Amanda Chicago Lewis returns to the show to discuss her new GQ story "The Great Pot Monopoly Mystery" about a shadowy business group that is trying to patent marijuana strains.
We talked about the challenges of solo motorcycle touring, frosted weed milkshakes, and why Japanther called itself an art project instead of a band.
Matt Haughey never touched weed as a teen, despite being a competitive BMX rider in Southern California. He didn't smoke any weed in his 20s either, busy founding Metafilter one of the internet's first collections of "cool shit people find on the internet." By the time he was in 30s, Matt was curious to try marijuana but didn't know anyone who had any. Finally, a decade later, legalization came to the West Coast and he set off for Washington State to acquire some weed so he could smoke his first joint, age 42.
We talked about the lack of beginner's weed-smoking information on the internet, touring elementary schools and churches performing in a D.A.R.E. BMX show, and why he gave Metafilter away after 16 years.
Samantha Miller does research that informs the formulation of the special vape pens that hmbldt makes branded not by strain but effect: sleep, bliss, calm, relief. Prior to becoming HMBLDT's in-house scientist, Miller founded Pure Analytics, one of the first cannabis testing labs in the country.
We talked about the value of anecdotal evidence in testing, getting feedback from a seniors group, and why she grew well before it became her job.
Max Temkin is a co-founder of Cards Against Humanity, a "party game for horrible people," and Chicago comedians Joanna Feldman and Julia Weiss are its head writers. After a successful Kickstarter in 2011, Cards Against Humanity was released independently, reaching #1 in Amazon's Games section and spawning numerous expansion packs and copycats.
We discuss flying while stoned, what makes a card work in the Cards Against Humanity writers' room, and why Max was dreading coming on the show.
In 1973, Digby traveled from England to Morocco seeking out villages that practiced traditional hashmaking. Forty-six years later, he's still there.
Benny Blanco has produced twenty-six #1 hits and his records have sold over 100 million copies (or so Wikipedia tells me.) His writing credits include Katy Perry's 'Teenage Dream,' Rihanna's 'Diamonds,' Justin Bieber's 'Love Yourself,' and Maroon 5's 'Moves Like Jagger.' He was nominated for the 2017 Producer of the Year Grammy.
Benny is only 29 and keeps a relatively low profile. We talked about growing up music-obsessed in suburban VA, why the secret sauce to the '90s hip-hop sound may have been "dogshit weed," and recording Ed Sheeran on a transcontinental cruise ship.
Emma Chasen quit her job doing research trials at Brown and took her degree in Medicinal Plant Research to Portland. Within a week she had a job at Farma, where she was first a budtender and now focuses on cannabis science education.
When he was in college, Jake Lodwick was brought on as one of the original developers of CollegeHumor. Shortly thereafter he co-founded Vimeo and three years later he posted a photo of himself taking a bong hit after he was fired by Vimeo's new owners, IAC.
Jake's a pretty different person now, pouring his energy into a company that makes tactile and joyous music creation software. He's not totally comfortable with the internet he helped create, and had a lot to say about flow mindstates, the relationship between art and technology, and taking the long view.
Ricardo Baca is the founding editor of The Cannabist, a site from the Denver Post that covers the "marijuana industry like it was the oil industry." He is the subject of the documentary Rolling Papers. Baca recently left The Cannabist to found Grasslands, "a content agency for cannabis."
Thanks to Lemonhaze for sponsoring this weeks episode!
Francis Starlite is behind Francis and the Lights, who in 2016 alone released the album Farewell, Starlite! and worked collaboratively with Bon Iver, Kanye West, The Weeknd and Frank Ocean. He performed extensively with Chance the Rapper and last week released a video for a remix of his song 'May I Have This Dance' featuring Chance.
Francis and I have been friends since elementary school and have been writing songs together for the last 15 years. We talked about why Francis spent the majority of his life avoiding marijuana, what made him give it a try during a rut in his 30s, and the time he unexpectedly ended up in a studio with Kanye West and Jay-Z.
Alexandra Chasin is an associate professor at The New School. Her new book Assassin of Youth: A Kaleidoscopic History of Harry J. Anslinger's War on Drugs is a biography of America's first drug czar who popularized the term 'marijuana' and ushered in the Reefer Madness period of drug prohibition. A master propagandist prone to demonizing ethnic and immigrant groups, Anslinger's ideas laid the foundation for the modern drug war and brought awareness of cannabis to the American masses.
Alexandra and I talked about the Harrison Act, how America was scandalized by wild 'marijuana parties,' and the analogues between coming out as queer and coming out as a stoner.
In 2015 longtime activist Bill Levin founded the First Church of Cannabis in Indianapolis. He is currently suing for the right to use the "sacrament of cannabis" as part of his church's religious practice.
Despite being frequently written about online, the First Church of Cannabis has no website. I called the number listed on their Facebook page and a woman picked up. She gave me Bill Levin's cell number and I called him.
Charlie Warzel is a technology reporter who spent the last two weeks sitting right behind America's favorite conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in an Austin, TX courthouse. At stake in Alex Jones' custody dispute is whether the unhinged character he plays on InfoWars is real or as he claims "political satire."
On 4/20, his ex-wife's attorneys asked him about an incident wherein he was "unable to recall the names of his children's teachers after eating a big bowl of chili" and another incident where smoked a joint on the air while appearing as a guest on Joe Rogan's podcast. Jones explained that he used marijuana nearly yearly "to monitor its strength, which is how law enforcement does it" and that marijuana was too strong as a result of a mind control conspiracy backed by billionaire George Soros.
Amanda Chicago Lewis is a journalist in Los Angeles. Amanda has spent the last few years covering the entrepreneurs, charlatans, and weirdos who make up the largest weed market in the world for LA Weekly and Buzzfeed.
We talked about California's legalization vote in November and why we won't really know how it's going until 2020.
Krishna Andavolu is the host of the TV show Weediquette in which he travels America and the world telling the stories of people whose lives are are deeply impacted by marijuana. Weediquette's third season kicks off as part Vice's Weed Week on April 19th.
We talked about being asked to drive extremely high on a closed track for an episode of Weediquette, his parents reaction to him smoking weed on camera with the President of Uruguay, and how the election of Trump changed the direction of the show.
Nick Denton founded Gawker Media in 2004. In 2016, Gawker's portfolio of sites were either sold off or shuttered after a lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan bankrupted the company. This lawsuit, over the posting of Hulk Hogan's sex tape, was financed by Peter Thiel.
But Nick and I didn't talk about any of that.
We talked about discovering marijuana later in life, his obsession with internet forums, and his post-lawsuit plans.
We talked about growing up with kids whose mothers grew weed on the side, what happens when a project you've spent your life savings on literally catches on fire, and how advanced lab machines might unlock the secrets of terpenes, which control the smell and possibly the psychoactive effects of marijuana.