Yes, we know, it’s about damn time this website/podcast/project got its own blog. While we do have several dozen podcast episodes as well as social media accounts with links to articles, photos and whatot, there comes a time when the old-fashioned blog becomes a necessity to somewhat bring everything together and give readers a written framework for what this site is about and the kinds of things we want to discuss. Let it be the wallpaper that ties the lounge together to use the parlance of modern times.
At any rate, those of you that have listened to an episode or two of the Critical Grass Podcast have a general understanding of what gets discussed around here: all things cannabis from an international perspective with the aim of bringing together cannabis enthusiasts from different parts of the world. Save for Antarctica and a few other unforgiving climates, cannabis is a global plant with consumers all over the planet representing countless different cultures. Most often we hear about what’s going on in Amsterdam (which is slowly being eclipsed by places like Barcelona, at least in Europe) or Jamaica or California, and for very good reasons. However, they are by no means the only places with strong cannabis cultures that carry with them storied traditions and customs. The places where cannabis has been used either for medicinal or wellness purposes as well as industrial purposes are pretty ubiquitous, just like the people that have cultivated and used it. The aim is to hear as many of these stories as possible but also to try to connect as many of these stories (and storytellers) as possible.
Up until very recently, the world seemed incredibly fast-paced with so much happening all over that you barely had enough time to look around and figure out what was going on. Now, because of a virus, we get to slow things down and actually smell the flowers (pun intended). We have a little more time now to take a metaphorical inventory of our daily lives and process what we have and what we will do with it moving forward.
Today is 4/20, the international holiday for cannabis lovers, and it’s a bit of a somber one to be quite honest. Just two years ago the state of California was celebrating its first fully legal (adult use) 4/20 holiday, last year many other places celebrated for the first time and Illinois was due to celebrate its first this year. Sadly, the cannabis community worldwide has had to cancel or postpone several highly popular events as a result of the pandemic, however that does not mean that people will not be celebrating. It’s a very deflating situation as this day is one that celebrates freedom, health, solidarity and love, though this is only temporary as many events scheduled for later in the year will still take place as planned, unless of course the pandemic decides otherwise. Nevertheless, the cannabis community is not giving up and will adjust to the situation accordingly. There is so far no evidence cannabis will cure you from COVID-19 but it can help alleviate certain symptoms if your case is mild enough and it will definitely help the time go by while you are under quarantine. Many authorities have deemed cannabis an essential business in these times, which is a huge step forward, considering the U.S. government still lists it as a Schedule I drug (having no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse). It might not seem like enough, but the tide is turning and it is very possible we will see descheduling or federal legalization in our lifetimes, so chins up everyone! Our day is coming, and I reckon sooner than most expect.
As some people celebrate 4/20 this year, others will be mourning as well. Earlier this month on April 8th, Charlotte Figi, the girl who became the posterchild for cannabidiol (CBD) throughout the United States and subsequently throughout the world, died as a result of complications from the Coronavirus at the age of 13. Thanks to the efforts of the Figi family, doctors and the Stanley brothers who bred the low-THC, high-CBD cultivar that was used to treat Charlotte, cannabis was legitimized as a therapeutic option for countless people who desperately needed treatment but were concerned about “getting high”. Charlotte’s case showed that not only is CBD an effective medicine against a slew of serious ailments, it is also safe to use in children. As a result, many families in the United States have either moved to Colorado (or another state with legal medical cannabis) or have sought out CBD treatment to help with their illness. This also has led to an explosion in popularity of CBD and acceptance by the broader public. CBD products are now widely available in the Western world and there is also growing acceptance of its falsely maligned sibling THC. Thanks to this combined effort of the Figi family and the tireless activists of the cannabis community, more people can now get the medicine they need without fear of legal repercussion. There is still an enormous amount of work ahead of us as far as legalization, expungement of criminal records, medical research and more are concerned, but thanks to one little girl, we are that much closer to helping all of those who could benefit from cannabis as medicine. Thank you Charlotte, rest easy. See you on the other side.