There were a lot of hard-hitting issues covered in the New York Democratic debate between incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and primary challenger Cynthia Nixon on Wednesday night.
But for some astute viewers, the debate also served as a lesson in American Sign Language (ASL). Naturally, we’re talking about how to sign “marijuana.”
As the two candidates faced off—making their case to voters about who would be better suited to represent the state ahead of the September 13 primary election—the subject of cannabis reform reared its head. And, in turn, that subject was translated into ASL.
Take this clip, for example.
DEBATE PREVIEW – #CynthiaNixon shares her priorities for New York legalizing #marijuana as a multi-billion industry which she says has harmed communities in the War on Drugs. https://t.co/MNlFqtiOpN #HofstraVotes #CBSNewYork pic.twitter.com/D4I8WoGbTI
— CBS New York (@CBSNewYork) August 29, 2018
“And what I would say is that we’re not talking about children smoking marijuana, right?” Nixon said of her cannabis policy platform. “We’re talking about adults, and we’re talking about that, effectively, marijuana in New York State has been legal for white people for a long time—and it’s time to make it legal for everybody else.”
The ASL interpreter became a hit on social media for her marijuana interpretation.
— DannyDanko (@DannyDanko) August 29, 2018
— Rob Williams (@robwilliamsNY) August 30, 2018
i’m loling everytine the interpreter signs “marijuana” in this debate
— Audrey Gelman (@audreygelman) August 29, 2018
I love that marijuana in sign language is just pretending to smoke an invisible joint. https://t.co/cljVMCYCd5
— Hispanic! At The Disco (@DayOff4Superman) August 30, 2018
The sign language interpreter in the Cuomo/Nixon debate has a great way of signing marijuana #NewYorkGovernorDebate
— Mike Shemesh (@MikeShemesh) August 29, 2018
Thank you to the cuomo vs Nixon debate for teaching me the ASL for marijuana
— ✨ rachel ✨ (@ohhoe) August 29, 2018
I have to say that learning the ASL for “marijuana” has been a real side benefit of watching this #NYGovdebate
— Michele Tepper (@michelet) August 29, 2018
In case you didn’t catch it from the debate, here’s an instructive video of how to sign “marijuana” in ASL.
In all seriousness, though, the debate captured another significant moment in the marijuana legalization movement. Cuomo may be the favorite to win the gubernatorial race, but observers have honed in on the governor’s abrupt evolution on cannabis policy in the months since his pro-legalization opponent has started to gained ground.
Some have wondered whether it was really a coincidence that Cuomo, who previously described cannabis as a “gateway drug,” announced the results of a New York Department of Health study on the impacts of marijuana legalization in the heat of Nixon’s challenge.
For the record, that study decisively found that the pros of legalization outweigh the cons, and the Cuomo administration has since formed a working group to draft legislation for adult-use marijuana in New York.
The governor reaffirmed his support for the department’s findings during Wednesday’s debate, also revealing that he “experimented” with marijuana during college. However, he also faced criticism over his stance on the use of revenue from a legal marijuana program.
"I don’t think racial injustice starts with marijuana,” Cuomo says. Adds: "I think legalizing marijuana, I had a report that says it makes sense… I do believe the benefits outweigh the risks." pic.twitter.com/AesHQjuUSh
— Tom Angell 🌳📰 (@tomangell) August 29, 2018
Big difference btwn Cuomo & Nixon on marijuana legalization. She says she will use tax dollars to repair harms of drug war — he won’t.
It’s not enough to legalize pot, communities of color demand a piece of the revenue too. #NYGovDebate
— Alyssa Aguilera (@alyssaguilera) August 29, 2018
#NYGovDebate Cuomo said racist injustice doesn't begin with marijuana but it's been a pretext for SO MUCH of the police's abuse of people of color.
— 💰🤔🤟🏻🌊 (@soulkhan) August 29, 2018
The debate about cannabis will continue, with contenders from all sides vying for the pro-legalization vote. But in the meantime, at least you know how to sign “marijuana.”
Photo courtesy of ASLvocabulary.
California Lawmakers Use Cryptocurrency To Buy Marijuana From Dispensary
Two city councilmembers in California became the first elected officials to use cryptocurrency to purchase marijuana from a dispensary—at least publicly—on Tuesday.
Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett and Emeryville City Councilmember Dianne Martinez visited the Ohana Cannabis shop in Emeryville to demonstrate how the technology can reduce transaction fees and improve financial transparency.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Berkeley Councilmember @BenBartlettCA and Emeryville Councilmember @EmeryvilleDi become the first elected officials to buy cannabis with cryptocurrency in history (probably, idk) with help from @EvilleAlly pic.twitter.com/gRTHFW2Zvc
— Rigel Robinson (@RigelRobinson) September 11, 2019
The technology they used, called stablecoin, is a form of digital currency that has “price stable characteristics” linked to the U.S. dollar, meaning the sale and tax proceeds were settled in a way that’s consistent with cash.
Blockchain Advocacy Coalition, which is backing the technology, is advocating for legislation that would enable local jurisdictions in California to “determine and implement a method by which a licensee under [the state’s legal cannabis program] may remit any city or county cannabis license tax amounts due by payment using stablecoins.”
“By providing a cash-free method of cannabis tax collections, AB 953 can reduce costs and safety risks for cities and businesses,” Bartlett said in a press release. He added that the marijuana industry is “a 21st-century industry” that “deserves 21st-century legislation.”
“Tax collections leveraging stablecoin technology will help bring this new industry into the light.”
In a photo taken at the dispensary, Bartlett is holding up a pamphlet for VetCBD, a low-THC, high-CBD tincture that’s used to treat conditions such as anxiety and pain in pets. It’s not clear what Martinez purchased from the shop.
The bill to provide for alternative payment options at marijuana businesses is timely given that federal prohibition has made banks skittish of servicing such companies and results in many firms operating on a largely cash-only basis—an issue that has captured the attention of federal regulators and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress.
In California, legislation that would allow credit unions to accept cannabis business clients was pulled by its sponsor on Tuesday. Sen. Bob Herzberg (D) said he plans to reintroduce the bill next year.
“We are thrilled to build technology that solves real problems for customers, merchants, and politicians which will help usher in the next 100 million users of crypto,” said Dan Schatt, co-founder of Cred and the Universal Protocol Alliance, which developed the stablecoin technology, said.
“Not only does crypto result in significant cost reduction for consumers and merchants, but it also enables highly productive tax collection, transparency, and predictability for city and state governments,” he said.
Photo courtesy of Twitter/Rigel Robinson.
Seth Rogen Hosting Marijuana-Fueled Charity Carnival For Alzheimer’s Research
Actor Seth Rogen will be the ringmaster at an adults-only charity carnival next month featuring comedians running game booths and marijuana aplenty.
Proceeds from the Hilarity for Charity County Fair will go toward research into combating Alzheimer’s disease, an issue close to Rogen.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) August 26, 2019
“We here at Hilarity for Charity love to fight Alzheimer’s disease, but we also love rides, alcohol and weed!” Rogen, who launched his own cannabis company in March, said in a promotional video for the Los Angeles event. “We also love trying to be good people so that in the event there is an afterlife, we don’t go to hell.”
Comedians Adam Devine, Andrew Rannells, Ben Feldman, Casey Wilson, Ilana Glazer, Ike Barinholtz, Jeff Ross, Josh Gad, Kate Micucci, Nick Kroll, Regina Hall and Riki Lindhome are participating in the event. Skateboarder Tony Hawk is set to do a halfpipe performance. And rapper Anderson Paak will also put on a show.
Details of where cannabis fits into the program aren’t available on the event site. But Gad, one of the comedians participating, noted in a tweet that this is “the only fair I will attend this year other than my children’s book fair which has a lot less readily available weed.”
I will be at this fair. This is the only fair I will attend this year other than my children’s book fair which has a lot less readily available weed. https://t.co/k88ZSMb3O9
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) August 26, 2019
Rogen’s passion for fighting Alzheimer’s isn’t new. He’s become an outspoken activist for research into the disease after he witnessed his mother-in-law develop early onset Alzheimer’s.
In 2014, the actor opened his testimony before a Senate committee hearing on Alzheimer’s research by joking that he wasn’t there to discuss the topic some might expect: marijuana.
“First I should answer the question I assume many of you are asking, yes I’m aware this has nothing to do with the legalization of marijuana,” he said. “In fact, if you can believe it, this concerns something that I find even more important.”
Though he didn’t bring it up at the hearing, research has demonstrated that cannabis can help eliminate a toxic protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Last year, the federal government asked the public to submit additional scientific research into the potential therapeutic benefits of marijuana in the treatment of the condition.
Photo courtesy of Twitter/Seth Rogen.
Disneyland Busted Robert Downey Jr. For Smoking Marijuana, He Reveals While Accepting Disney Award
Robert Downey Jr. said he was once detained at Disneyland after getting caught smoking marijuana on a gondola ride.
The Iron Man and Avengers actor shared the anecdote while being honored at the Disney Legends award show on Friday, describing his first trip to the California park.
“Here’s a bit of trivia for you. The very first time I went to Disneyland, I was transported to another place—within moments of being arrested,” Downey said, drawing laughs. “I was brought to a surprisingly friendly processing center, given a stern warning, and returned to, if memory serves, one very disappointed group chaperone.”
“I’ve been sitting on that shame for a while and I‘m just going to release it here tonight,” he said. “I would like to make amends to whomever had to detain me for smoking pot in a gondola without a license.”
“And I don’t wanna further confuse the issue by insinuating that pot smoking licenses for the gondola are in any way obtainable or for any of the other park attractions,” Downey added.
“Maybe for the Imagineers, but that’s their own business,” he joked, referencing Disney’s research and development team.
It’s not clear when Downey was detained in the so-called “Happiest Place On Earth,” but he’s previously talked about starting to use cannabis at an early age.
The actor isn’t the only high profile figure to get booted from Disneyland over smoking on the gondola ride.
Former President Barack Obama said last year that the same thing happened to him and some friends during college. He said during a speech at a political rally that they were smoking cigarettes on the gondolas, but also seemed to wink, raising questions about exactly what sort of plant material he and his friends were inhaling at the time.
In any case, Downey is right that there are no gondola marijuana smoking licenses available, even in California where cannabis is legal. In fact, Disney specifies on its park rules site that “[s]moking marijuana or any other illegal substances is not permitted at any time.”
There are designated cigarette smoking areas, however, which the former president presumably could have taken advantage of, if he really was simply imbibing tobacco.
Photo courtesy of YouTube/Spokesmayne.