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How Marijuana Enthusiasts Came To Embrace A Reddit Forum Dedicated To Helping People Quit

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A new year can bring new resolutions—and for some, that involves either quitting or cutting back on marijuana.

That’s why each New Year’s Day for the past seven years, an online community meant to support people who want to transition away from cannabis puts out an open invitation on the popular pro-marijuana subreddit r/trees.

And, believe it or not, the members of r/trees welcome the pitch with open arms, voting the posts to the top of their cannabis enthusiast forum.

“We’re not anti-pot at all, we just support people who have decided that it’s not for them anymore,” this year’s post from the moderators of r/leaves reads. “If that’s you then you’re welcome to come by.”

People who join are empowered to take what they need from the group but not necessarily adhere to any structured abstention routine. Users share stories about their own experiences, offer tips on what helped them curb cannabis and cheer each other on. One of the only rules of r/leaves is that comments and posts must be supportive and respectful.

“We have a pretty narrow scope,” r/leaves founder Dave, who asked that only his first name be used, told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview. “We don’t make any claims or have any mission towards providing a cure or a system to have them emerge out the other side not as an addict. You don’t even have to define yourself as an addict or any of that kind of stuff—you just have to decide it’s time to quit.”

Sometimes that decision making time comes around the unofficial marijuana holiday on 4/20, the other time of year that r/leaves promotes its community on the 1.3 million-member r/trees forum.

While cannabis isn’t physically addictive in the way that other drugs like cocaine or heroin are, a subset of consumers can become dependent on it. The problem is that some who find themselves in that boat face stigma—and not just from the usual anti-drug suspects but also from marijuana enthusiasts who don’t accept that cannabis use can become problematic.

But that’s starting to change, Dave said. As more information about cannabis becomes available and more people start talking about their difficulties managing usage, the marijuana community has increasingly embraced the kind of work r/leaves does. The forum features several posts from r/trees users who simply wanted to express their support for the mission, even if they’re not interested in quitting.

“If you look at the r/trees community, the r/trees community has been overwhelmingly supportive of r/leaves,” Dave said. “It’s amazing and heartwarming to me.”

“I think there’s a growing recognition that you don’t have to say there are no dependency problems with cannabis. We can say, ‘yeah, you know what some people get dependent, but that’s OK.’ We can deal with this as a community and do it the right way.”

The best advice Dave said he’s heard on the forum sounds simple at first, but for someone with a dependency problem, it can be the toughest part to accomplish: ask yourself—and be fully honest with yourself—whether you are problematically dependent.

“That I think is the key—to really look at negative consequences, really evaluate whether they are worth cutting back or quitting,” he said. “And if you say, ‘yes,’ then try to cut back and if you can’t, then that’s why we’re there is to help you quit.”

The r/leaves community was formed partly as a response to the rapid evolution of the marijuana legalization movement over the last decade. But Dave said he’s not at all opposed to cannabis reform even if it was part of the inspiration. In fact, he said he’s “unequivocally in favor of recreational legalization at the federal level.”

“Anyone who wants to use the group as any sort of evidence that cannabis shouldn’t be legalized will find no friend in me,” he said. “We are just the opposite. We are showing that we can recognize that some people who try cannabis can become dependent, that we can talk about that openly, and we can take care of those people and make them better even as legalization progresses.”

How Reddit’s r/trees Helped Scientists Make Marijuana Discoveries

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SXSW Wants You To Submit Marijuana Panel Ideas For 2020 Event

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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.

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.

FDA Official To Keynote Major Hemp Industry Conference Next Month

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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Tom Hanks Denies Fake Quote Promoting CBD Company

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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,” 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.”

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

Photo elements courtesy of Dick Thomas Johnson and Kimzy Nanney.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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Several Grateful Dead Members Call On Fans To Support Marijuana Reform

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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.

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.

“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!”

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.

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.

Mick Jagger Gives Illinois Governor A Shout Out For Legalizing Marijuana

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.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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