As Bernie Sanders Calls for Marijuana De-Scheduling, Richard Nixon Reminds Us Why Pot Tops Illegal Drugs List

The architect of America’s War on Drugs, left, with Elvis Presley, the pop singer/movie star/drug abuser who asked to be President Richard Nixon’s special drug agent.

By Ed Murrieta

Richard Nixon was socially awkward and paranoid. His ramblings were at times unintelligible. He indulged in cottage cheese and ketchup.

Total stoner, right?

The 37th president of the United States was anything but. In fact, Nixon’s disdain for drugs and drug users — based wholly on Nixon’s personal and racial prejudices — launched the nation into an unwinnable conflict that’s been carried out by all seven subsequent presidents: America’s War on Drugs, now on the brink of its 45th year.

Nixon’s anti-drug legacy slunk from his disgraced dungheap this week when one of the Democrats running for president called for marijuana to be completely removed from the schedule of controlled substances regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, an agency Nixon authorized.
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Mapped: San Francisco’s Most Important Vapor Lounges

Touting the city before it hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1911  — the very year California outlawed cannabis — President William Howard Taft declared San Francisco to be “the city that knows how.”

While legal recreational cannabis states Colorado, Oregon and Washington struggle with regulations that prohibit public consumption of any kind — no bars, cafes or clubs for smoking, vaping or even eating pot, the linchpins for safe and sane cannabis tourism — San Francisco medical cannabis dispensaries offer a taste of social cannabis use in public spaces and provide a glimpse of cannabis tourism’s future today.
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Dear Rush Limbaugh: ‘Wake and Bake’ Is About Pot, Not Pills

Right-wing opioid aficionado Rush Limbaugh is dazed and confused about what it means to wake and bake, potheads’ favorite rise-and-shine routine.

“I don’t have any experience with this so I’m unable to render an opinion,” Limbaugh told his microphone this week in an apparent response to Carly Fiorina denouncing Colorado pot legalization. “Maybe I should go smoke some and find out what this is all about and be able to render an ….oh, yeah, eat a brownie. That’s what ‘wake and bake’ means, right? Yeah, there’s an NFL player who had a Snapchat or Instagram post. He woke up and he’s all happy, and said, ‘Time to wake and bake,’ and somebody said, ‘Wow, that guy does the weed.’ So that’s what wake and bake means. Bake some cookies or brownies, I guess. Have you had them? What do they taste like? I do I wonder what they taste like.”

Here’s a ditty to help Limbaugh understand starting one’s day with pot rather than pills:

Wake and bake, wake and bake
Get me high and start my day
Wake and bake, wake and bake
Pass the dutchie — life can wait
Wake and bake — ain’t it great?
Like getting kissed on your first date

I dreamed of you all night long
Fat joint, big dab, my good old bong
Sweet edibles, my new vape pen
Say good morning, my best friends

Sativa, indica, hash so strong
My breakfast bowl’s coming on

Wake and bake, wake and bake
Get me high and start my day
Wake and bake, wake and bake
Pass the dutchie — life can wait
Wake and bake — ain’t it great?
Like getting kissed on your first date

Top 10 potheads in California Hall of Fame

By Ed Murrieta

SACRAMENTO — The California Hall of Fame honors people who have made distinguished achievements in the arts, education, business, labor, science, sports, philanthropy and public service in the Golden State.

Since its creation in 2006, the California Hall of Fame has quietly proven that cannabis is no barrier to success.

Eight people, including three well-known cannabis users, will be inducted Oct. 28 in an official state ceremony at the California Museum in downtown Sacramento.

Of nearly 100 inductees in the past nine years, here are the California Hall of Fame’s top 10 potheads:

ROBERT DOWNEY JR.Actor, 2105 inductee 
The actor might be called the living embodiment of the Gateway Drug Theory — if only the druggy gates of Downey’s Hollywood childhood weren’t totally unhinged from the start. Downey’s debauched dad gave him his first joint at age 8. Later, Downey snorted coke with actor Jack Nicholson, smoked crack and heroin and served prison time. He’s kicked coke, crack and smack but still smokes pot. In 2010, he told Rolling Stone he’s against legalizing any drug, pot, which he called “the biggest ambition crusher of them all.”

DAVID HOCKNEY, Painter, 2015 inductee
The 77-year-old Englishman told British media last year that while he rarely leaves his Los Angeles home because of his deafness, he does go out to visit “the doctors, the bookshop and the marijuana store.” A cannabis smoker for much of his life, Hockney said he uses the “harmless and pleasant plant” for medical reasons. “And it’s very nice actually. I don’t smoke much, but sometimes of an evening, because I don’t have alcohol any more, a bit of marijuana’s nice.” Hockney has long called for cannabis legalization in the UK.

BRUCE LEE, Martial arts actor, 2015 inductee
Contrary to conspiracy theories, the Hong Kong-born hash-eater did not die from cannabis consumption at age 32 in 1973.  Lee’s cause of death was determined to be cerebral edema caused by the prescription headache medication Equagesic. Lee ate hash to ease the aches and pains of his martial arts training. In a rebuke to the Los Angeles Times’ assertion of Lee’s addiction, his widow wrote, “a renowned pathologist testifying at the inquest stated that the small amount of cannabis found in Bruce’s stomach had no more effect on the cause of death than if he had ‘taken a cup of tea’ shortly before he died.”

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, Basketball player, 2014 inductee
The NBA legend first smoked pot at 17, an event he called “one of my first major individual decisions.” “I’ve certainly smoked more than my quota of weed,” he wrote in his 1983 autobiography, “Giant Steps.” “For a while there at UCLA I didn’t want to hang out with anyone who didn’t smoke reefer.” He smoked cannabis throughout his 20-year basketball and afterward, using it, he says, to alleviate migraines and control nausea induced by the headaches. He was arrested in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in 1998 while carrying 6 grams. In 2000, he was arrested in the San Fernando Valley on suspicion of driving under the influence of pot. He supports legalization.

DR. DRE, Music producer/Headphones marketer, 2014 inductee
The hip-hop-performer-producer-turned-Apple-headphones-vice-president is cagey about cannabis, claiming he doesn’t blaze it up “’cause it’s known to give a brother brain damage.” Whatever. Dr. Dre gave the world four of the weediest words in pot culture’s lexicon: The Chronic and Snoop Dogg. #SmokeWeedEveryday


THE BEACH BOYS, pop music band, 2012 inductees
The Beach Boys’ main man, Brian Wilson, wrote many of the band’s greatest hits while high. In 1965, “God Only Knows” came to him as he smoked pot while listening to “Rubber Soul,” the Beatles’ “pot album.” Later, while preparing to write and record “Smile” — a psychedelic project that was aborted due to Wilson’s emotional and substance problems — Wilson purchased a couple thousand dollars’ worth of pot and hash. He had a hot-box tent installed in his house.  A recovering addict of several substances, Wilson supports cannabis legalization “if people do it in moderation.”

CARLOS SANTANA, Guitar god, 2012 inductee 
In 1991, the Mexican-born guitarist was busted with 5 grams of his native-country weed at an airport in Houston. Santana said he was carrying “a joint the size of a toothpick.”  In 2009, Santana made an impassioned plea to President Obama: Bring the brothers home and the sisters home [from war] now, legalize marijuana, and take all that money and invest it in teachers and education. And you will see a transformation of America.


MERLE HAGGARD, Musician, 2011 inductee
The man who wrote and sang country music’s most famous anti-pot anthem has changed his tune. “At the time I wrote ‘Okie From Muskogee,’ I didn’t smoke,” Haggard said recently. “It was ’68. I thought it was responsible for the flower children walking around with their mouths open. It was not so. But if a guy doesn’t learn anything in 50 years, there’s something wrong with him.” Haggard converted to cannabis when his doctor recommended it in lieu of his Valium habit. He favors legalization as way to save America’s economy. Earlier this year, Haggard teamed with legendary country music pothead Willie Nelson to make a pro-pot song and video, “It’s All Going to Pot.”

HARVEY MILK, Politician/Gay rights icon, 2010 inductee
The openly gay, totally liberal San Francisco supervisor who was slain by a right-wing homophobe was a close friend of legendary pot dealer/entrepreneur Dennis Peron and supported legalization. With Milk’s support in 1978, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition W, a nonbinding policy statement that “demand[ed] that the District attorney, along with the Chief of Police, cease the arrest and prosecution of individuals involved in the cultivation, transfer, or possession of marijuana.” “They can’t bust us all,” Milk said. But Proposition W’s will wasn’t to be. After the murder of Milk and Mayor George Moscone, misdemeanor marijuana arrests nearly tripled under drug-hawk Mayor Dianne Feinstein.

JANE FONDA, Actress/Activist, 2009 inductee
Branded “Hollywood’s Wildest Pot Smoking Rebel” by Uncensored Tabloid Magazine in 1970, a year before her toking-hot turn as a high-class hooker in “Klute,” Fonda still fires up at age 77. She was spotted by the National Enquirer smoking a joint with her brother, Peter Fonda, at the 2001 Vanity Fair Oscar party. Earlier this year, she told a French magazine DuJour , “I’ll smoke pot every now and then.” But within limits. “I cannot see a movie on pot,” she said. “The number of movies I’ve seen thinking, ‘This is probably the best I have ever seen,’ and then I’ll see it again sober and think, ‘What was I thinking?’”


2015 inductees will be honored Oct. 28 with a Spirit of California medal presented by Gov. Jerry Brown. Their accomplishments will be made permanent record in the California State Archives.

An exhibit running Oct. 29 through Aug. 28 at the California Museum will display artifacts and ephemera on loan from the inductees’ personal collections.

Don’t expect to see Bruce Lee’s hash box.

Citizens can nominate future inductees. Do you know any famous and worthy cannabis advocates who meet these criteria?

  • Lived in California for a minimum of 5 years
  • Transcend the boundaries of his or her field to make a lasting, significant contribution to the state, nation and world
  • Embody the spirit of California and the California Dream
  • Motivate and inspire people to further their own dreams through his or her unique story and accomplishment

Maybe we’ll see Dennis Peron, Ed Rosenthal, Steve DeAngelo, George Zimmer and Snoop Dogg at the 2016 California Hall of Fame gala.


Celebrity-branded cannabis abounds in California. Does name-brand pot equal star-quality weed?

By Ed Murrieta

Rappers. Comedians. Porn stars. Reality stars. Willie Nelson. They’re among today’s celebrities who have their own branded pot strains on the shelves or in the works.

You may enjoy laughing your ass off to Margaret Cho, getting your rocks off to Lizz Tayler or working your motherf—— ass off to Wiz Khalifa.

But what’s it like to smoke these celebrities’ branded weed?

Better yet, what’s it like to smoke celebrity weed with the weed celebrities themselves?

Is comedian Margaret Cho as pungent, tart and mellow as her strain, Margaret Cho OG?

Is chart-topping rapper Wiz Khalifa anything like his strain, Khalifa Kush — heavy, piney and an all-around good flower?

Celebrities and the California companies that market cannabis products bearing their names say the branded pot strains were chosen to captures their namesakes’ lives, talents and personalities, and to reflect the aromas, flavors and effects the celebrities prefer in their pot.

I see two ways to tell the story:

1. Smoke branded weed with namesake celebrities and find out if the weed and people are anything alike, producing both reviews of the weed and personality profiles of celebrities.

2. Smoke branded weed while viewing the celebrities and their work on the Internet, and review celebrity weed through the prism of their namesakes’ work and public personas.

For either version, I’d pick three to five celebrities and their branded weed. If one of those picks is a porn star, expect discrete professionalism no matter which way the story is told.

Here is a Sidebar Listicle:

Since the beginning of celebrity culture, celebrities have hawked consumer goods, selling the notions that celebrities know quality products and that celebrities share experiences with consumers of everything from to cigarettes to sporting goods.

In our pot-saturated modern culture, celebrity pot strains are no less reasonable than Paul Newman salad dressing and far less freaky than Mr. T breakfast cereal.

Here are celebrity-branded weed and weed products currently on the market:

Wiz Khalifa: For lending his name, the rapper receives all the Khalifa Kush he can smoke from The Cookie Co., the Bay Area dispensary responsible for Girl Scout Cookies, one of the biggest hit strains of the past three years. Wiz has also teamed up with RAW Rolling Papers to develop smoking accessories.

Margaret Cho: The comedian is the most famous and maybe least X-rated celebrity promoting branded strains of High Life pot for Natural Cannabis Co., a Northern California company with dispensaries in the Emerald Triangle and Oakland. Margaret Cho OG (24.22 percent THC, 0.05 percent CBD) is slickly packaged and sells for $60 an eighth along with strains named for rapper Baby Bash; porn stars Lizz Tayler, Lalya Price and Skin Diamond; and others in porn and entertainment.

Kevin Smith: The movie producer/director branded two strains of weed to promote “Tusk,” his 2014 walrus horror film. Mr. Tusk and White Walrus were both cultivated by Los Angeles dispensary Buds & Roses in partnership with Kushman Veganics.

Ed Rosenthal: If growers are rock stars, meet the Beatles. Famed Oakland cultivator partnered with the Bay Area’s Medi-Cone on “The Eddie,” a $17 sativa-blend joint bursting with Blue Dream and Mango.

Tommy Chong: Pot’s elder statesman licenses his name to a plethohora of paraphernia, including a line of odor-neutralizing swipes said to remove pot smells from clothes and skin; high-end joint rollers; a Chong vaporizer; and Chong Water.

Snoop Dogg: The rapperpreneur designed the skins for the line of G Pen vaporizers — featuring a map of Long Beach, his hometown, “the spot where I served my cane,” as Snoop Dogg rapped in his 1993 debut hit “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?”

Redman: The platinum-selling rapper’s name is not on any product but he cut an entire commercial/official music video to promote Caviar Gold, a Los Angeles-based cannabis company that makes fortified flower buds and pre-fabricated joints loaded up with cannabis oil and keef.

Here are some celebrity weed products reported to be in development:

Tommy Chong: Pot’s elder statesman licensed a line of cone joints.

Willie Nelson: The country music legend formed a new company, Willie’s Reserve, and is working on his Willie Weed brand of pot and a multi-state chain of marijuana stores.

Bethenny Frankel: Real Housewives star also known for her calorie-friendly line of Skinnygirl booze has teased Skinnygirl cannabis, a strain that won’t cause munchies.

Melissa Etheridge: The musician announced plans for cannabis-infused wine.

Bob Marley: The late musician’s estate signed with private equity firm Privateer Holdings to launch Marley National, a marijuana brand “offering heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains.”

Jimi Hendrix: Toronto-based Nutritional High holds the rights to feature the rock icon on its “Purple Haze” pot candies. Colorado chef Melissa Parks, author of “Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis,” is VP in charge of product development.