Meet ‘Bongzilla’: 24-foot bong in Las Vegas celebrates cannabis culture

Meet ‘Bongzilla’: 24-foot bong in Las Vegas celebrates cannabis culture

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times (@latimes) August 31, 2018

There are two flights of stairs curling around the head-turning glass bong, all 24 feet of it. There also will be an elevator to ferry people from the ground floor — where the pipe’s 100-gallon reservoir sits — to the mouthpiece high above.

It weighs more than 800 pounds and the bowl can pack a quarter of a pound of marijuana. It has elements in the glass that will make it glow — greenish mostly — while bathing in black light. Jason Harris, the artist who made it, said it’s his artistic opus to the cannabis culture.

“I make giant bongs,” he said. “They are my voice to make noise in the world.”

But to be heard and noticed on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas — where the bong is housed — is no small task.

It’s a sensory tsunami on Fremont, filled with street musicians playing “Stairway to Heaven” on electronic violins or steel drummers hammering out hits from the ’80s. There are screams from people shooting down a zip line above the street. Tribute bands blast metal music, and boozy packs of tourists point at half-naked men and women trying to lure them into posing for a picture.

And size matters, too.

Vegas Vic — the iconic neon cowboy — towers above a souvenir shop and stands 40 feet tall. There’s a giant pint of Guinness atop Hennessey’s that is 80 feet tall. Slotzilla, a slot machine perched in the middle of Fremont Street, reaches a height of 120 feet.

Harris saw it all as the perfect home for Bongzilla, as his creation has come to be known.

“Las Vegas will be the new Amsterdam of the world,” he said. “I see it as a big lighthouse and beacon that says, ‘Just smoke me.’”

But the 47-year-old knows that can’t happen in Las Vegas, at least not yet.

Though Nevada legalized recreational marijuana in 2017, it can only be consumed in a private residence. But it’s become a booming industry in the state, just the same.

This week, the Nevada Department of Taxation released numbers that showed that for the first full fiscal year, marijuana sales yielded tax collections totaling $69.8 million — 140% of what the state had forecast. Total sales — including medical marijuana and related goods — hit $529.9 million for the fiscal year.

Cannabition, the soon-to-open marijuana museum where the bong resides, is not a licensed dispensary, however. It sits on a leased spot of commercial space near a craft brewery and across from — conveniently for stoners — a Denny’s. The museum is scheduled to open officially in September.

Harris doesn’t really want any run-ins with the law — like that time in 2003 when he was arrested in a massive Justice Department raid dubbed Operation Pipe Dreams that also swept up actor Tommy Chong.

“At that point, I thought my bong-making career was over,” he said.

But by the time Colorado legalized recreational pot in 2012, he was back in the game, riding on his reputation as the founder of Jerome Baker Designs and crafting bongs — some as tall as 7 feet — as the world of cannabis culture grew more mainstream.

Bongzilla, Harris said, was a significant undertaking.

It took 15 people blowing glass eight hours a day — for four days — to make Bongzilla in a studio in Seattle. It then had to be disassembled, packed into special boxes and transported in a truck that wouldn’t draw a lot of attention. It was driven down Highway 95, a two-lane road that runs along Nevada’s western side through a smattering of small towns.

Harris said it seemed remarkable to him that the bong could travel by road through four states where the recreational use of marijuana is now legal — Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada.

J.J. Walker, founder of Cannabition, said it took several days to reassemble Bongzilla and place it in its permanent home along the staircase. He said workers had to build a special clip to secure it to the railing so it won’t move. Reassembling the parts required a special bonding agent that would keep it intact while allowing smoke to flow freely through the tube.

They added a mural backdrop of Tokyo for Bongzilla’s display. No sign of Mothra, however.

Even though Bongzilla can’t legally be used to smoke weed, it was important to Walker and Harris that it work. Just in case.

Nevada state Sen. Tick Segerblom — a Democrat who is running for a seat on the Clark County Commission — said he envisions a day when people can take a hit off the enormous bong.

Segerblom, a longtime advocate for legalizing marijuana use more broadly, said when he first saw Bongzilla, it blew him away. He said the biggest bong he’d ever taken a hit on wasn’t even 2 feet high.

He said he’ll be attending the opening of Cannabition.

“It’s what we do best here, and it fits in well with our party and outlaw image,” Segerblom said. “But I’m also hoping it makes people aware that Las Vegas is the perfect place for the cannabis culture and, if we can pull this off, it will become a major focal point for us.”

© 2018 Los Angeles Times, www.latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Meet ‘Bongzilla’: 24-foot bong in Las Vegas celebrates cannabis culture was posted on the cannifornian com.

Twist of “Fate”: New Film Tells Story of Homeless Man Given Life in Prison for Pot

Twist of “Fate”: New Film Tells Story of Homeless Man Given Life in Prison for Pot

All images courtesy of Korstiaan Vandiver

Who would have ever thought naysayers like the Texas Republican Party would be endorsing marijuana decriminalization? Let’s face it (if you haven’t realized already) — legal weed is here to stay. Recent news regarding President Trump’s growing departure from Jeff Sessions on cannabis legalization bodes well for our society, yet prisoners of prohibition remain almost entirely invisible during this major paradigm shift.

As we move towards federal legalization (fingers crossed), creating art that can speak for those without a voice will be crucial to wider recognition of marijuana prohibition’s racist origins and continued effects in the United States. Korstiaan Vandiver, a Los Angeles filmmaker, along with a group of his students, have turned the story of Fate Vincent Winslow, a homeless man serving life in prison for selling $20 of weed in order to buy a meal with the $5 commission, into a public service announcement for a new era — and one far more enlightened than the anti-drug productions of yesteryear. Under Louisiana’s habitual offender law, Mr. Winslow’s previous nonviolent offenses of burglary and drug possession required a minimum sentence of life in prison without parole, merely for selling two dime bags.

Vandiver led the group of student filmmakers from Los Angeles’ Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC) with a mission to raise marijuana awareness through their Youth Drug Abuse Prevention Program (YDAPP). Together, they brought Fate Winslow’s tragic story to life.

MERRY JANE interviewed Vandiver to get a sense of the motivation and driving force behind the short film, entitled Fatenow available to watch in its entirety on YouTube.

MERRY JANE: What was the inspiration behind producing Fate?

Korstiaan Vandiver: I was teaching film to younger students, and it was more interesting to me because these kids were in high school. They didn’t use marijuana, or so it seemed. I just know a lot of kids do, so I started looking for things that’d be interesting. I asked myself: Is anyone serving time for miniscule amounts of marijuana across the country? And how can I help turn this into a social justice project?

Lo and behold, we came across Fate Vincent Winslow. He was locked up in Shreveport, Louisiana. I’m from New Orleans so this really gets to me. The fact that he was homeless, and the fact that he sold two dime bags and was doing life ― I was like, ‘this is utterly ridiculous,’ and I wanted to know more. At first, it started as a story, but after communicating with Fate, it became more of a [mission to] ‘Let’s get this guy out of jail’.

A lot of the fear — as well as YDAPP’s mission — around cannabis is about keeping marijuana out of the hands of youth. How was it explaining marijuana to such young people?  

They were talking about weed all the time. In general, the students were between 15-18 years old. They would speak on it from various standpoints. It’s something that’s happening in their world, whether it was family, friends, the neighborhood, the music you listen to. It’s everywhere. KYCC administrators were open to the idea because it was a unique perspective of potential negative outcomes of being associated with marijuana.

If anything, what the project did was give them a different perspective on somebody’s situation surrounding marijuana, especially the idea that someone’s freedom could be taken away just like that. We thoroughly discussed irony of other states with legal cannabis. So the discussion became: Why if marijuana is legal in certain states, is anyone in prison? It caused some initial cognitive dissonance and head scratches, but ended with more well-rounded worldviews.

How long did it take to produce and film?

It was October 2016 when we first reached out to Fate. KYCC hired me as a film mentor; they had a budget of under $10,000, and reimbursed me for rented film gear, cast, and crew stipends. Still, we had to raise more money because films are very expensive no matter how small. We barely had enough to get through finishing the film.

There was a huge learning curve, because I had to teach the students how to film. We wrote the screenplay and did various drafts from November to mid-December. Initially, we started casting in January, but had to push the film date back because we had to wait for paperwork for our SAG (Screen Actors Guild) actor, Robert Hunter, who played Fate.

Actors Robert Hunter and Ryan Mulkay in ‘Fate’

I originally saw Robert acting in my friend Steven Caple Jr.’s Sundance breakout film The Land. I reached out to Robert just to show my respect for his work. I shared some of my films, and we hit it off. We agreed to collaborate on a film in the future, and when Fate came into the picture, he was all in. He traveled from Cleveland to California, and we ended up shooting for three days in March. We shot in Arcadia, which was the most southern-looking place in California we could find, as well as the [University of Southern California] library and cafeteria for the interiors of the prison.

How did you go about reaching out to Fate?

It was interesting because when we first tried to contact Fate, we had to speak with one of the assistant wardens at Louisiana State Penitentiary. This assistant warden basically told me that he would not allow me to speak to Fate. He basically said he didn’t want to show favor to Fate because he was no different than other prisoners. Finally, he started screaming at me, because I quoted the basic rights of the law.

From there, I found all of Fate’s former lawyers. They were also very unhelpful and didn’t care. One of the lawyers felt like Fate deserved what he got because he sold drugs. For me, it was like if you want to say he’s guilty, then let’s be real about the sentencing. What people don’t realize about the law is if you get caught with two dime bags, you can be hit with a felony intent to distribute because it’s separated.

I eventually got into contact with a lawyer named Brittany Barnett out of Texas, who worked under the Obama administration to obtain clemency for nonviolent drug offenders. We were trying to see if we could get Fate free before Obama left office, but the timeline was really close.

Brittany advised me to write Fate, and she would do a wellness check via phone call. He eventually wrote back, and said he would love for us to tell his story, especially if he can help other young people not make the same mistakes. We wrote back and forth, and became friends over the course of the year. Fate sent [more] info after we shot; the letter [system] was a bit too slow. We ultimately used his court documents, legal statements, and articles to create the story.

Fate unfortunately has not been able to see the film, but he was still very excited. He actually granted me the rights afterward to create a feature film on his life; we have already spoken to some very influential people in Hollywood who are interested in his story. I told him that it was something that I would never stop doing. I don’t know how long it will take me, but I will really dedicate a part of my life to helping him get free and telling his story. That was my promise to him.

For the time being, we haven’t entered any more festivals but we did submit for a Player’s Network Cannabis Media Grant. It’s centered towards more positive messages around cannabis, but we know confronting the bitter truth of Fate’s story is something that needs to be dealt with.

***

Korstiaan Vandiver and the youth of KYCC successfully started a petition for the release of Fate Vincent Winslow, which currently has 11,000 signatures — you can add yours here. Korstiaan Vandiver can be contacted at @Korstiaan1 on Instagram, and you can watch the entire short film Fate below:

Twist of “Fate”: New Film Tells Story of Homeless Man Given Life in Prison for Pot was posted on Merry Jane.

The ‘NJ Weedman’ Discusses His Run for Office and “Reefer Reparations”

The ‘NJ Weedman’ Discusses His Run for Office and “Reefer Reparations”

All photos courtesy of the author

Edward Forchion is an activist, author, restaurateur, and, most recently, a candidate for the New Jersey Legislature. Forchion, known as NJ Weedman, has been advocating marijuana legalization in the Garden State for more than two decades. Now, at 54, he’s running for the New Jersey Assembly in the 15th District, and, if elected come November 6th, he would be able to have a direct influence on the policies he’s spent a large chunk of his life promoting.

The Weedman has ran for office several times in the past, including for governor of New Jersey in 2005 and U.S. Congress three times, most recently in 2016 when he received more votes under the Legalize Marijuana Party than both the Green Party and Libertarian Party candidates combined. He also briefly announced a bid this year, from jail, for mayor of Trenton, the state’s capital, which he had to call off due to not being able to make it onto the ballot from a lack of signatures; Forchion claimed it was because the city clerk failed to get him the proper forms while he was in jail.

He ran for state Assembly once before, too, but as he eyes a seat in the Legislature this time around he’s hoping things will play out differently, as New Jersey is currently in a unique spot with regards to drug policy reform. The state is now closer to legalizing recreational cannabis than ever before, due to the election of Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat who campaigned on legalizing the plant for adult-use.

Forchion has become virtually indistinguishable from New Jersey’s marijuana legalization activism. Over the years, he has made headlines when he sparked up a joint in the Statehouse, attempted to legally change his name to NJWeedman.com, and when he opened a restaurant called The Joint directly across the street from Trenton City Hall.

And although advocating for marijuana legalization is what Forchion is most known for, it isn’t the only matter he is campaigning on this year.

Forchion spent 447 days in jail for witness tampering before being found innocent by a jury. He was released in May. During the ordeal, he was denied bail under New Jersey’s Criminal Justice Reform Act, a policy that Forchion has grown increasingly critical of since his arrest back in March 2017. As part of his campaign platform, Forchion wants to make adjustments to the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which many people refer to simply as bail reform, and revise other aspects of the state’s criminal justice system.

Forchion is no stranger to the judicial Powers That Be; he has found himself in court more than a handful of times, and has also been found not guilty multiple times, which he attributes to jury nullification. On the instances he did receive convictions, though, Forchion spent time behind bars.

In 1997, Forchion was caught with 40 pounds in New Jersey and was facing 20 years in prison. The prosecution, however, offered him a deal he couldn’t refuse: 10 years in prison with eligibility for parole after less than two years. He pleaded guilty in 2000, and went from facing 20 years in prison to serving 18 months. In a separate case a year later, Forchion was charged with possession of a little more than a pound of marijuana in Philadelphia. He represented himself and the case was dismissed.

As someone who has published several books and appeared in multiple documentaries, Forchion believes all of these experiences have made him a smarter and stronger candidate for office, especially in a state intent on pushing cannabis reform. At his restaurant, NJ Weedman took the time to talk with MERRY JANE. While smoking a joint inside The Joint, he discussed his campaign, criminal justice reform, and what he hopes to change about marijuana policy in the Garden State.

MERRY JANE: You recently spent 447 days in jail only to be found not guilty. What happened with that case and how do you think it will impact your campaign and platform?
Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion:
I actually think it helps my case for state Assembly because so many people know me and so many people look at me as the victim. It was 447 days based on a totally phony charge the police and the prosecutors hit me with. They didn’t shoot me in the back. They didn’t plant guns on me. They didn’t plant drugs on me. They just filed this case and I sat in jail with no bail for 447 days and after two trials I was found not guilty. I never was guilty.

I think it helps me. So many people followed [the story] and so many people felt for me. I came out as the David versus Goliath and I still think I have that David status. Going into this election, there’s going to be people who are going to say, “This guy has been trying to get into office for 20 years, let’s give him a shot.”

You’ve been critical of New Jersey’s recent Criminal Justice Reform Act, which was the main reason you were held in jail without bail. If elected to the New Jersey Assembly, what would you do to change bail reform?
I would put forth a bill to actually repeal it. I think if it gained a little traction, there would be a big push to fix it. And as a victim of the bail reform pushing for repeal of the bail reform, I think that would generate news stories and generate interest. As I go from town to town campaigning, that’s who people are going to remember. They’re going to remember that guy who got held up in jail for a year and a half on some phony charge.

You’ve run for office several times in the past, but now New Jersey is closer than ever to seeing cannabis legalization. How do you expect this to affect your candidacy?
It makes it look like I was right the whole time. Instead of people looking at me like that weirdo guy who always advocated for marijuana, now they’re like, “Wow, this guy was a visionary. He was a little bit before his time. He wasn’t really the village idiot, he was the village genius. We just didn’t know.”

I think that’s what I get now. I constantly get people saying you were right. They think that somehow because of me it’s now at that point [of being nearly legalized in New Jersey], but it’s not really. I wouldn’t say that. I did keep that presence of weed legalization in New Jersey going for the last 20 years. I was one of the first big vocal mouths about it in New Jersey, but this is snowballing from the West Coast. It’s here, it’s not going away. If I went away, it wouldn’t change [the momentum].

What do you think of the proposed marijuana bills in New Jersey?
I pray that Senator Nicholas Scutari’s bill is not accepted. If it did get through the Senate and the state Assembly and got before Gov. Murphy, I’d beg him to veto it. That’s because one of the things Murphy ran on is diversity. Marijuana legalization was one of his things, he did say he was going to increase taxes. I think legalization can happen and I’m not opposed to taxes, OK? So, I’m there on legalization, but Senator Scutari’s bill is wrong on so many levels.

First of all, it creates this legal cannabis industry as opposed to a free market system. It uses basically the same people who previously got licenses through his other medical bill, CUMMA, now they get to expand and become the legal marijuana industry, essentially. I resent that. I think it should be a free market system, maybe more like California or Washington, D.C. What I think legalization should do is legalize the black market. I think that if somebody wants to open up a mom and pop shop and sell weed, or grow weed in their backyard and share it with their neighbors, then so be it. That, to me, is legalization. Home growing would be included because some people don’t even want to participate in the system, some people want to be off the grid.

You have spoken about including more minorities in marijuana legalization discussions and argued for home growing to be included in any recreational legislation. What else would you like to see in a legal recreational cannabis industry in New Jersey?
I would probably focus on legalization from a licensing [perspective]. If I was elected, I would actually submit a bill and title it State Bill 420. In my bill, I would advocate a licensing method where everyone who wanted to possess marijuana would once a year buy a marijuana tax stamp or license, or whatever word you want to use, for $420 and it’s good for an entire year. If you get caught without a card, guess what the fine is: $420. That money could be earmarked, budgeted, for whatever we decide, although I wouldn’t want it to go into the state’s general budget fund. I would want that money earmarked for something special. Whether you directed it towards combating heroin addiction, or towards schools, or maybe you let the local municipalities keep it to offset their property taxes — that could be a variation of it.

I think the [tax revenue from legal weed] should go into a large fund and then we direct that large fund to specific problems. But keeping it out of the general fund would be part of the bill. They tried that before with lottery for senior citizens, but that money goes into the general state fund. They tried that with the casinos, and that money goes into the general fund. But I think that’s what we should do. There’s already zones all around the state — whether they’re urban redevelopment zones, or economically depressed or tax-free zones — and I would use the licensing procedure to make sure recreational marijuana businesses open up there. They would have to pay property taxes and they would have to do this and that. Opening up in towns like this would help because you would also get employees from there. What I call it is a method of reefer reparations. This would be a way to help the communities that were hardest hit by the War on Drugs.

In the past, you have run for office under the Legalize Marijuana Party. How do you describe your platform now?
This time, I’ve changed my slogan. It’s nwo: Repeal Bail Reform. I’m stuck with marijuana, I’m there, and people already know me for weed issues. I also want to introduce some type of legislation for jury nullification like they did in New Hampshire. I think that was key in my trial. I’ve always angled for it and had very good luck. I think people know what I’m talking about and I like representing myself. What I did for my defense was a jury nullification defense. Represent yourself. Portray yourself as the victim. Portray yourself as fighting the big, evil government. And people will vote with their conscience — that’s what jury nullification is. They don’t have to necessarily be against a particular law, and a lot of people identify jury nullification as that.

Prosecutors knowing that, knowing the argument that I could argue, they wouldn’t even prosecute cases like that. This is a push back against over-prosecution, a push back against mass incarceration. People don’t have a way of arguing. They’re limited. Everything is against the law. We live in a society that is used to 2 million people being in prison at any given time. This is supposed to be the land of the free, but this isn’t the land of the free. We have more laws than any other country, we arrest more than anybody else. It’s now an illusion to say we’re the land of the free. We talk about freedoms and liberties and all that, but we have so many laws that you could end up in jail for anything.

What would be your top three priorities if you were elected to office?
Repeal the bail reform, present a marijuana legalization law that would really benefit “we the people” and not the big corporations. And then the third thing would be getting involved in trying to lower mass incarceration through things like allowing for jury nullification, though obviously that goes back to bail reform. I would massively fund the public defender’s office too. The public defender’s office is so overworked. The idea of having a fair trial is laughable. If you have money and you have means and you can get a good lawyer, then you can be as close to justice as you can. But if you have a public defender who is overworked, and they have 40 cases, they can’t help everyone properly.

What sort of methods will you utilize during your campaign?
I might have a few 420-friendly type of parties here [at The Joint in Trenton]. I’m going to use this as my campaign headquarters. Right now, I’m in the process of getting a new weed mobile. I plan on hitting some of these suburban towns like Hopewell and Titusville and those towns up along the river and up into Hunterdon County. Everyone around here knows me. People know me in Trenton. I can campaign very easily here. I can kiss babies and pass joints here.

In September, I’ll start going to other parts of New Jersey, riding from town to town. A lot of people do know me there and read about me, but they don’t know me by sight. I’m just going to go find spots and hangout, walk into bars passing out fliers. I’m going to stand in front of a couple supermarkets and talk to whoever will talk to me. I’m going to pay for a lot of political ads on Facebook. I’m going to use social media like a Russian.

Will you run again if you aren’t elected in November?
Yes, I will run again. I want to effectuate change from within. It’s my way of protesting and resisting.

For more on the NJ Weedman, visit his website here

Follow Nick Muscavage on Twitter

The 'NJ Weedman' Discusses His Run for Office and "Reefer Reparations" was posted on Merry Jane.

5 Greenhouse Fire Safety and Prevention Tips

5 Greenhouse Fire Safety and Prevention Tips

After a fast-moving blaze destroyed greenhouses at Loudpack Farms July 23 in Greenfield, Calif., we turned to two facility design experts to learn more about preventative measures that all greenhouse growers can implement into a fire safety plan.

From proper facility design to regular maintenance, greenhouse growers have many factors to consider when it comes to fire prevention and safety. Here, CEA Consultancy’s Rob Eddy and Dr. Greenhouse’s  Nadia Sabeh offer advice on how to prevent a potential disaster.

Note that the Loudpack Farms fire investigation is ongoing (as of July 24), and that none of these tips are necessarily associated with that blaze.

1. Identify and routinely check the problem areas.

Eddy, consultant and facilities manager at CEA Consultancy, said that the keys to fire prevention and safety are baked into good facility design and maintenance. It’s a matter of continually checking likely sources of a potential fire. Keen observation is needed.

“You wouldn’t think a greenhouse would be very combustible, and it’s true,” Eddy said. “It’s mostly glass and metal; some of them are made of plastic, of course.” But he pointed to the acrylic glaze that adorns those glass walls in some greenhouses; that acrylic material is flammable.

And inside the walls, the shade curtains that are used to mitigate natural light during the day can also pose problems. “The shade fabric is flammable,” Eddy said. “You can buy them, you can pay a little extra and have them flame-retardant. That is a good idea, of course.”

 2. Don’t overload your circuits.

Electrical fires commonly start due to overloaded circuits, Sabeh, founder of Dr. Greenhouse, said. If a facility can accommodate an electrical load of 1,000 amps, she said, cultivators should plan to operate at 20-25 percent lower than the limit. This allows all the installed equipment to run, and also gives a little leeway for the circuits to handle an additional fan or dehumidifier on top of their normal load. This also allows for the occasional power surge when a piece of equipment, such as a shade motor, turns on.

“When you turn on a piece of equipment, it actually creates a surge of electricity because it needs more power to get it started than to actually just run,” Sabeh said.

“Another thing to avoid is daisy-chaining lights with multiple extension cords and power strips,” Eddy said. “That is another bad idea.”

3. Get rid of the clutter.

Keep things tidy. Clear out the detritus that can build up in storage areas and hallways: Old cardboard boxes are a common problem.

In addition, ensure that your aisles are wide enough to allow for easy movement around the canopy space, as well as to comply with any established regulations.

“Most growers, whether they’re growing cannabis or some other crop, it’s really in their best interest to follow these laws because it’s about the health and safety of their employees,” Sabeh said. “It’s not just about growing as much product as possible. So, providing those paths of egress is important for fire safety.”

4. Minimize the possibility of freak accidents.

Eddy also pointed to a few freak accidents he’s encountered during his career: both involving metal-halide lamps that exploded and sent “white-hot glass flying through the warehouse.”

“If you leave your lamps in your fixtures too long—they’re just beyond their useful life—there’s more of a chance that they might explode,” Eddy said. “It’s very rare. There has to be a small defect in the glass of the lamp for that to happen, but I’ve been at two places where it has, and it’s pretty scary.”

The key: “Keep track of the hours you use them and change them out appropriately,” Eddy said.

In addition, greenhouse growers should be wary of spontaneous combustion, Sabeh added. Fertilizers and other chemicals stored in the heat of the greenhouse can burst into flames if the right conditions are met.

5. Consider a sprinkler system.

A sprinkler system is a worthwhile investment, Sabeh said. “You think about it, it’s an insurance policy.”

A system may cost an extra $50,000 to install, but if the alternative is a cultivator losing his or her entire crop and facility in a fire, the cost is worth it, she said. Some municipalities mandate a functioning sprinkler system on-site; be sure to check your local ordinances.

And the facility should be designed in a way that allows the sprinklers to do their job, Eddy added. Instead of solid shelving,  install wire shelving so sprinklers  can penetrate lower shelves.

“And, of course,” Eddy said, “no smoking. All those common-sense things.”

Top photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

Original Post: Cannabis Business Times: 5 Greenhouse Fire Safety and Prevention Tips

MERRY JANE’s Social Justice Week: We Need to Do More, Now

MERRY JANE’s Social Justice Week: We Need to Do More, Now

Lead illustration by Allison Conway, originally via

The sky is falling. The walls are closing in. Our brains are being blended like a coconut right in our own skulls. In Trump’s America in 2018 this is simply the new normal, especially for anyone who believes that democracy should offer more to the world than the hateful, divisive orders (and tweets) spewing out of the current administration. In the midst of this madness, we the MERRY JANE massive try to bring a ray of hope however we can, reporting from the front lines of positive change in the form of all things cannabis.

But we can’t play like it’s all peachy in the pot dimension, either, because as we dig we find things that are simply wrong, unjust, and in need of a complete overhaul. As Canada becomes the world’s first major economy to federally legalize cannabis, and states from coast to coast dig deeper on their implementation of adult-use marijuana laws, it’s only right to peek behind the curtain to get a look at the deeper effects of these changes. And nothing deserves more scrutiny than the imprisonment of thousands upon thousands of Americans, particularly people of color, who’ve been convicted for cannabis-related crimes — mostly non-violent offenders who’ve lost years of their lives for a plant that is increasingly becoming a legalized commodity.

Speaking recently at the C2 conference in Montreal, Canada, MERRY JANE Doggfather/Godfather Snoop put this situation succinctly. “I want to be their voice,” he said, “I just don’t want to be making profits when they are in jail. As a black man, I’ve been to jail for marijuana.” And to that end, the MERRY JANE squad decided to double down to address this travesty. We linked with our good friends at Snoop’s cannabis brand Leafs By Snoop to bring you MERRY JANE’s Social Justice Week, as well as our new doc series Prisoners of Prohibition. We all know a change needs to come, and hope that this week full of articles and videos focused on the ongoing War on Drugs can give you the vocabulary and information to make your voice heard in this urgent and essential conversation.

Our team is as thick as a bowl of steaming oatmeal, so like any nutritious breakfast we tapped our editors Zach Sokol and (ill) Bill Kilby to call on the crew to cook it up. We got Madison Margolin in the mix to talk with well-known Massachusetts cannabis regulator and activist Shaleen Title about how the state worked to design their legal cannabis program to right the wrongs of the Drug War. Emily Berkey connected with police officer-turned-drug policy reformer Diane Goldstein of LEAP about what made her change her mind about drug law enforcement. Nadir Pearson also connected with director Korstiaan Vandiver about the documentary FATE which details the case of Fate Vincent Winslow, a homeless man who was given a life sentence for selling $20 worth of weed. These stories are flanked by essays like the one Seth Ferranti about being sentenced to 25 years in prison for an LSD and marijuana conspiracy charge at the height of the War on Drugs. And also make sure to check out Randy Robinson’s reportage about former marijuana offenders who’ve now found successful careers in the legal cannabis industry.

If you’ve read this far, then I’m sure it’s safe to say it’s not just us who are ready for justice. On this week’s installment of my talk show About that Time, Dr. Dina will join me to talk about her Freedom Grow foundation that is working to make the lives of cannabis prisoners better. Also on the video front we’ll debut of Prisoners of Prohibition, a doc series unlike anything we’ve produced before. With strong support from our homie Snoop, interviews with folks like MURS, Virgil Grant, and Randy Lanier, plus an all-star team including director Kwanza Gooden and our power-player producers Tara Aquino and Brooke Burgstahler, this multi-part series examines the insane and destructive impact of all things prohibition. We explore the far-reaching effects of drug laws on incarcerated individuals, their families, and communities as a whole, as well as the challenges of federal drug law reform, systemic incentives for law enforcement officials to perpetuate these problems, and the federal prosecutors and judges who hand out biased and inhumane punishments for acts that most Americans don’t even consider to be criminal.

Needless to say there’s much more for you to check out than I can mention in this tome for your dome. So make sure before you puff, you think about those who have been victimized by the system to keep this culture alive. Educate yourself and take action to make sure the impending triumphs we will celebrate for cannabis are something that can be truly beneficial to all that made this possible.

Follow MERRY JANE on Twitter and Instagram for more

MERRY JANE’s Social Justice Week: We Need to Do More, Now was posted on Merry Jane.

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