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Meet the Man Behind The Viral Marijuana Drone Videos

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Marijuana Moment brings readers comprehensive, up-to-date reporting on important developments in cannabis politics, from Capitol Hill to state legislative chambers. But sometimes, we like to have a little fun, too.

That’s why, when a viral video of a man toking a bong precariously balanced on a drone he was operating came across our feed, we decided to reach out.

Meet Eric Mercer.

He’s a 23-year-old working in Maine’s cannabis industry who’s grown a sizable following of marijuana aficionados on platforms like YouTube and Instagram. When he’s not honing his cannabis craft, he enjoys things like playing guitar and hiking.

For Mercer, his internet presence really started off with comparably smaller (and sometimes questionable) stunts: dabbing and ripping a bubbler simultaneously, dousing concentrates in hot sauce and inhaling the very bad combination (it was “stupid little thing I did a while back… a little on the spicy side, but to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as you’d think,” he told Marijuana Moment), and creating and smoking out of a “potato rig” or head of cabbage.

But then, around March 2017, he stepped up his game, integrating drone technology into his smoking routine.

The inspiration “was just a passion for drones, a passion for being creative, and wanting to come up with cool, new things to show people on Instagram,” he said.

It started with the modest joint drone. A joint was affixed to the small device and guided toward his mouth. After a bit of a struggle, Mercer took the airborne hit.

He’s posted several other videos showing off his joint drone skills.

Has it gotten easier over time? “Yes and no,” Mercer said. “Inside, no problem. I feel like I’ve mastered that. I can fly circles around the room and let other people get a chance to hit it, but outdoors is still the challenge.”

Then, there was the drone-based concentrate delivery system.

Which didn’t always pan out as planned.

“Knock on wood, thankfully, I haven’t injured myself really in it yet,” he said. “I’ve bumped into myself with my tiny drone that I do the joint with, but yeah, I’ve been very fortunate.”

Most recently, Mercer’s cannabis content has taken off as he’s perfected the art of smoking bongs and taking dabs placed on larger drones, piloting them with one hand and sparking up with the other. One video of Mercer accomplishing this feat is now the top post on the popular Reddit cannabis forum, r/trees.

Mercer announced on Tuesday that he’s launching a new Instagram page dedicated to the craft, hoping to reach a larger audience. You can follow him on Instagram or Youtube—if that’s your kind of thing.

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

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Kyle Jaeger is an LA-based contributor to Marijuana Moment. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE, and attn.

Culture

Marijuana References In Popular Music Are On the Rise, Study Finds

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The number of hit songs that feature lyrics referencing marijuana has increased dramatically over the last 30 years, according to a new study. And researchers believe that growing public acceptance of cannabis is fueling a trend that has resulted in more than three out of four top 40 songs in the U.S. now containing shout-outs to weed.

The study, published last week in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, sought to identify a link between popular music and drug trends in the U.S., with a main focus on opioids. Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Wayne State University examined the lyrics of Billboard’s top 40 songs for each year from 1986 to 2016, filtering for songs that reference marijuana, alcohol, opioids and tobacco.

During the time period under review, references for all categories except tobacco increased.

The first mentions of cannabis appeared in 1989, for example, with fewer than five references in that year’s top 40 chart, as ranked by Billboard. But by 2016, there were more than 30 marijuana references, more than for any other substance tracked in study.

Via the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Public acceptance of marijuana use for medical or recreational purposes also grew demonstrably over that time span, which may have “influenced the acceptability of mentioning marijuana in Top 40’s music,” the researchers wrote.

“If this demonstrated ‘acceptability’ trend is mirrored through a similar rise in the mention of opioid narcotics in Top 40’s music, America’s epidemic of overdose fatality may continue to escalate.”

References to opioids, including heroin and prescription painkillers, weren’t featured until the late 1990s, according to the analysis. That same decade marked the beginning of a larger push on the part of pharmaceutical companies to promote opioid-based painkillers.

“Over 50 percent of current Top 40’s hit references discuss narcotic prescription or synthetic medication use, with the most common references including codeine, Percocet, and even remifentanil, among others,” the study found.

Those results should be instructive to public health officials, the researchers argued. Because “if reference to opioid medications continues to become ‘casual or trendy,’ as exemplified in the prose of many popularly aired lyrics, a more targeted public awareness campaign may be warranted to combat this growing national public health concern.”

While a larger share of today’s popular song lyrics contain drug and alcohol references overall, one notable exception is tobacco. As rates of tobacco use and public acceptance of tobacco has fallen, so too has the prevalence of tobacco references in top 40 songs. In fact, there were no references to tobacco in top 40 songs in 2016.

“Although marijuana use has become increasing acceptable among American consumers, tobacco has become increasingly unpopular and stigmatized.”

“Further inquiry may be warranted to evaluate the societal impact and persuasive abilities of popular culture, including Top 40’s music, on American drug and alcohol use,” the researchers concluded. 

South By Southwest Fans Choose From Dozens Of Marijuana-Themed Panels For 2019

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Warns People Not To Smoke Marijuana In Space

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It’s probably not wise to blaze up in space, renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said on Wednesday.

TMZ approached Tyson to get his take on Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who smoked cannabis on camera during an interview with podcaster Joe Rogan last week. Some people have criticized the executive for allegedly violating company drug policy, and the U.S. Air Force has suggested that it could launch an investigation, as Musk’s other company, SpaceX, holds federal military contracts and his marijuana use may violate those agreements.

“I think—can they leave him alone?” Tyson said. “Let the man get high if he wants to get high.”

“You know, he’s got to obey the [Securities and Exchange Commission], clearly. But if he doesn’t want to obey the SEC, then he’s got to have a private company, then he can do what he wants. But he took his company public, so there’s an accountability there to the public trust of what goes on on the stock market. But other than that, he’s the only game in town… Count me as team Elon.”

“He’s the best thing we’ve had since Thomas Edison,” Tyson said of the modern innovator.

But when the TMZ reporter asked what it would be like to “smoke weed in space,” Tyson urged caution.

“Well, the problem is, in space now, many things will kill you,” he said. “So if you do anything to alter your understanding of what is reality, that’s not in the interest of your health.”

“So if you want to get high in space, like lock yourself in your cabin and don’t come out because you could break stuff inadvertently. OK? That’s how that goes.” 

The popular scientific figure endorsed marijuana legalization last year, arguing that “relative to other things that are legal, there’s no reason for [cannabis] to ever have been made illegal in the system of laws.”

Tyson has also said that he doesn’t partake in recreational use, preferring to stay sober-minded—at least for work purposes. Even so, he does tend to share some pretty stoney space facts on social media on a regular basis.

unimpressed neil degrasse tyson GIF

Neil deGrasse Tyson Backs Legalizing Marijuana

Photo courtesy of YouTube/TMZ

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Google Execs Told Marijuana Jokes To Lighten The Mood After Trump’s Election, Leaked Video Shows

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Shortly after the 2016 presidential election, Google executives spoke at an all-hands meeting about the political ramifications of Donald Trump’s victory and fielded questions from employees about the path moving forward.

And to lighten the mood, they also cracked a few jokes about marijuana, which had just been fully legalized in California, the home of Google’s headquarters.

“Let’s face it, most people here are pretty upset and pretty sad because of the election,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin said at the beginning of the meeting. “But there’s another group—a small group—that we should also think about who are very excited about the legalization of pot.” 

Employees are heard applauding and laughing in the video, which was leaked to Breitbart by an anonymous source. (The video cannot currently be embedded, but it appears at the top of the page linked above).

“I was asking if we could serve joints outside on the patio, but apparently these things take a little while to take effect,” Brin continued. “It was a huge, huge disappointment.”

“I’ve been bemoaning that all week, I’ll be honest with you.” 

Of course, the meeting took on a more serious tone as executives discussed the policy implications of the incoming Trump administration and the role of Google in the modern political landscape. But the meeting didn’t wrap without one final nod to the passage of Proposition 64 in California.

Asked to weigh in on speculation that economist Jefferey Eisenach would be named as the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Google’s chief legal officer Kent Walker brushed it off with his own marijuana joke. 

“Anybody who thinks they know of the likely members of the Trump administration is taking premature advantage of Sergey’s favorite California proposition,” Walker said. “Nobody knows.”

Just as a matter of housekeeping, California’s adult-use marijuana law went into effect immediately after the proposition’s passage. So technically speaking, anyone 21 or older who would have consumed cannabis after the election wouldn’t be taking “premature advantage” of the law.

Perhaps to that end, Brin closed the post-election event by telling Googlers that “there’s food and drink on the patio,” but warned them to “be careful of the cookies.”

New Book: Obama Considered Decriminalizing Marijuana, But Then Trump Won

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