[Canniseur: Come on Illinois, get it together and stop the racial/classist bullshit. People with houses can get high at home. Those who are unfortunate and live in public housing risk losing their housing. Without public cannabis consumption options, this is just utterly ridiculous and short-sighted. ]
Despite legal marijuana coming to Illinois, those in public housing are being left behind.
While marijuana arrests are certainly down in Chicago, questions have arisen about whether a new ban on using soon-to-be legal marijuana in public housing ends up being a continuation of old drug war policies in the communities already hit the hardest.
In the beginning of November, The Chicago Housing Authority sent out a letter to 60,000 tenants. The Chicago Sun-Times reported in that letter the CHA let it’s residents know despite the change in law coming to the state of Illinois, marijuana is still illegal under federal law and will be treated as such. This warning applied to both recreational and medical use.
The CHA noted the policy was dictated by the fact they are a federally funded entity. In accordance, they’ve used federal housing guidelines around Section 8 assistance, with a dash of local interpretation built into the guidelines, to establish a one-strike policy to evict people over a single marijuana possession offense.
The Chicago Reporter reported on the tale of Jessica Moore. In 2009 19 officers ripped her apartment to pieces finding her son’s $48 worth of pot. Her son was now a part of the statistics of Chicago’s most rapidly gentrified neighborhoods of the 2000s, the 2nd and 27th wards, as the city saw misdemeanor arrests rise to account for 76% of the arrests used to trigger evictions from CHA properties. As in Moore’s case, many where not the leaseholders.
The CHA wide language on their enforcement allows any criminal conviction to activate the one-strike conviction.
One-strike cases are the only kind of public housing eviction that does not give tenants the opportunity to file a grievance or request an internal hearing. They have to take it to civil court, but for people living in public housing, getting their own legal assistance to try and keep a roof over their head is a stretch.
Moore described watching Chicago police come to kick doors in on a daily basis. “The police would come into the building each day either knocking into somebody’s apartment or grabbing guys downstairs,” Moore told the reporter. That building she was in was eventually torn down.
The Reporter noted that during the last 20 months her building was occupied, 19 households were hit with a one-strike eviction. The leading cause in those evictions was a misdemeanor marijuana possession arrest.
Discrimination in Cannabis Enforcement
Despite cannabis arrest rates continuing to crash in Chicago, the racial bias to those who end up in handcuffs is still readily evident. In the final stretch until legalization in Illinois is implemented, some now wonder if enforcement of cannabis laws in the city’s poorest neighborhoods will change at all.
We reached out to see how things had changed in DC since those HUD comments a decade ago; their reply put the CHA on its best footing yet to discriminate against pot, depending on interpretation. But it also suggested the CHA doesn’t have to kick these people out.
“The smoking ban was implemented on July 31, 2018 and before that more than 600 public housing authorities already had similar policies in place including CHA,” HUD’s Regional Public Affairs/Congressional Affairs Liaison, Gina Rodriguez, told High Times in an email. Much of the specifics around smoking is tobacco-oriented.
We asked HUD if they provided any specific language for those housing authorities in states with legal marijuana. Rodriguez provided the agency guidebook for implementing a smoke-free policy. The guidebook approached the question in its Q&A, but the answers seem a little blurry.
“Does the policy prevent the use of lit medical (or recreational) marijuana inside a PHA?
The PHA is still subject to the federal regulations regarding marijuana. Federal regulations still classify all forms of marijuana as a Schedule I substance, even if state law permits it. Smoking marijuana is grounds for a PHA to deny housing or terminate a tenancy,” reads page 36.
The next section covered how to handle marijuana with current residents—and refuted the idea you have to have a one-strike policy for marijuana violations. “Lease provisions and policies cannot affirmatively permit occupancy by marijuana users, but [public housing authorities] have discretion to determine, on a case-by-case basis, when it is appropriate to terminate tenancy or assistance based on marijuana use.”
Next covered was accommodating medical marijuana, which again called into question the idea of the CHA being forced to evict people over marijuana use. When it comes to someone asking for a medical exemption to use marijuana, “PHAs cannot grant such requests. That said, PHAs retain discretion whether to terminate tenancy or assistance of current residents who engage in the use of marijuana.”
In another fun “you don’t have to kick people out of public housing for using pot” twist, the guide covered incense after weed, where it stated the smoke-free rule only applies to lit tobacco products. “It is up to the PHA to decide if other products, such as candles, and incense, are subject to similar regulations”
So basically, all these federal guidelines the Chicago Housing Authority are trying to cite to defend their stance come January 1st don’t actually say they have to kick people out for smoking weed. Can they create a policy around it? Sure. But that policy certainly is not federally mandated to kick out marijuana users without remorse or discretion.
We asked the CHA for clarification: would they implement a one-strike policy or exercise discretion?
This was the CHA’s reply:
The CHA and City of Chicago are committed to ensuring a safe, responsible implementation of legalized cannabis next year. To that end, we have begun coordinating efforts with all City departments and sister agencies to inform residents of how the new law affects them. This includes working closely with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) where federal law still prohibits the use or possession of medical or recreational marijuana on federally-subsidized properties. The City of Chicago and CHA will work with the community so that residents understand federal law related to cannabis and federally-funded housing.
Similar to the prohibition on smoking in public housing, CHA’s goals are threefold:
Educate and inform residents about federal law and how it affects them
Support them in their efforts to legally exercise their rights
Provide social or clinical support or referrals, where necessary or appropriate
To ensure that all residents are treated equally and fairly and made aware of resources that are available to support them, CHA will be training its property managers and meeting with the resident organizations so that they are informed and supported.
Our priority is to ensure a safe and responsible implementation of legalized cannabis in Chicago on January 1, 2020 that is fair and equitable to all Chicago residents regardless of where they live.
The Criticism of The Policy
We also reached out to the ACLU of Illinois to get their take on whether the CHA’s policy is just a continuation of old racist and classist enforcement policies, and if it’s a de facto ban on the poor being able to legally consume cannabis.
“It is critical to take deliberative, carefully-calculated measures to assure that any remaining criminal enforcement of marijuana in Illinois not replicate harms seen in the failed War on Drugs,” Ben Ruddell, Criminal Justice Policy Director, ACLU of Illinois told high times in an email. “Those who rent their homes, those living in public housing, and those experiencing homelessness remain at risk of criminal penalty. We should take steps so that any such enforcement is not done in a racially-discriminatory way.”
Dominique Coronel is a community organizer with the Cannabis Equity IL Coalition, an Illinois social equity applicant partner, and a board member for Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
“Let’s be clear. There are a tremendous amount of problematic and deeply racist and classist elements within the Illinois legalization legislation, and this is one of the most blatant examples of that. It is another manifestation of the War on Drugs,” Coronel told High Times. “By prohibiting public consumption and without currently established license consumption cafes, lawmakers are forcing people to make some very difficult choices: Do they consume cannabis at home and risk losing their housing? Do they go outside to consume and risk interrogation and ticketing by CPD for public consumption?”
Coronel worries Chicago police are going to use public consumption as probable cause to justify a search and seizure of that person’s property. “Are Black and Brown people going to continue being unfairly targeted as we know they statistically tend to be?” he said.
Coronel said the kinds of policies like the one we will see in Chicago public housing come January are inherently discriminatory and racist because there is no public consumption of cannabis.
“We are essentially creating a system that punishes poor people and people of color disproportionately because you either need to be a property owner or of a higher class to benefit from legalization. So when we talk about cannabis legalization we must continuously ask, “legalization for whom?” he said.
We asked the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Media Relations Director Morgan Fox if he’s heard of any other industry that has a whole income bracket prevented from accessing it due to their housing situation.
“Not that I can think of,” Fox replied, “This is just another way that prohibition continues to disproportionately harm low-income communities. We need to deschedule cannabis at the federal level so public housing authorities can develop cannabis policies that align with those in their states. Any responsible adult should be able to partake in their legal ability to safely consume cannabis, regardless of income or housing status. This is fundamentally an issue of fairness.”
Fox, like others, said social consumption options would help significantly.
“I think this is also a good example of how some of the problems associated with prohibition go way beyond cannabis,” Fox said, “Legalization can definitely help by reducing overall arrest numbers, but systemic bias is pervasive and deeply ingrained in our society. It won’t just go away overnight with legalization, and the people and institutions that support inequality seem to keep finding ways to perpetuate it, even when you take away their tools for doing so.”
Local activists are now organizing to figure out the next steps in light of the CHA letters going out. On Wednesday night The National Public Housing Museum hosted an event called Cannabis Legislation, Racial Equity, Reparative Justice & Public Housing. It was billed as a public conversation about “the future of cannabis in Illinois and the fight for justice and equity in public housing communities, some of the people and places that have been most impacted by the war on drugs.”
The evening included representatives from the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, Grow Greater Englewood, and lawyer Kelli Dudley. Dudley works on the south side of Chicago fighting discrimination and segregation by defending mortgage foreclosure lawsuits and bringing claims against shady lenders, servicers, and others where appropriate.
[Canniseur: As summer winds down (in the northern hemisphere anyway), these are some of the best strains identified over the course of that wonderful season. I hope you get to enjoy all of these strains. This article also attributes the growers. This is a move in the right direction.]
As the Harvest Moon approaches and we get blown away by another season’s worth of work from the best cannabis farmers in the world, we thought it was a good time to take a look at the strains and cultivators that caught our eye this summer.
Summer is an interesting time in the cannabis world. Some got to enjoy the first waves of light deprivation-grown cannabis which are always a treat. Many watched their gardens, both legal and not, grow and are excited to see the fruits of their season’s work harvested in a few weeks. And we here at Cannabis Now are ready to smoke it.
In our travels this summer we came across a lot of great cannabis, but a few were simply unforgettable and we expect those quality genetics to be with us for years to come. So this is a look back at a few of those moments we had to double-check what exactly was in the jar. All of these picks are absolute heavy hitters, and we’re sure you’ll love any of them you’re able to get your hands on.
It takes a little bit of time for strains to get the wind in their sails and we’re sure Glazed Apricot Gelato’s time has arrived. Early this summer we came across a rendition of this Compound Genetics heater grown out by The Cure Company. It was awesome. The pairing of Legend Orange Apricot and Gelato produced a tangy creaminess flavor that’s as unique as the nose. You can expect an uplifting high, but the Gelato gives it a bit more body than the regular Legend Orange Apricot. We expect the Glazed Apricot Gelato to be on shelves all over the place sooner than later.
The perennial cup-winners at C.R.A.F.T. are up to it again with their newest exclusive house cut grown by their Keepers of the Craft Garden. Dimepiece brings together C.R.A.F.T.’s always popular Girl Scout Cookie and Sour Diesel cross Sour Girl and Acai Gelato. Dimepiece isn’t quite as gassy as mom, but not too far off. The judges at the hyper-competitive NorCal Cannabis Cup (which included our own Senior Editor Ellen Holland) chose Dimepiece as the winner in the indica category. If you can make it to NorCal order some C.R.A.F.T. to your hotel as soon as you get off the plane, trust us.
We first came across Gelonade last summer. As Connected led us on a tour of their outdoor operation, they showed us 30-plus Gelato #41 crosses being grown to maturity under the scorching sun of California’s Central Valley. That day Gelonade immediately jumped out to us and looked to be one of the major success from Connected’s propagation effort. The fusion of Gelato #41 and LemonTree also wowed the judges at the recent NorCal Cannabis Cup where it beat out all the other sativas. Keep an eye out for the new red jars from Connected, that means it was grown in a mixed light setting. It’s still great pot, but without all the carbon footprint.
It’s a real debate if anything this summer came out of nowhere at us quite like Ziablo. When IC Collective presented Cannabis Now’s editorial staff with a sample we knew immediately we had something magical in our hands. It was like all of the best things about Zkittelz and OG Kush had been combined into something unfathomably magical that was in that moment kicking off all-out assault on our nasal cavities. The flavor is in its own league for sure. It’s like some kind of combination of fuel, pine, and the redwoods. The dense nugs break down to a nice fluffy consistency that’s a pleasure to roll, but you’re better off going with the grinder. We won’t be surprised if the Ziablo ends up having the longest time in the spotlight of the group, it’s simply world-class marijuana.
[Canniseur: Check out this list of the best cannabis strains for Alien encounters at Area 51. You have a couple of months left to get ready for the Facebook event.]
The planned Area 51 raid is only two months away, and we’ve collected a list of strains sure to help you blast off — whether you’re successful at rescuing extraterrestrials or just need to get out of there in a hurry.
Few things have captured the attention of the masses quite like rescuing the aliens who conspiracy theorists claim crashed in Roswell, New Mexico on July 8, 1947 (or on the eve of 710 Eve, perhaps on their way to the fattest dab party in the galaxy). As the theory goes, these aliens are now being housed at the highly classified Area 51 Air Force military base in Nevada.
What is not a theory is that 3.3 million people have signed up for a Facebook event titled “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” scheduled for Sept. 20 at 3 a.m. The event’s organizer has since announced that the event itself is a joke, but suggested that perhaps a music festival in the desert near the Nevada base would be a good alternative.
Even if only 1% of those people who RSVPed show up, that’s still 33,000 people, which is about the size of Alexander the Great’s army back in the day. But how will this modern-day swarm deal with the U.S. military, a military with more resources than any in history? And we don’t even know what exactly folks will be trying to accomplish. Do the aliens have lifespans similar to giant tortoises? Are they just a bag in the freezer at this point? But regardless of what happens with this Area 51 event, whether festival or raid or stay-at-home celebration, you’re going to need good pot.
Here is the perfect list of strains to help you have a close encounter of the 420th kind.
The Paradise Seeds classic, Nebula was a big hit in the mid-Atlantic states in the mid-2000s after it took home second and third place in Amsterdam at the Cannabis Cup. Nebula is a sativa-leaning hybrid that does better indoors than out. It came to prominence a little too early, before the age of major 400 light West Coast grows, so you won’t see it in real production today. But this strain’s rare status only heightens the fun for an Area 51 party.
For a long time, Space Queen was a member of the royalty when it came to pot with intergalactic names. The pairing of Romulan and Cinderella 99 is a winner, as Space Queen is definitely elite when grown to her full potential. However, there were definitely some lackluster clones in the mix, too. It’s one of those strains whose reputation took a dent or two because midsy growers got a midsy cut and then some people’s first impressions were those versions. But if you’re able to find some top-shelf Space Queen, you’re in for a good time.
Once you try and rescue the aliens from Area 51, you’re going to need to make your way over to the S4 research site, which Area 51-whistleblower Bob Lazar says is “the only place there was ever alien technology.” The strain you’ll need for a boost to get there is E.T. Galactic Gas. This strain brings together Gushers and Gelato #45, a top-three Gelato phenotype for many along with the Gelato #41 and #33. It’ll be sure to provide enough kick to break free of Earth’s gravity.
Let’s not kid ourselves, except for the folks standing in the back smoking blunts and cheering, the people heading to Area 51 are going to need a miracle. We think that MAC, or Miracle Alien Cookies, is the perfect jar to provide that little bit of extra hope. In the few years it’s been on the scene, MAC has absolutely blown up and is coveted by any gardener lucky enough to get their hands on it.
[Canniseur: You can’t go wrong with any of these strains. Keep current on Cup winners.]
The birthplace of medical marijuana doesn’t slouch when it comes to having the best pot possible on any given day. Because it is the closest urban center to the ancestral homeland of the best marijuana in America (the Emerald Triangle), some of the best cultivators in the world ply their trade on the shores of the San Francisco Bay Area. When the time comes for the locals to show their top phenotypes of the moment grown to the best of their ability, it’s pretty exciting stuff.
As always, I hit every booth and checked out their spreads at the High Times Cannabis Cup in San Francisco’s legendary Cow Palace. All of the cultivators and booths in this collection had zero trash on their table. If I approached a booth and got the slightest hint of poor effort in post-production, I moved on to the next. Perhaps I missed something nice, but the people who grow the best pot in the world couldn’t even fathom putting that grassy-smelling John Deere Lawn Mower Clippings Kush on their table. However, overall, I was impressed with the showing. Here is our rundown on the most flame strains at the 2019 Cannabis Cup in San Francisco.
Diamond Back Genetics — Granpa’s This Is The Sh*t
When I went through my first pass of judging the sungrown entries just going on looks, I was struck at how absolutely stunning this strain looked. (Of course, at the time I didn’t know what strain it was, it was simply labelled Full Sungrown Entry 8.) Amongst some offerings that looked a little dated from last season, this strain had a fantastic visual. The nose took a little coercing to get out, so it wasn’t a pure jar jumper. But once I cracked into a nug, my nostrils were attacked with a sensory overload giving me flashbacks to the best OG Kush experiences of my life. I called it the winner even as it was the first jar I opened, and I was correct.
Str8organics — Mendo Breath
The crew at Str8organics have a wide array of flamage, and while many of their strains may be a bit more exclusive or exotic than the Mendo Breath, I regularly find myself going back to it. As I told the strain’s breeders at Gage Green Group when I interviewed them last year, my absolute favorite rendition of their now uber-popular strain is certainly the light deprivation-grown version coming from Str8organics. It’s basically as good as 92% of the indoor Mendo Breath you’re going to see, without all the emotional baggage of a carbon footprint.
C.R.A.F.T. — Cherry Punch
As you know, I love Cherry Punch. After we named it on our Harvest Hype strain list last harvest season, it went on to a podium spot at The Emerald Cup a few months later. While C.R.A.F.T. made it to the podium four times this weekend at the Bay Area Cannabis Cup, including taking home the Indica Cup, shockingly, none of the accolades were for their Cherry Punch. Make no mistake about it, until proven otherwise, C.R.A.F.T. has the best cut of Cherry Punch on the planet. They previously put out a small batch last fall, and it’s now in full production. People spent a pretty penny on Cherry Punch seeds when they bought the from Symbiotic Genetics at California’s first legal adult-use Cannabis Cup, which led to some less-than-perfect phenos getting out there, because people simply couldn’t afford to lose the whole pack. The C.R.A.F.T. phenotype is like Brad Pitt’s character in “World War Z” compared to all those other cuts: It will never be infected with the sickness of simply being described as “above average.”
The folks at Sovereign also found themselves on the podium four times this weekend, including scoring both first and second place in the infused products category. But what took our breath away was Sovereign’s flowers, particularly their XXX and Blueberry Muffin strains. While neither found their way to the podium, they both were something special.
Seven Leaves did not travel light to the Bay Area. The Sacramento-based cultivators brought a lovely spread that included BonBon, Biscotti and Vovo. The BonBon was a delightful Gushers phenotype, while the Biscotti pairs Gelato #25 and South Florida OG and the Vovo is a wild GG4 cross named in a manner to prevent future litigation with adhesive companies. All were flame! However, if someone gave me a ticket for a free eighth and I had to pick one of these three strains, I would pick the Vovo.
Wonderbrett — OZK
Obviously, an OG crossed with Zkittlez is going to be banging, and — outside the personal collection of Brandon from 3rd Generation Family, who bred the OZK from Zkittlez and OG Eddy — it’s tough to imagine anyone having a better version than Wonderbrett. We’re expecting a lot of OZK in the not-too-distant future, so don’t be surprised if it makes the Harvest Hype list this year, as enthusiasm around the strain continues to percolate.
3C Farms — Sasquatch Sap, Lime Sherbert and Club 33 OG
With a lineage tracing back to the famed Josh D cut of OG Kush, 3C Farms has been known for producing the absolute heat for years. You may remember that in 2017, their Sasquatch Sap placed second in the mini cannabis competition we held at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s annual conference in Oakland. We love the Sasquatch Sap, but it’s hard to rank it above the Lime Sherbert and Club 33 OG. The Lime Sherbert is like a citrus smoothie with fuel notes, while the Club 33 OG is quintessential SoCal OG Kush grown to peak performance.
[Canniseur: The field of biogeography is fascinating. The authors speculate cannabis separated from hops 27.8 million years ago. How scientists determined the path of cannabis from Tibet, to Kazakhstan, to Turkey, then around the world is pretty cool.]
The latest research is pointing to the Tibetan Plateau as the origin of cannabis, reaffirming academia’s long-held belief the plant first evolved in central Asia.
A new study has put forth a compelling argument about where the cannabis plant originated: in the Qinghai Lake region of the Tibetan Plateau, about 28 million years ago.
The scientists behind the research, known as biogeographers, used data on the way wild cannabis pollen has distributed over the years to ground their study. Then, using information from 155 fossil plant studies that have been conducted in Asia, they were able to get more precise. The pairing of the two led to civilization’s best localized guess yet of where marijuana evolved.
According to the study, published in the journal Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, the location is about 10,700 feet above sea level in the Qinghai Lake region of the Tibetan Plateau. The lake has a huge surface area of 1,700 square miles. The region is home to an array of Buddhist monasteries and rare birds like the black-necked crane. It is currently under the control of China. The lake is the largest lake on the largest, highest and youngest plateau in the world, as well as the largest lake in China, as noted by the People’s Republic’s submission to make the lake a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2017. Now that we believe the cannabis plant was born there, how can it not be?
Using “molecular clock analysis,” or a tool that looks at the mutation rate of biomolecules to estimate how long ago two species diverged, the researchers estimated that the cannabis plant diverged from the hops plant 27.8 million years ago.
The research was led by John M. McPartland of the University of Vermont and GW Pharmaceuticals, William Hegman from Middlebury College, and Tengwen Long from the University of Nottingham’s Ningbo China campus.
McPartland spoke exclusively with Cannabis Now about what inspired his research. “People have wondered about the origins of cannabis for over a millennium. Ibn Wahshiyya wrote the first hypothesis back in 930 AD!,” he said in an email, “Not too many crop plants provide us with three different products: fiber, food and medicine.”
While McPartland obviously points to identifying Qinghai Lake as the biggest takeaway of his study, he says researchers found out a lot of other cool stuff, too.
“By the time humans invented agriculture, [cannabis] had spread throughout Asia and Europe —even in India,” he said. “Botanists have long argued whether or not cannabis grew indigenously in India, before humans started spreading seeds around. Thus, wild cannabis was available for people across Eurasia to bring into cultivation. It was likely domesticated, independently, in several places.”
How Researchers Discovered the Origins of Cannabis
So, how did McPartland and his team do it? Many of those fossil plant studies they looked at assigned the same markers to pollen from cannabis and pollen from its cousin hops. This is because the two can be told apart, but their structure is similar enough that a lot of research just threw them under one label. To map pollen in space and time, the publications combed through fossil plant studies and separated cannabis pollen from hops pollen.
While the authors speculate that cannabis separated from hops 27.8 million years ago, the oldest pollen they discovered that fit all their parameters of the research and was consistent with cannabis dated back to 19.6 million years ago. The site where it was discovered is in Ningxia, China, on the border between the Tibetan Plateau and the Loess Plateau.
From Tibet, the researchers said the cannabis plant migrated to Europe by 6 million years ago, the Northwest part of China by 2.5 million years ago.
In the last 130,000 years, cannabis has popped up everywhere. It found its way into four of six Chinese regions, starting with Kazakhstan and then Turkey about 19,000 years later.