russian mindset.]
Russia may be en route to more scientific studies on marijuana. Last week, Russia’s health ministry proposed a bill that would raise the amount of cannabis that’s legal to import into the country— for the study of the plant’s “addiction-causing capacities,” RT.com reports.
The proposed legislation would make it legal for the ministry to import 1.1 kilograms of cannabis, 300 grams of hashish, and 50 grams of hash oil. The amount of THC the ministry is legally allowed to import would rise from 10 grams to 50 grams per year.
No other usage besides scientific purposes would be allowed under the proposed regulations.
The regulation draft cited recent studies that have compelled the World Health Organization (WHO) to conduct its first review of cannabis’ scheduling since the 1961 and ’71 International Drug Conventions. The WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence released a report last year underlining its belief that CBD is a low-risk substance that has documented health benefits, and called marijuana a “relatively safe drug.” The report also gave credence to scientific data that’s been published suggesting cannabis can play a role in fighting cancer.
In recent years, Russia has taken a hard line on the legalization of cannabis, even going so far as to chastise other countries for regulating the plant. When the Canadian government decided to federally legalize cannabis last year, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement that Canada had “deliberately decided to breach” international agreements on fighting drug trade and limiting the misuse of certain substances.
Russian press also takes an active role in demonizing the drug. In 2017, Russian news network Rossiya 24 aired coverage pinning actor Morgan Freeman’s statements against Russia’s tampering with the US election on Freeman’s marijuana-use.
In 2015, Russian governmental agencies responsible for regulating the country’s media ordered a Wikipedia page to be restricted that contained references to marijuana. Wikipedia acquiesced to the demands so that Russia would not block its population from accessing the rest of the site. Reddit has also come under fire from the Russian government when it discovered a thread “on the cultivation of growing a narcotic plant” in 2015.
As recently as last December, Putin has gone on the record with some rather off-the-mark views about cannabis consumption. Marijuana Moment reports that at a meeting with cultural leaders, Putin agreed with a music producer that hip-hop’s presence on the radio in the U.S. promoted drug use.
“I am most worried about drugs,” the president reportedly said. “This is the way towards the degradation of a nation.” Putin stopped short of suggesting rap music be banned entirely, but did express an openness towards regulating hip hop genres.
Nonetheless, the Moscow Times reports that the proposed measure will be up for public discussion until Feb. 8.
When the Canadian government decided to federally legalize cannabis last year, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement that Canada had “deliberately decided to breach” international agreements on fighting drug trade and limiting the misuse of certain substances.
Russia May Authorize Cannabis Imports for Scientific Research was posted on High Times.