Weed Week in Review publishes a weekly report of the good, the bad and the ugly about weed in the US (OK, and other places too). We’ll provide a little commentary about what’s happening in the world of weed.
The hypocrisy of the American Medical Association is astonishing. In 1937, the AMA was the only organization that spoke against making cannabis illegal via the Stamp Act. Mississippi voters overwhelmingly approved medical cannabis and now a few people, not organizations are trying to overturn the will of the voters. People never seem to learn that if their agenda is defeated (and I can’t understand why in 2021 there is any resistance to cannabis legalization) they can still fight for it, even if they’re a small minority. There’s good and bad in that.
Yet another idiot who thinks that their personal agenda is more important than the will of the voters. The only way voters can get their way is to vote the schmucks out of office. There might be a lot of that over the next 2 and 4 years. Only time will tell if the people are willing to vote for what they believe.
WOWIE!!!! Three angry icons in a row! I don’t like this. Yet another state, New Jersey, that has had overwhelming support for cannabis approval (70%) on a state ballot and yet legislators are holding up the implementation of pot shops in the state. This is getting ridiculous. The voters vote. They are ignored by the legislatures or governors. It has to stop.
Way to go New Mexico…we hope! This will mark the third time that New Mexico will try to legalize adult-use weed. The third time might be the charm too. While many republicans opposed cannabis legalization in the Land of Enchantment, there were more who wanted it. There were also plenty of conservative democrats who did not want legal pot in the state, but they got voted out of office. They were the primary roadblock to legalization. Go figure. This year will hopefully e the year New Mexico joins the list of states who have legalized marijuana for everyone over the age of 21.
Walled Lake is a small community near Detroit and they have been offering free pot to anyone who can prove they’ve had the COVID vaccine. Now this is the way weed can be used for good. There seem to be only about 55 or 60% of the people who are saying that even if they could get the vaccine, they would not. Maybe this will push a few over the top…if they can find the vaccine at all. It’s in very short supply everywhere.
There’s really no surprise here. Colorado is the state with the longest track record of adult pot sales. My only surprise is that it’s not more than $3 billion dollars! There is probably still room for growth in the industry in Colorado as well. Since Colorado represents about 1.7% of the overall U.S, population, you can extrapolate the $2 billion in current sales to somewhere north of $100 billion if weed was legal all over the country. That’s a big number. Really BIG! And potentially it represents a lot of tax revenue. A whole lot.
2021 will be a fascinating year in the cannabis industry for a myriad of reasons. With a new administration in the US, there will be a lot of changes at the federal level. More states will be legalizing both for medical and recreational marijuana. When the federal government removes the restrictions on pot, research will explode. The weed industry will grow by leaps. Pot will continue to enter into the mainstream and stigmas will begin to disappear. One of those stories will be social equity.
Minorities have never been part of the pot industry except in arrests, which always were made in far greater numbers than white people. African-American, Hispanic and other populations of color don’t consume marijuana in any form in greater numbers than any other part of the overall population, but those populations have been subject to arrest rates at 10 times higher than the white population. It’s systemic racism and it’s a sad part of our society. Racism won’t go away, but we can see some glimmers of a more equitable society.
Minority representation in the cannabis industry is low. In California, there appears to be an effort to get more minorities involved in our evolving industry. That’s a good thing, but is the state doing enough to give access to minorities who don’t have big bankrolls? The jury is out on that. However, it’s still very early in the evolution of the cannabis industry. Will this will be a trend or an anomaly? Only time will tell.
Amelia Williams wrote this article about 5 black-owned businesses that are trying to stand out from the crowd. Originally published in Leafly, it’s worth a visit to see what minority (in this case black) owners are doing to put themselves head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd in the Golden State. Will it apply to other states? Who knows?
And here’s another story about what what a company in Oakland, ECO is doing to help those who have been marginalized and oppressed. They employ many people who have been previously incarcerated for non-violent pot crimes as well as minorities. It originally appeared in Cannabis Business Times
And one more also from Cannabis Business Times. This story tells how the Illinois Senate is trying to improve minority equity in the pot business by opening licenses up to more minorities who frequently don’t have the funds to start a business let alone go through all the draconian licensing forms and then pay for them! It’s short, but you’ll be beginning to get the idea that we need to open up.
I’ve had Maui Waui before. Many times, but not in the last 15 to 20 years. The original spelling is what I wrote here. Some Maui Waui was purported to be actually grown on the island of Maui. Some was grown in California. But the word is Maui, not Mowie. It’s a large island in the Hawaiian island chain. Maui has always been maui…until now. I have frequently seen Waui spelled Wowie. Wowie, the original strain was spelled Waui. The strain I purchased was labeled “Mowie Wowie” and was purchased from a shop in Palm Springs, CA called OG Arabian Knights.
The Mowie Wowie I purchased was produced by a company called Dime Bag who claim that their product is all soil grown and organic. The flower could have been grown in soil, but was it grown indoors or outdoors? Hard to tell from their website. While I do appreciate organic, it doesn’t matter as long as no pesticides and herbicides were used. What matters is the care it was grown with. What I don’t understand is their spelling of Maui Waui as Mowie Wowie. I can get the Wowie part for marketing and have frequently seen products with names that are supposed to mean something, but Maui Waui (or Wowie) was invented in Hawaii in the late 1970s.
So what’s in a name? Let’s find out!
Mowie Wowie – Appearance & Packaging
A Mowie Wowie Close-up
There’s not a lot to differentiate this particular strain from many others. The buds had some bright green, usually not a great sign, but in this case it was OK; not too many orange stigma were visible, but that’s not an issue for me; there were also some darker reddish-brown areas scattered throughout. What is Maui Waui supposed to look like? I don’t know, but it was still pretty and I liked the way it looked. The flowers were fairly loose and it appeared to be grown without PGRs (Plant Growth Regulators), which is a good thing.
A word on the packaging. As you can see by this picture, the weed was delivered to me in a ‘hermetically’ sealed bag. I hate this packaging for several reasons. First, I can’t see the product. Second, It’s essentially a soft sided enclosure that can get crushed rendering the weed crumbled up. That said, this particular iteration of my ‘Dime Bag’ of pot was very much in tact in the bag and had a wonderful aroma to boot. I still don’t like it, but I also get it. If I was a grower and I wanted to protect my product, I might consider the exact same thing.
Mowie Wowie Appearance Score – 16
Mowie Wowie – Aroma
Holy Moley… … …or more aptly put WOWIE! This strain was packed with tropical fruit aromas like pineapple, skunky (a good thing) cannabis aromas and an unidentifiable aroma that just smelled…good. At first, I was kind of suspicious that the company that produced this product had added some terpenes to make it smell and taste better. After a while, I realized that all the aromas were part of the plant. i couldn’t keep my nose out of the bag it came in, it smelled that good. Was it because of added terpenes? I don’t know, but what was there I liked. A lot. I’d like to believe that the care Dime Bag took in drying and curing was what made the weed smell so wonderful.
Mowie Wowie Aroma Score – 19
Mowie Wowie – Taste
The wonderful aromas did not entirely come through to the taste, in spite of the aromas strength. It did taste good and it was smooth as well. This tells me it was well dried and cured. The green color had nothing to do with the taste, which is a good thing. But it did taste ‘smoky’ at first. Usually the first toke of weed in my (glass) pipe has a lot of the flavors of the terpenes. Not this strain. The taste on the palate had some of the fruitiness of the aroma, but wasn’t as complex. I think the ‘smokiness’ of the flavor got in the way of the fruitiness of the aroma and didn’t translate.
Mowie Wowie Taste Score – 17
Mowie Wowie – Effect
This strain energized me. I felt like the energizer bunny. Creative. Focused. I wanted to clean my house, but I wasn’t at home. I wanted to draw and I did. I wanted to paint. I did. If there are strains that are sativa and indica, then this one falls squarely in the sativa category. It was ‘light’ very little body buzz and it allowed me to concentrate on my creative side. It was absolutely uplifting and if I was feeling any stress, the stress was gone. I felt like I wanted to be active and not lay around on the couch. This is a great strain for exercising or hiking. There are two minor downsides to the effect; First one is cottonmouth. I wanted to consume a lot of water…and I did! The second was dry-eye. My eyes just felt dry.
Mowie Wowie Effect Score – 19
Mowie Wowie Review Summary
Would I buy this again, even in the packaging I hate? Absolutely. My only question is why don’t more growers produce this particular strain. It’s a terrific and uplifting strain that I haven’t seen for years. I hope that growers in other states decide that it’s worth a grow and I get to smoke it again soon. The overall score was dragged down by the packaging, but don’t let that stop you from buying this strain. It’s worth every penny. If it wasn’t for the packaging, I’d have given this strain a 93 or 94, as high as the Acapulco Gold I reviewed last year from The Green Room in Telluride. Maybe California growers are better than Colorado growers. I don’t think so, but you never know
Mowie Wowie Overall Score 90 (93 or 94 with different packaging)
It has become common knowledge in the world of cannabis research that the indica and sativa naming convention is a semantic distinction without a scientific difference. In 2015, University of British Columbia botanist Jonathan Page studied the DNA of 81 cannabis “strains” that were self-identified by the growers or distributors as either indicas or sativas. They found that they were almost genetically identical, and many were mislabeled. This is a long way to say that the ‘distinction’ of sativa vs. indica is bullshit.
Sativa vs. indica has become a marketing tool rather than a a scientific separation of ‘strains’. There is no sativa. There is no indica. And it’s a shame. We seem to have lost the origins of our favorite plant. But we still have cannabis and the multitude of effects that are possible. The real question is how are we differentiating the two? The real answer is marketing. Breeders tell us that the parentage of this strain or that strain is 80% indica or whatever. And absolutely none of it makes any sense scientifically. But it does make good sense from a marketing standpoint because it tells consumers about what they might expect although it’s not all clear. Sativa is supposed to work on the thought process and indica is supposed to make your body feel more, uh, “stoned.” Whatever that means.
While I was writing this, I decided I needed to look at an overview of was going on with different types of cannabis in the market. Since the dispensaries were all advertising sativa, indica and hybrid strains, I wanted to see what’s selling and where it was selling. I did not check for percentage of THC in the mix, I looked at random dispensaries in Michigan, Colorado, California and Washington and in each state I picked one market. The sample size is small, but I believe it gives a pretty good indication of what people are asking growers to produce. The results were fascinating, but not unexpected; 50% of the flower was listed as “Hybrid”. 33% was called Indica and only 17% was called “Sativa” by the various dispensaries. The sample size was small, only about 400 strains from 35 or so dispensaries, but significant as I looked at many more in other states and the percentages were always about the same.
“Hybrid” strains in the majority was not unexpected. The cannabis genome has now been thoroughly trashed by breeders, so everything is a ‘hybrid’. The real question to me is; Why are people looking to indica for their cannabis and not to sativa? Since the names are irrelevant, I’m going to stick to what I think and not any statistical evidence. That would take interviews and during the time of COVID, that’s just not going to happen.
Different States, Different Products
While I was in California, one thing I noticed was that the questions all revolved around if I wanted edibles or pre-rolled product. When I said flower, the reactions in the three dispensaries I visited (fully masked with an N-95 mask and in and out quickly) when I asked for flower was all the same…”Are you crazy?” And yes, I like to roll my own or use one of my glass pipes. I’m distrustful of pre-rolled cannabis as it’s mostly shake and always has the question of whether or not it was just dregs. And many dispensaries only had about 10 or fewer different strains. My impression was that flower is not in favor in California, at least where I was in Southern California.
In Colorado, the reactions were different and there was a lot more variety in the flower to be had. This wasn’t surprising. Maybe California is ahead of the curve or maybe they’re just lazy. I won’t have the opportunity to find out soon as I’ll not be traveling back to California until we’re all vaccinated. Colorado just felt more open to flower users as well as experimenters with cannabis. In Michigan, there’s a lot more flower available and the budtenders I talked to never asked if I was more interested in flower or pre-rolls. I’ve had pre-rolled cannabis joints.
How Does it End?
Reality check. If we keep hybridizing our favorite plant; crossing “sativas” with “indicas,” how does this end. WAIT!!! There is no sativa. There is no indica. What does this mean for us? Does it matter? I’ve never been a budtender, so I can’t write about this with any authority. I have spent a lot of time in dispensaries though and listened to a lot of customers.
If my listening to conversations is at all accurate, it would seem that most people are looking for the highest percentage of THC they can get in a flower. Personally, I think that’s ridiculous. That’s like looking for a wine with the highest alcohol percent you can get. I can relate from personal experience, a chardonnay over about 14% and a cabernet sauvignon over 15% or so isn’t very good wine. Shouldn’t cannabis be about taste; Terpenes and the quality of the cure (smoothness)? Cannabis should be, above all, an experience, and we are at risk of losing that experience if the only thing we look at is the percentage of THC.
Are we at risk to lose the beauty of what the ‘fragrant reed’ should be about? We might be. Breeders need to be more aware about what they’re doing to the cannabis genome. Genetic manipulation is one thing. Over-hybridization is another.
This is not as weird as it sounds. NJWeedman (real name Ed Forchion) is a cannabis activist in New Jersey. He wants to overturn the ballot initiative that legalized marijuana in New Jersey. He wants this bad enough that he has sued New Jersey to overturn the initiative. It’s not for the reasons you think.
NJWeedman wants the state to open its dispensary licensing process and have regulations that the small ‘retailer’ of weed can both afford and understand. His desire is to have people of color who were the victims of cannabis persecution be able to open their own small stores. He believes the regulations will prevent this and calls it the “Walmartization of Weed” and he wants the little guy who was selling (illegally) over the years to have the opportunity to be included. He’s not wrong, at least in this writer’s eyes.
Regulations Benefit the Big Box Stores
It’s not just New Jersey. Too many of the states where cannabis has been legalized. have made regulations that make it easier for the “big guys” to come in (the “Walmartization”) and take over the industry. They can hire teams of lawyers to follow the regulations and just ignore the little guys who are just trying to make a living. The problem with this is the systemic racism it engenders.
NJWeedman also owns a 420 friendly restaurant that has a diner feel to it and I want to eat there!!! Also, here’s an article in Cannabis Culture about NJWeedman and what he’s doing to try to stop the state of New Jersey from cutting out the little guys who just want to start a little pot shop. LIke a little liquor store or wine shop.
We need this to happen nationally. I prefer to call it the “Galloization” of the weed market, but it’s the same. Big brands and big stores can destroy the little guy. What they need to know is they can both thrive together in a well run and regulated marketplace. For the state of New Jersey’s part, they’re claiming to be open to smaller operators. But…if they make the regulations too onerous and the licensing fees too high, they’re going to be in hot water with those who are supporting the illicit trade in cannabis.