Sunday, March 24, 2019

"We Are Mary Jane" Exhibit in Barcelona Celebrates Worldwide Women of Weed

Celebrating Women’s Herstory Month, “We Are Mary Jane,” an exhibit presenting 12 female cannabis activists from around the world, opened on March 14 at the breathtakingly beautiful Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in Barcelona.

I was fortunate enough to attend the opening party, and be included in the exhibit among these inspiring women.

Opening the exhibit is “The Hash Queen” Mila Jansen, who as a single mother invented The Pollinator, a machine used to make hash, while observing a clothes dryer’s tumbling action. Mila published an autobiography last year and was present at the opening and the coinciding Spannabis show with a booth where she signed copies of her book.

Another grand dame in the exhibit is Michka Seeliger-Chatelain, a Paris-based activist and author who has become the first woman I know of to have a cannabis strain named after her, available from Sensi Seeds. Michka’s bestselling books on cannabis have been translated into English and Spanish, and I traded a Tokin’ Woman book for her beautifully written (in French) autobiography De La Main Gauche (From the Left Hand).

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Pattie Boyd and Pot

Wonderful Tonight, the 2008 autobiography of rock muse Pattie Boyd, for whom George Harrison wrote "Something" and Eric Clapton wrote "Wonderful Tonight" and "Layla," confirms some rock-and-roll drug stories and reveals others. Boyd married Harrison after meeting him on the set of "A Hard Day's Night" and was a top model who became a photographer.

After George returned from the Beatles' U.S. tour, where he told Pattie that Bob Dylan turned the Fab Four onto pot, he rolled a joint and told his wife to inhale deeply. "It was quite dark in the room, we were listening to music, chatting away, until all of a sudden we were roaring with laughter and realized we were stoned," Boyd wrote. "Everything seemed hilarious."

While The Beatles were doing uppers in Hamburg to play long hours, Boyd was doing diet pills to stay Twiggy-skinny. "Drugs were part of our lives at that time and they were fun. We didn't take anything hard--none of us used heroin...but we took acid regularly." After they were first dosed with LSD, George said, "It was as if I had never tasted, talked, seen, thought, or heard properly before. For the first time in my whole life I wasn't conscious of my ego." But later, Boyd traveled to San Francisco's Haight Asbury district with George, who got turned off to the scene by what he saw. In 1967, one month after the Beatles signed on to an advertisement in the London Times calling for marijuana legalization in protest over the Rolling Stones' pot bust, they traveled to India to study with the Maharishi and vowed to give up all intoxicants.

Boyd stands up for the relative safety of marijuana over hard drugs in the book, but repeats a fiction now popular in England that today's so-called "Skunk" is much stronger and more dangerous than what her crowd smoked. "Dope in the sixties...was about peace, love, and increasing awareness. It was the basis of flower power; it was innocent. Cocaine was different and I think it froze George's emotions and hardened his heart." She recounts her painful relationship with Clapton, whose abuse of alcohol, cocaine and heroin are also documented in his recent book. The couple nearly reconciled after taking Ecstasy together, and Boyd finally found peace during an Ayahuasca journey after Harrison died and Clapton remarried. 

Boyd turns 75 today. Her photographs of Harrison and Clapton, titled Through the Eye of a Muse, have been widely exhibited.

UPDATE 10/22: In her new book, My Life In Pictures, Boyd "reveals unseen private memories from her marriages to The Beatles’ guitarist George Harrison, and then to his best friend, rocker Eric Clapton," according to publisher Telegraph Books.

Friday, March 8, 2019

On International Women's Day: Why So Many Nonwhites Have a Harder Time with Marijuana

Mackenzie Williams (center) leads a veterans' therapy group. 
One Day at a Time, the Netflix series that remakes the 1970's sitcom about a single mom with a Latina cast, just tackled marijuana in its new third season (Episode 5: "Nip It in the Bud").

It did a pretty good job, addressing vaping, edibles, youth use, opiate addiction, and racism in the drug war.

In the episode, Penelope (Justina Machado), a military veteran and nurse who suffers from PTSD and anxiety, catches her 15-year-old son Alex vaping marijuana at a "Bud E. Fest." She takes the problem to her therapy group lead by Pam, played by Mackenzie Williams, who starred in the original series and famously had an addiction problem after her father turned her onto drugs while she was still a teen.

When Penelope brings up the subject, some of the women in the group reveal they smoke pot. A vet in a wheelchair notes that cannabis helps her with pain (and more), and that "a lot of veterans were prescribed opiates and couldn't get off of them." Penelope says it happened to her ex-husband (which might explain why he's her ex). A great new film, From Shock to Awe, follows veteran couples who journey with cannabis and ayahuasca to find healing.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Celebrating Women's Herstory Month

March was declared Women's History Month in 1987 by the United States Congress, after being petitioned by the National Women's History Alliance. The these for 2019 was "Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence."  The for theme 2020 is “Valiant Women of the Vote.”

We've got some Visionary Tokin' Women to celebrate!

Let's start with actress/poet Dora Shaw, who was apparently inspired by FitzHugh Ludlow’s writings to try hashish on July 4, 1859 with novelist Marie Stevens Case, who recorded the event in The New York Saturday Press (7/16/59). After a fascinating experience where Case reports, "I was fast becoming a sphinx—my head expanded to the size of the room, and I thought I was an oracle doomed to respond through all Eternity...'Do you not see,' I cried, 'that I am stone....and if you make me laugh, I shall be scattered to the four winds.'" After seemingly having a vision of the Egyptian Goddess Seshat, the women watched a fireworks display. "The effect of the hascheesh was still upon us a little and the rockets seemed the most astonishing and gorgeous things in the universe." So the first recorded use of American women taking cannabis happened with a fireworks show.

In 1869, writer Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, published "Perilous Play," a short story in which a group of young socialites enjoys hashish bon-bons. It ends with the declaration, "Heaven bless hashish if its dreams end like this!" A Modern Mephistopheles, the novel Alcott published anonymously in 1877, contains a much fuller description of hashish's effects on a heroine named Gladys. "I feel as if I could do anything to-night," Gladys announces, and she came to them "with a swift step, an eager air, as if longing to find some outlet for the strange energy which seemed to thrill every nerve and set her heart beating audibly."