Lead photo by Zach Sokol
Oh California, how intoxicating you are! Your picturesque shores, radiant sun, and immaculate skies subject your inhabitants to a mind-numbing reality. The confusingly perfect physical state of this place and its residents parallels your pursuit of pristine progressiveness; it sets the bar high, but also raises questions about the unseen costs of constitutional conquest. Much like the quagmire of California state law itself, the launch of legal cannabis sales at the beginning of this year reminds us of how good intentions can lift us up, but also leave us scratching our heads, wondering if less bureaucratic approaches might have garnered more direct and positive results.
Now, I don't want to come across as a negative nelly, because I'm incredibly proud to call the Golden State my home. Fighting the good fight is always a worthy cause, and it keeps hearts warm, minds inspired, and creativity crackling as the left coast works to stay the best coast. That being said, it's important for us to examine this reality — adult-use cannabis legalization — not only for us folks that live here each day, but for people across the United States and around the world that look to California as the ultimate manifestation of a successful and free society on this planet (and beyond).
To that end, MERRY JANE's Cali Week will dig deep on the tangible triumphs, continued struggles, and projected conflicts arising from our long awaited embrace of (cannabis) reform. Worry not though friends of MERRY JANE, we won't only explore the legal and political realms on our California journey, but the artistic, cultural, medical, and consumer spheres, as well.
Photo courtesy of Katie McCurdy
We kick things off getting down and dirty with cannabis legend Cheech Marin. Beca Grimm caught up with the pot icon to not only dissect his comedy and cannabis legacy, but to get a historical perspective on the changes we are seeing unfold before our eyes. Cheech is in on the green rush — like Tommy Chong, he's started a line of canna-products — but he's paid his dues (and debts), and talked to us about the clearer path that lies ahead. And if it's clear paths you want, then look no further than Madison Margolin's detailed dissection of the first month of legal cannabis in California. She also stepped out of the cannabis cube to get perspectives from Californians who aren't so excited about the prospect of legalization in our fine state. There are numerous counties, municipalities, and towns that are saying "no" to this next chapter of cannabis history, and Margolin did some top-shelf reporting to find out why.
As much as we're always down to shine light on different sides of a debate, there's one thing we're not willing to defend, and that's the racist, exploitive, and outdated War on Drugs. Recent announcements by the San Diego and San Francisco Attorneys General, however, give us hope that some of the wrongs of this decades-long conflict will be righted. As part of that mission, we sent Randy Robinson to explore Oakland's social equity program that is trying to bring justice to victims of this unjust campaign by granting them opportunities in the newly-legal cannabis industry.
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And when it comes to helping out, don't worry, because our focus is far from one-dimensional, and our hearts are bigger than a fresh pound bag of NorCal's finest. That's why we linked once again with one of our favorite hearts: Nikki Hearts. Nikki is on the front lines of the porn industry's mental health crisis that has claimed numerous lives over the last several months, and caught headlines as a result. Her inside perspective reveals some difficult truths, and as hard as it may be for you to swallow, Nikki thinks cannabis could be a big part of the solution.
Photo by Zach Sokol
Now, if any of you were worried about our glorious week of Cali goodness taking itself too seriously, worry not. We've also cooked up some smiles to go along with our mind-expanding reportage — shouts out to our editors Bill Kilby and Zach Sokol for keeping things vibey. Our longtime (golf) buddy Drew Millard put together a scrumptious list of Cali's greatest weed albums of all time. We also got Molly Adams to link with some high-level celebrity impersonators to get their unbiased take on legalization in California — shout out to (fake) Snoop Dogg! And if it's more flavor you savor, check out Zach Harris's exploration of the underground world of rare, flavored Backwoods blunt wraps. In regulation-loving states like California, these tasty treats fetch a true premium for savvy smokers that just want a hit of that grapey goodness.
It's probably obvious by now that over here in MERRY JANE world we have endless California love, but no so much that we didn't remember to give Valentine's Day some love too! Nikki and Swami of Swami Select — our veteran grower columnists from The Emerald Triangle — talked with some of the world's best kush farmers to pen love letters to their favorite homegrown buds. We also got our product expert Lindsay MaHarry to put together the best of the best cannabis products that should be on your radar for a very Cali Valentine's Day.
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Now, why do we love love? It's because next to the sacred herb, it has a power unmatched on this planet, which brings me to one of the most exciting elements of our Cali Week — the debut of our new series Healing Powers! Helmed by our longtime homie Mareesa Stertz, Healing Powers goes deep on how people around the world are taking a totally different approach to health and healing through all kinds of plant-based medicine — prohibition be damned.
So there it is, folks! It's MERRY JANE's Cali Week and we always keep it rocking, so keep your eyes open or this wavvy green future is gonna pass you by!
~ Noah Rubin, Editor-in-Chief