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.
Presidential Candidate Jokes About Why Denver Decriminalized Psychedelic Mushrooms
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) joked on Thursday that Denver voters approved a measure to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms because they thought the state of Colorado was running low on marijuana.
The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate made the remark during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. The host asked Bennet if it was “true that magic mushrooms are going to be legal in Colorado.”
(The measure actually simply decriminalizes psilocybin mushrooms for adults, and only in the city of Denver.)
Bennet slapped his knee and quipped, “I think that our voters just voted to get Denver to do that, and I think they might’ve thought that we were out of marijuana all of a sudden.”
“And by the way, we’re not out of marijuana in Colorado,” he said.
“That’s what it says on the state flag now, right?” Meyers said.
“Yeah, exactly,” Bennet replied.
The senator, who previously served as the superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, has cosponsored several wide-ranging cannabis bills in Congress, including legislation to federally deschedule marijuana and penalize states that enforce cannabis laws in a discriminatory way.
But before his state voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, Bennet stood opposed.
It’s not clear how he voted on Denver’s historic psilocybin initiative.
At least Bennet is aware of the measure and was willing to joke about it, though. Several of his colleagues who have worked on cannabis issues declined to weigh in on decriminalizing psychedelics when asked by Marijuana Moment recently.
Photo courtesy of YouTube/Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Horses Should Lay Off CBD, Equestrian Sports Regulator Says
Hay is for horses, but CBD isn’t.
That’s according to the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF), which set the rules for most horse-related sports in the country, including dressage, jumping and endurance riding.
In a press release on Tuesday, the organization clarified that just because the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its derivatives such as CBD, that doesn’t mean that horses competing in various equestrian events are allowed to partake.
Horses competing under USEF rules who test positive for CBD will be considered in violation of GR4 beginning September 1, 2019. Read more 👇https://t.co/6M0MHo8Vq4
— US Equestrian (@USequestrian) May 14, 2019
“From time to time, new products appear on the equine supplement market claiming to enhance a horse’s performance,” USEF, which does not regulate thoroughbred horse racing, wrote. “Over the last several years, cannabinoids have gained increased attention and have become nearly mainstream.”
CBD, both synthetic and natural, “are likely to effect the performance of a horse due to its reported anxiolytic effects” and the products are therefore “no different than legitimate therapeutics that effect mentation and behavior in horses.”
“It is for these reasons that USEF prohibits CBD and all related cannabinoids,” USEF explained. “Horses competing under USEF rules who test positive for natural cannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids and other cannabimimetics will be considered in violation of GR4 beginning September 1, 2019.”
It’s unclear whether USEF has already developed technology capable of testing for CBD metabolites, as standard cannabis testing instruments are generally only designed to detect for metabolites of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
However, USEF said that, in fact, “analytical methods are being implemented to detect CBD and similar cannabinoids.”
What about the human athletes involved in the horse sports? USEF referred anyone curious about that policy to the World Anti-Doping Code, which does allow the use of CBD while maintaining a ban on THC.
Professional golfers are also being warned about using CBD products. Last month, the PGA Tour published a newsletter urging caution when using CBD, as some products may contain trace amounts of THC that could turn up in a drug test.
As in equestrian sporting, golfers are also barred from using marijuana.
Jeopardy Contestants Are Getting Tested On Their Marijuana And LSD Knowledge
In another sign of the times, contestants on the wholesome, long-running game show Jeopardy have been challenged to answer questions about drugs like marijuana and LSD on at least three occasions in the past several weeks.
And, shocker: professional sports gambler James Holzhauer, who’s on the second-longest winning streak in the game’s history, got all three questions right.
Host Alex Trebek asked contestants on April 9 to name the “bitter buds” used for flavoring that are part of the cannabaceae family alongside marijuana. The first contestant to hit the buzzer guessed it was hemp. (His answer was initially deemed incorrect but he was later given credit by the show’s judges because the non-psychoactive cannabis cousin is indeed used to flavor some beers.)
Check out this Jeopardy question from last night about the relationship between marijuana and beer. pic.twitter.com/0cKUhYEleR
— Tom Angell 🌳📰 (@tomangell) April 10, 2019
Holzhauer swooped in with the more obvious answer, hops. Researchers recently discovered that millions of years ago, marijuana and hops were genetically much closer—more like sisters than cousins—but they evolved to become more genetically distinct.
On April 22, Trebek said “Bubba Kush” on national television.
— Tom Angell 🌳📰 (@tomangell) April 22, 2019
“On Jan. 1, 2014 in Denver, 1/8 ounce of Bubba Kush was the USA’s first legal sale of this for recreational purchases,” the host said.
Again, Holzhauer was on it and quickly answered “marijuana” for a cool $800.
But Holzhauer’s drug knowledge isn’t limited to cannabis. One of the $2,000 challenges on a recent episode was to identify the first part of the name of a “well-known hallucinogen” that ends “acid diethylamide.” The contestant said “lysergic,” as in LSD.
James Holzhauer correctly answered a Jeopardy question about LSD this week. pic.twitter.com/5mDF4QtF9A
— Tom Angell 🌳📰 (@tomangell) May 3, 2019
While Trebek has a reputation as the family friendly face of one of the country’s longest-running game shows, he and the show’s producers are clearly not shy about incorporating drug questions into the show.
And The A.V. Club recently revealed that while Jeopardy bans contestants from wagering certain naughty sums like $69 and $666, as well as numbers associated with white supremacist groups, it’s totally fine to bet $420.
Trebek, in fact, has some personal experience with marijuana, albeit during an accidental encounter. In the 1970s, Trebek visited a friend in California to have dinner and let his chocolate craving get the best of him. Seeing a plate of brownies, he dove head first and unknowingly consumed half a dozen hash-infused treats in one sitting.
“I love brownies—I’m a chocoholic—and I didn’t realize that they were hash brownies,” he told The Daily Beast in 2017. “And… whoa. That threw me for a loop.”
“The dinner party was on a Friday, and I was not able to leave that house until Sunday afternoon,” Trebek said. “I spent the next day and a half in bed. It was not a good trip, and I have not done any of that stuff since!”
UPDATE: After this story was published, Holzhauer weighed in on Twitter:
If there’s no room for me on the VGK analytics team, maybe I can have a career as a counterculture icon. https://t.co/XkTuH0nBp7
— James Holzhauer (@James_Holzhauer) May 12, 2019
Photo courtesy of Jeopardy!