South Park took another hit at the marijuana dispensary chain MedMen in an episode that aired on Wednesday.
As sales start dropping at the fictional cannabis business “Tegridy Farms,” the owner, Randy Marsh, investigates and finds that former customers are increasingly cultivating their own marijuana.
“When you grow your own pot, you’re taking weed out of my children’s mouths,” he says.
He enlists his son Stan to testify in front of the City Council, raising fictitious concerns about the dangers of allowing home grow.
“What’s happened to our country? People are being wronged by a broken system and we must say no more. No more home grown marijuana,” Stan says. “As the son of a proud American farmer, I am concerned about what home grown can lead to.”
“People can grow weed wrong and poison themselves,” he continues. “Unscrupulous growers could use cheap irrigation and drown babies. The fact is simple, marijuana must be grown with Tegridy.”
When the local government declines to intervene, two people who explicitly identify as MedMen representatives show up at Stan’s farm.
Watch the episode in full here.
“We represent a billion dollar marijuana company. You seem to be fighting the same fight we are,” one representative says. “We just want to help you. Ever heard of MedMen?”
“We have a common problem: home grown weed,” he says, as the trio shares a joint.
“We’re just worried about safety, you know? Babies drowning in irrigation and such,” the other person adds.
Stan agrees that babies drowning is no good and anticipates the deal the company wants to offer.
“So you guys want to put all our money together and we go fuck this town up so nobody can ever grow their own weed again? I’m totally in,” he says.
Though deeply hyperbolic, the episode seems to draw from a real-life criticism of the marijuana company. MedMen was part of a New York-based medical cannabis association that sent a policy statement to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) last year, urging him not to allow a home cultivation option in legalization legislation—a request he ended up following in his proposal to lawmakers.
MedMen told Marijuana Moment at the time that it supports a home grow option but declined to answer specific questions about the company’s involvement in drafting the document.
In the actual policy statement, the association made arguments against home grow that appear to be the basis of the South Park jokes. For example, the groups expressed concerns that marijuana cultivated for personal use could contain noxious pesticides and other contaminates—though there wasn’t any language about babies drowning.
MedMen did not respond to a request for comment on the episode’s portrayal of the company by the time of publication.
In another scene, Tegridy Farms business partner Towelie asks Randy if he made “a deal with another weed company.” Here’s the exchange:
Randy: Yes, Towelie, I’m working on a merger with MedMen
Towelie: MedMen? But those guys are posers.
Randy: We have a deal in the works to put a stop to home growers once and for all.
Towelie: Jesus, I knew a guy once who thought weed should be for everybody—a guy who believed in integrity. I don’t understand who you even are anymore.
The scene ends with Randy asking what’s “wrong with trying to protect our business,” to which Towelie responds “weed isn’t supposed to be some money-grabbing business model” and that it’s “a gift from God and not something to be exploited by some stupid towel.”
This isn’t the first time South Park has appeared to knock MedMen.
In July, the show released a fictional ad for Tegridy Farms that contrasted its business model with that of a major marijuana corporation that resembles MedMen, though the company wasn’t mentioned by name. The ad is in the same style as a real one the MedMen released in partnership with filmmaker Spike Jonze in February.
MedMen is backing a proposed Florida marijuana legalization ballot initiative that makes no provision for home growing, but an Arizona measure it is helping to fund does allow for personal cultivation.
Photo courtesy of Comedy Central.
MLB Plans To Remove Marijuana From Banned Substances List For Minor Leaguers
Major League Baseball (MLB) is making a bold move to address opioids and remove marijuana from its banned substances list for minor league players.
MLB and the MLB players’ union are negotiating the new drug agreement, which has not yet been finalized.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal first tweeted the news.
As part of a new agreement on opioids being negotiated between Major League Baseball and the players’ union, MLB will remove marijuana from the list of banned substances for minor leaguers, sources tell The Athletic. Major leaguers have not been subject to testing for marijuana.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 10, 2019
This new agreement would be for minor leaguers who aren’t on the 40-man roster of players who are eligible to be added to the active roster.
So far in 2019, there have been 13 players suspended for “drugs of abuse,” a blanket term that includes marijuana. The current penalties for a positive test are strict. Players are suspended 25 games for their first positive drug test, 50 games for a second, 100 games for a third and are banned for life for a fourth.
Players on the Major League 40-man roster have not been regularly tested for cannabis since 2002, when the league’s focus shifted to performance-enhancing drugs. Major leaguers are only tested if there is “probable cause.” A positive THC test is 50 nanograms of THC per milliliter of urine, and it results in a $35,000 fine and a treatment plan—but no suspension.
Drugs of abuse on the current banned substances list include natural cannabinoids, THC, synthetic THC and cannabimimetics (e.g., K2 and Spice), cocaine, LSD, opiates (e.g., oxycodone, heroin, codeine, and morphine), MDMA, GHB and PCP.
This is the full list of “drugs of abuse” previously banned under the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program: pic.twitter.com/z34q60wUGg
— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) December 10, 2019
Tony Clark, MLB players’ union chief, is optimistic an agreement could be reached before the year’s end. The deal also includes opioid testing and a recovery plan. Minor league players who test positive for opioids would be “put into a treatment program rather than suspended,” CBS Sports reported.
The Los Angeles Times first reported in October that changes may be coming to MLB at the behest of the players’ union. Testing for opioids and easing marijuana penalties is one way the league is responding to its opioid crisis following the overdose death of 27-year-old Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs earlier this year. Oxycodone, fentanyl and alcohol were found in Skaggs’ system at the time of his death.
While MLB is known for being progressive when it comes to cannabis use, many other major league sports in the U.S. have been slow to reform their stances on marijuana and CBD.
Just this year, the PGA stated that its golfers cannot use CBD, despite the federal legalization of hemp and its derivatives under the 2018 Farm Bill. The NFL reduced its marijuana penalty in 2014, but has made no changes to its cannabis policy since.
Meanwhile, the World Anti Doping Agency cleared CBD use by athletes’ use in 2017.
Photo by Lindsey Bartlett.
Willie Nelson Will ‘Never Stop Enjoying’ Marijuana Despite Quitting Smoking, Son Says
Marijuana enthusiasts around the world have been shocked by the news that Willie Nelson no longer smokes cannabis. Cue the “Has hell frozen over?” jokes.
But the Grammy award-winning musician’s son, Lukas Nelson, has taken to social media to clear the air and provide a little cannabis clarity.
While the Country Music Hall of Famer recently told a local television station that he doesn’t smoke marijuana anymore for health reasons, his son clarified that he does still consume cannabis. Just not by smoking it.
On Tuesday, Lukas Nelson tweeted: “There is a lot of articles going around saying my father is no longer smoking weed. It’s almost 2020, how people ingest cannabis has changed.”
There is a lot of articles going around saying my father is no longer smoking weed. It’s almost 2020, how people ingest cannabis has changed. Between vaping, edibles, gummies, drops, etc. I think it’s safe to say Willie will never stop enjoying Mary Jane!
— Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real (@lukasnelson) December 4, 2019
“Between vaping, edibles, gummies, drops, etc. I think it’s safe to say Willie will never stop enjoying Mary Jane!” he said.
The comment behind the cannabis controversy happened late last month, when the elder Nelson told local San Antonio news station KSAT that breathing “is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful” and that “I’ve abused my lungs quite a bit in the past” so he was putting down the joint.
Nelson has more at stake than just his famed stoner reputation.
His namesake cannabis brand, Willie’s Reserve, has been on shelves in legal cannabis markets since 2015. Today, the company’s products—including marijuana flower, chocolate edibles, fruit chew edibles and a line of vaporizers—are available in six states: California, Colorado, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
The brand was compelled to send a tweet to clarify Nelson’s cannabis consumption on Wednesday, stating, “Willie’s still getting high!!”
No pigs in the sky, Willie’s still getting high!!
AT 86, Willie Nelson demonstrates there’s more than one way to get high. pic.twitter.com/l5JKvNuOs0
— Willie's Reserve (@WilliesReserve) December 4, 2019
Nelson also sells a CBD-centric line of products in all 50 states called Willie’s Remedy, launched in 2019. Those offerings include infused whole bean coffee, tea and tinctures.
His spokeswoman, Elaine Shock, confirmed to The Associated Press that the musician has not, in fact, given up cannabis. She explained the different modes of consumption available today that don’t involve combustion.
“Willie does what he wants, when he wants, when it comes to smoking,” she said.
The musician’s reputation as a cannabis icon has long been an area of interest and frequently comes up in media interviews.
Two years ago, actor Woody Harrelson told Jimmy Kimmel he was afraid to admit to his longtime friend Nelson that he had quit smoking cannabis.
Nelson also told Stephen Colbert on his tour bus in 2018 he would be happy to smoke marijuana with Donald Trump, Melania Trump and Barack Obama.
“He needs one bad,” Nelson said of Trump. “That could be good for him.”
Photo courtesy of CBS.
Postal Service Unveils ‘Drug Free USA Forever’ Stamp Commemorating 1980s Anti-Drug Program
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is rolling out a new stamp design that pays tribute to 1980s-era drug prevention programs and promotes a “drug-free USA.”
The stamps, which will go on sale starting in October 2020, were announced at the conclusion of this year’s Red Ribbon Week last month, an annual occurrence first launched under the Reagan administration.
“This Drug Free USA Forever stamp will help further raise awareness about the dangers of drug abuse, and the toll it is taking on families and communities around our country,” Robert Duncan, chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, said in a press release. “The Postal Service is glad to do its part in marking Red Ribbon Week, and renewing our commitment to helping these efforts to educate youth about the dangers of illegal drugs.”
USPS explained that Red Ribbon Week originated after a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent was tortured and killed in Mexico while investigating drug traffickers in 1985.
“I am very pleased that the U.S. Postal Service will issue a stamp affirming our commitment to a drug-free America,” DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon said. “This stamp will help raise awareness of the fight against drug addiction and honor those who have dedicated their lives to that cause.”
A description of the design states that the stamp “features a white star with lines of red, light blue and blue radiating from one side of each of the star’s five points, suggesting the unity necessary at all levels to effectively address drug abuse.”
USPS isn’t applying anti-drug messaging to the cannabis component CBD anymore, however. In September, the agency clarified that hemp-derived CBD products can be mailed under certain circumstances since the crop and its derivatives were federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill.
For those with mailing needs who aren’t interested in supporting the notion of a “Drug Free USA,” USPS does have another stamp that recognizes the 50-year anniversary of the drug-fueled 1969 counterculture music festival Woodstock.
The stamp “features an image of a dove along with the words ‘3 DAYS OF PEACE AND MUSIC,’ evoking the original promotional poster for the festival,” USPS says.
Another option is a John Lennon Forever stamp, celebrating the iconic Beatles member and marijuana enthusiast who famously got “high with a little help” from his friends.
“Still beloved around the world, Lennon’s music remains an anchor of pop radio and continues to speak for truth and peace,” USPS wrote.
Photo courtesy of Wikicommons.