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Playboy Celebrates National Cannabis Awareness Month

Playboy Celebrates National Cannabis Awareness Month

LOS ANGELESApril 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In celebration of National Cannabis Awareness Month taking place throughout April, Playboy Enterprises today announced a month-long initiative supporting nationwide cannabis reform and advocacy. Building on the success of their legalization and expungement campaign in September, Playboy will continue its decades-long work championing the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis using a multifaceted approach focused on the three levers of people, policy and culture. In addition to making notable contributions to the Marijuana Policy Project and tapping into partners like Eaze Momentum, Playboy will also host a series of Twitter takeovers handing the mic over to notable members of the cannabis community throughout the month to discuss cannabis culture and important issues facing the industry today.

“Playboy has been fighting for cannabis rights for over six decades, and today we are closer than ever to achieving our goal of full federal legalization. Now is the time to make sure we do this right,” said Rachel Webber, Chief Brand Officer and President of Corporate Strategy at PLBY Group. “We are proud to support the amazing work our partners at Marijuana Policy Project are doing to ensure that the new laws enacted around legal cannabis are humane, combat injustices, and promote equality.”

“As we continue the fight to end cannabis prohibition nationwide, MPP is proud to partner with Playboy in celebration of National Cannabis Awareness Month,” said Steven Hawkins, Executive Director, Marijuana Policy Project. “Our shared vision for humane and equitable cannabis policies will help to ensure a diverse and inclusive future for legal cannabis that roots out injustices and empowers individuals and communities all across the country.”

Playboy has been engaged with cannabis reform since the 1960s and continues to use its platform to push the conversation forward today. As a proud founding donor of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) over 50 years ago, Playboy has been a pioneer in the cannabis space since the brand’s beginning. Today, once again, Playboy is doubling down on its efforts in support of cannabis reform and advocacy programs, and working to bring conversations surrounding cannabis mainstream.

  • People: Playboy will produce a collection of Instagram Stories and tweets to introduce and update their audience on Eaze’s Momentum program, a business development incubator for under-represented founders in the cannabis industry. Playboy supports Momentum and its 2021 class of entrepreneurs through monetary and in-kind donations. 
  • Policy: The Playboy Foundation will make a donation of $25,000 to the Marijuana Policy Project to support their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work and further their advocacy for fair and equitable cannabis policy in the fight for federal legalization and expungement. Marijuana Policy Project activates people and mobilizes resources to create lasting policy solutions that improve the quality of life for patients and their families, empower individuals with personal choice, combat injustices, and promote equity.
  • Culture: Throughout the month, Playboy will continue to use its media platforms to drive conversations around cannabis, as they have done for almost 70 years. In doing so, Playboy will pass the mic to notable members of the cannabis industry, partnering with Brian KaremAshlee Marie PrestonMatt Barnes and dream hampton to take over their Twitter channel the week of April 19th and engage with Playboy’s audience of 1.5 million followers around the newest information in the cannabis space. Playboy will also be hosting the class of Eaze Momentum startups, whom the company has sponsored and been mentoring, at their company happy hours, where these cannabis entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses to the Playboy team for support and feedback.

In honor of its legalization and expungement campaign in September, Playboy made a charitable donation of $25k to Eaze Momentum, kicked off its mentorship program with both Eaze Momentum and the Last Prisoner Project, urged Congress to pass the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act via a Medium piece written by Playboy CEO Ben Kohn, commissioned eight artists to create work inspired by the inequities of federal cannabis prohibition, and more. 

Playboy remains committed to pushing boundaries through its lifestyle and consumer product business, and driving important conversations that bring topics like cannabis reform, social justice and free expression out from the shadows, doing the work to ensure Pleasure for All. The company has also rolled out a line of pleasure-forward CBD products and smoking accessories over the past year on its sexual wellness hub, www.pleasureforall.com.

Jaleel White (AKA Urkel) Launches Purple Urkle Cannabis Brand

Jaleel White (AKA Urkel) Launches Purple Urkle Cannabis Brand

Jaleel White also known as Urkel from Family Matter is releasing a new cannabis brand

Actor Jaleel White, famous for his role as Steve Urkel in Family Matters, is entering the cannabis industry just in time for 4/20, with his own cannabis line called ItsPurpl.

Through a partnership with 710 Labs, White’s brand features variants of the popular cannabis strain Purple Urkle, Forbes reports. It is set to launch on April 20, and will be available on dispensary shelves in California to start, potentially growing to more marketplaces in the future.

White said, “The thing that always stood out to me was there no clear brand leader for fire purple weed. It made no sense to me, that no company of significance had claimed this lane, so why not me?”

710 Labs founder Brad Melshenker met White on a flight, and they connected over their passion for cannabis. “710 has never been a brand that pursued celebrity deals or endorsements as our agenda has always been quality above all else,” Melshenker said. “We tend to let the product speak for itself. But over the years Jaleel and I became friends and organically our conversations developed into a project. He was on a journey to find the real Purple Urkel from back in the early 2000’s. Not only that, he wanted to find the most flavorful purple cultivars and had been collecting seeds with his friend Sean over the years just for this purpose.”

The series of Purple Urkle strains will be sold as eighths, vape pens with 710 Labs’ proprietary live rosin pods, as well as Noodle Doinks (a fat, hand rolled joint that uses a fusilli noodle as the crutch.)

44-year-old White said, “To smoke the end result from such a quality pod has been surreal. I feel a little bit like Willy Wonka, the flavor came out so similar to grape candy.”

Melshenker said of the collaboration that comes “from the heart,” was determined to help Jaleel make it happen. He added, “Hunting for certain traits and genetics is time-consuming and challenging but it was worth it when it all came together in the end and the vision was realized.”

When it comes to smoking, White prefers not to partake when he’s acting. He said, “A lot of acting is about timing and you don’t want anything disrupting that. But when it comes to writing, that’s a whole different story. A good smoke sesh with some naturally funny cats can be just the creative spark you didn’t know you all needed. Beyond that, a good noodledoink before an amazing meal just makes everything taste that much better. Music for me is also greatly enhanced by cannabis consumption. Songs just slow all the way down and you hear every nuance.”

 

 
 
Steve Fox, who helped legalize marijuana in Colorado, has died at 53

Steve Fox, who helped legalize marijuana in Colorado, has died at 53

Steve Fox, Colorado legalization advocate and Vicente Sederberg LLP member has passed

​Fox was lead drafter of 2012’s Amendment 64, giving rise to the massive legal cannabis industry

One of the leaders of Colorado’s first-in-the-nation recreational marijuana legalization movement, Steve Fox, has died at the age of 53.

Fox was the lead drafter of Colorado Amendment 64, which passed in 2012 with a little more than 55% of the vote, and he also lobbied for legal weed in the state capitol.

“We are truly heartbroken to share news of the passing of our partner and dear friend Steve Fox,” wrote the cannabis law group Vicente Sederberg LLP, where Fox was a leader since 2010. Fox also served as a managing partner of VS Strategies since co-founding the group in 2013.

Fox conceptualized and co-founded Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), as well as coauthored the 2009 book “Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People To Drink?,” according to the Vicente Sederberg release.

Mason Tvert, among Amendment 64’s chief proponents and a friend and colleague of Fox, described Fox as inspirational.

“He made me feel like we could do anything,” Tvert told The Post. “This guy, he was truly passionate about helping people, both those around him and those that he knew were being affected by bad policies. And he never got a ton of recognition and he didn’t really seek recognition. He was always proud to be the guy behind the scenes.”

Fox had worked for President Bill Clinton’s second presidential campaign in Little Rock, Ark., as well as in Congress, Tvert said.

Tvert also noted that Fox was not from Colorado, but “was as responsible if not more responsible than any single individual for getting cannabis legalized and advancing this industry so far.” Since Colorado legalized weed, several states have followed, with New Mexico and New York just this year. Colorado itself has sold at least $10 billion in marijuana since legalization.

In 2013, Fox received an award from the Drug Policy Alliance in recognition of his influence on the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, the cannabis law group’s letter said.

PepsiCo debuts hemp beverage

PepsiCo debuts hemp beverage

rockstar hemp beverage revealed by PepsiCo

PepsiCo has announced its first foray into the hemp beverage sector, although U.S. consumers will have to wait before they can try the product.

According to a report in the trade Just Drinks, the Purchase-headquartered company is rolling out Rockstar Energy + Hemp exclusively in Germany. The new product contains caffeine, guarana, taurine and hemp seed extract. PepsiCo stated that the final ingredient creates an “intense hemp taste.”

PepsiCo acquired Rockstar in March 2020 for $3.85 billion and the brand commands a 35% share of Germany’s energy drink market.

“With outstanding category growth of 58% compared to the previous year, hemp products are the trend of the year 2021 in the (fast moving consumer goods) sector,” PepsiCo said in a press statement. “With Energy + Hemp, Rockstar is now expanding its energy portfolio to include three varieties with the ingredient hemp seed extract.”

Hemp comes from the cannabis family, but does not include the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) psychoactive compound that creates the high sensation.

Although the 2018 Farm Bill updated federal policy to consider hemp as an agricultural product, there is no consensus among state laws regarding the sale of hemp-based consumables, which is why PepsiCo is not offering its new product in the U.S.

A surprising oasis for medical marijuana: Oklahoma

A surprising oasis for medical marijuana: Oklahoma

When you think of Oklahoma, marijuana is probably not a thing you associate with the state.

OKLAHOMA (NewsNation Now) — Drive about 40 miles northeast of Oklahoma City and you’ll land on Chip Baker’s hundred-acre farm.

At first glance, it looks like any plot in rural Oklahoma. Spacious fields studded with work sheds and tarped greenhouse tunnels. Roosters roam freely next door.

Throw open the barn door and the golden light doesn’t reveal amber waves of grain but a different kind of cash crop.

It’s a marijuana operation and it’s all “baker’s brand.”

“Tokelahoma, cushlahoma, weedlahoma [and] gongelahoma” Baker says are just a few of the brands he sells.

“I think Lester Grinspoon said it best when he said “I smoke marijuana every chance I get.” and it’s true! Every chance, I do! ” exclaimed Baker.

Baker has grown weed around the world since he was 13. From the woods of Georgia and the lakes of Switzerland to Colorado and California.

“I love California weed, I love California growers. But there’s a certain snobbiness and we’ve done it all,” said Baker. “But like Oklahoma it’s this newness, adventure, that’s partly why we’re here.”

The 48-year-old and his wife Jessica moved to Oklahoma a couple of years ago after 57 percent of statewide voters literally greenlit medicinal marijuana through state question 788.

David Lewis is a lifelong Oklahoman and coo of Stability Cannabis, one of the state’s largest indoor grow facilities.

“I think people underestimate how much of a culture shock this was. This was a state where you couldn’t buy wine in a grocery store, yet we passed medicinal marijuana,” explained Lewis. “Born and raised in Oklahoma, I never would have thought we’d have almost 400,000 patients consuming medical marijuana. It’s shocking.”

According to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, there are more than 380,000 Oklahomans with active medical marijuana cards, about 10 percent of the population. That’s more than any other state in the country and double that of New Mexico, which comes in second.

In a state whose politics are as red as its dirt, the numbers almost seem wrong.

“Oklahoma and Texas are the home of outlaw country, right? Just because people are conservative or work on the land, or fish or hunt as relaxation, or even go to church, doesn’t disbar them from using cannabis and enjoying it,” said Baker.

“What I would say is look around the congregation at your church, and that’s our customer base,” added Lewis.

They’re consumers who get to come out of the shadows like Taly Frantz-Holly.

“I’ve been on the black market, as far as cannabis, as a smoker and everything from the time I was 19,” said Frantz-Holly.

She suffers from PTSD and says certain prescription pills left her suicidal. She found relief in cannabis.

“I went from taking 8 pharmaceuticals—8 medicinal pills every day. And now I’m down to 2. I only have panic attacks once ever few weeks and I was having panic attacks every single day,” stated Frantz-Holly.

Frantz-Holly says, without a doubt, the plant saved her life. So enamored by its medicinal powers, she now grows it herself.

“I literally got drug charges when I was 21 for a joint. And did 30 days in county jail. For a joint! And now I’m picking up 75 marijuana plants to go home to my commercial grow,” said Frantz-Holly.

She’s not alone. There are 7,000 other commercial growers across the state. Baker says it’s never been easier or cheaper to break into the business.

“Oklahoma just made it so easy to get involved that the average and normal person could,” said Baker. “There just no boundaries here.”

The application fee for growers, processors, dispensaries and transporters is $2,500. For patients, it’s $100. $20 for disabled veterans. Baker says it took him 15 minutes to apply in other states? He’s waited two years.

 

“Well if you look back at the political cycles, Oklahoma is the reddest of the red states. And I think what that translated to in medical marijuana was a free market approach,” said Baker. “The government wanted the free market to settle out who the winners and losers would be, and as a result you saw very limited restrictions on getting into the market and a lot of people participated.”

And many doctors, especially during a pandemic, have signed off on cards for patients suffering from anxiety, depression and insomnia.

“Oh COVID was a boom to the industry! Turns out if you’re trapped at home I guess with your kids and your in laws, you might have to medicate a little bit more every now and then,” said Lewis.

“The other thing is people aren’t sharing cannabis as much because of COVID. So people have been having their own bowls and their own joints,” stated Baker.

Baker says industry-wide, the business grew 50 percent last year.

If you’re surprised by Oklahoma’s booming numbers, Baker says you shouldn’t be. People just haven’t been able to talk about it but singing it.

“Oklahoma has a cannabis history. The cross Canadian ragweed, the famous song from 20 years ago. Oklahoma boys roll their joints all wrong. Its famous! It’s been famous for years!” said Baker.

 

Michigan university becomes first to offer cannabis chemistry scholarship

Michigan university becomes first to offer cannabis chemistry scholarship

A university in Michigan is adding a cannabis chemistry degree to its curriculum

A degree in cannabis chemistry? Yes please.

Lake Superior State University established the nation’s first chemistry program focused on cannabis when it launched The Cannabis Center of Excellence in 2019 — and now, the school is offering its first scholarship.

Steadfast Labs, a Michigan-based research facility with the goal of ensuring access to safe cannabis medicine, has established an annual $1,200 scholarship for cannabis chemistry students at LSSU, the school announced Monday.

To qualify, applicants must be sophomores or older and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students who live in Wayne and Oakland Counties, areas that the company services, will also be given preference.

“This donation not only continues our trendsetting ways in this vital new field but also makes our already affordable tuition even more reasonable,” said Dr. Steven Johnson, Dean of the College of Science and the Environment at LSSU. “By funding this scholarship, Steadfast Labs again demonstrates their commitment to supporting future chemists who will enter the workforce and provide public safety in the cannabis field.”

“It is our great pleasure to grant this unprecedented scholarship for a cutting-edge program in an innovative industry,” said Avram Zallen, founder and CEO of Steadfast Labs. “This grant is another opportunity for Steadfast to help LSSU students pursue careers in this exciting and important industry. “

The school offers degrees in cannabis chemistry, cannabis production, cannabis science and cannabis business, with the goal of “positioning cannabis studies as a national leader of academic inquiry.” The program markets itself as the first in the U.S. to focus on the quantitative analysis of cannabis-related compounds and contaminants, including THC, CBD and terpenes.

“The scholarship reinforces key components of our vision statement: being vanguard-focused and driving social mobility,” said LSSU President Dr. Rodney S. Hanley.

Last month, officials announced the university upgraded its cannabis analysis instrumentation to analyze residual pesticides and mycotoxins in cannabis products, as well as identify persisted pollutants.

Other schools around the country, including Cornell University and the University of Maryland, have introduced classes that focus on the cultivation and use of marijuana, along with the legal issues surrounding cannabis. There continues to be growing employer demand for college graduates with expertise in marijuana, with job growth in the sector rapidly expanding as states legalize the cannabis.

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