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.
SXSW Wants You To Submit Marijuana Panel Ideas For 2020 Event
South by Southwest (SXSW) is soliciting ideas for marijuana-related panels to be featured at next year’s festival.
The Austin-based conference—which celebrates music, film, art and innovation at annual events—promoted its “Cannabusiness Track” in a tweet on Friday.
The 2020 marijuana track will involve panels that explore the “technological, cultural, financial, legal and political ecosystems that are defining the cannabis-focused enterprises of both today and tomorrow,” according to a description.
The Cannabusiness Track will discuss the technological, cultural, financial, legal, and political ecosystems that are defining the #cannabis enterprises of today and tomorrow.
Are you a part of the cannabis industry? Propose your session idea today!https://t.co/3ytdTAC2mw
— SXSW (@sxsw) July 12, 2019
It “presents insights for professionals experienced in this rapidly-evolving industry, as well as introductions for newcomers who are just starting to enter this space.”
Have a concept for a panel that’d be a good fit for the program? There are only a few days left before Friday’s deadline to submit ideas through SXSW’s online tool. The festival will take place March 16-22, 2020.
Marijuana has become a mainstay at the Texas conference, with this year’s SXSW showcasing more than 20 cannabis events—with panels covering everything from female entrepreneurship in the marijuana industry to the state of cannabis politics in the Lone Star state.
Social justice advocates protested a SXSW keynote speech delivered by former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who declined to act on reform while serving as a congressional leader but has since joined the board of one of the world’s largest cannabis companies.
The activists argued that legalization and restorative justice must go hand-in-hand, and Boehner represented a profit-driven “Big Marijuana” industry that’s antithetical to that goal.
SXSW included an advisory on its new Cannabusiness Track submission page, noting that “cannabis and related laws vary.”
“Programming in this track is designed to inform attendees about this fast-changing industry, and does not promote the use or sale of illegal drugs,” SXSW wrote.
Tom Hanks Denies Fake Quote Promoting CBD Company
Actor Tom Hanks wants you to know that he is not, in fact, feeling like a new person after using a CBD product from a California-based cannabis company.
In a tweet posted on Wednesday morning, Hanks denied a quote attributed to him that described advances in the CBD industry as “remarkable” and stating that he was “feeling like a new me” after using a cannabidiol product from a company called Cali Naturals.
FRAUD! INTERNET FAKE! Just so you know. Hanx. pic.twitter.com/UkZiLaVgDl
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) July 10, 2019
“FRAUD! INTERNET FAKE! Just so you know,” the star of films such as Forrest Gump and Cast Away wrote, sharing a photo of the false quote.
For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, Hanks has been featured in several dubious articles in recent years casting him as a champion of the non-intoxicating cannabis compound.
In another quote with questionable sourcing, Hanks reportedly said in 2017 that he was “fed up of taking various pills” and first tried using CBD to “soothe my anxiety.”
"Immediately alleviated 90% of my pain" – Tom Hanks#CBD #CBDoil #Hemp #hempoil #organic #nongmo #healing #painrelief #anxiety #musclespasm #seizures #nausea #insomnia #PTSD #inflammation #depression #skincaretips pic.twitter.com/KADZl1iHCl
— The CBD Hub (@TheCBDhub) December 4, 2018
While it’s not clear if the Cali Naturals cited in the new misattributed quote is the similarly named California Naturals CBD, a representative of that company told Marijuana Moment in an email that the development is part of a pattern they’ve experienced and that they did not know the origins of the Hanks hoax.
Someone “has been using our company name to falsely gain customers, maybe to scam them,” Erin Janson said. “We have received many emails from unsuspecting people saying that they purchased CBD from us and were charged for orders they did not want, or signed up for a monthly CBD club after they got a free trial.”
“We are just a small family business trying to make it in the CBD world,” Janson said. “We hope this does not tarnish our name or products.”
In any case, Hanks cleared the air with his all-caps Twitter statement. He might have been flying high as an astronaut in the 1995 film Apollo 13, but he’s certainly not the spokesperson for cannabis that some would have you believe.
Several Grateful Dead Members Call On Fans To Support Marijuana Reform
Three founding members of The Grateful Dead and a member of the spinoff group Dead & Company used part of their Independence Day to promote marijuana reform.
Songwriter and guitarist Bob Weir and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, who are now part of Dead & Company, each called on their social media followers to get involved with the Cannabis Voter Project, which “aims to educate Americans about about how voting can impact cannabis policy.” Dead & Company bassist Oteik Burbridge also used his platform to promote the organization.
Fans were encouraged to text “CANNA VOTER” to 40649, which prompts them with questions about federal cannabis reform and automatically generates messages to their congressional representatives. The musicians are also inviting supporters to visit a Cannabis Voter Project booth at one of Dead & Company’s shows in Colorado.
No better way to celebrate #IndependenceDay than telling elected leaders what you believe in. If you happen to consider yourself a "Cannabis Voter," text CANNA VOTER to 40649 or visit @Cannabis_Voter Project on #ParticipationRow at our Colorado shows. pic.twitter.com/EvNypwEglO
— Bob Weir (@BobWeir) July 4, 2019
The @Cannabis_Voter Project from @HeadCountOrg will be at the @deadandcompany Boulder shows. To know what it’s all about, text CANNA VOTER to 40649 and tell your elected officials that you’re a Cannabis Voter. pic.twitter.com/13apsRyHFK
— Mickey Hart (@mickeyhart) July 5, 2019
HeadCount, a non-profit organization that partners with musicians to register voters and operates Cannabis Voter Project, has been working with Dead & Company—and the band’s upcoming Colorado shows will put the focus on marijuana reform.
— Dead & Company (@deadandcompany) July 3, 2019
“No better way to celebrate #IndependenceDay than telling elected leaders what you believe in,” Weir wrote. “If you happen to consider yourself a ‘Cannabis Voter,’ text CANNA VOTER to 40649 or visit [Cannabis Voter Project] on #ParticipationRow at our Colorado shows.”
“I’ve smoked a lot of weed. And I vote,” Kreutzmann said. “If you‘re like me you should visit @HeadCountOrg’s @Cannabis_Voter Project booth on Participation Row in Boulder this weekend!”
I’ve smoked a lot of weed. And I vote. If you‘re like me you should visit @HeadCountOrg’s @Cannabis_Voter Project booth on #ParticipationRow in Boulder this weekend! #wavethatflag #deadandcompany pic.twitter.com/khsmcghbID
— Bill Kreutzmann (@BKreutzmann) July 4, 2019
The partnership makes sense given The Grateful Dead’s close association to the counterculture scene and cannabis across the span of several decades. Hart also owns a marijuana company that sells small joints in shops throughout Northern California.
View this post on Instagram
Any Cannabis Voters out there? Text CANNA VOTER to 40649 or visit @HeadCountOrg's @Cannabis_Voter Project on #ParticipationRow at our Folsom Field shows. #WaveThatFlag @headCountOrg #oteilfromegypt Pic #2 is reposted from @chrisrock I’ve always had mixed feelings about this holiday being part Black and part Native American. #noapologies #taxationwithoutrepresentationishereagain #oteilsegyptiankush @groundswellcolorado #happy4th!
Musicians are increasingly speaking out about cannabis politics. Last month, for example, Killer Mike discussed why rap artists deserve more credit for advancing marijuana legalization. And Rolling Stones’s Mick Jagger gave the governor of Illinois a shoutout at a Chicago concert on the day he signed a cannabis legalization bill.
This piece was updated to note that additional The Grateful Dead and Dead & Company members posted on social media about Cannabis Voter Project.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.