Thursday, December 2, 2021

2021 Tokey Awards

Tokin' Woman of the Year: Sha'Carri Richardson 

The world showed unprecedented support for a pot smoker (especially among women) when, after winning the 100m Olympic Trials on June 19 on Eugene, Oregon with a time of 10.86 seconds, sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson was disqualified after testing positive for marijuana. 

Congresswomen Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Barbara Lee were among the Congressmembers asking WADA and USADA to reconsider their decision. AOC tweeted, "Not to mention, marijuana is legal in Oregon where Ms. Richardson was when she used it," and, "Major league baseball, hockey and football all have removed penalties for marijuana use. It's time for the IOC and @usantidoping to do the same. #LetShaCarriRun." Following public outcry, the World Anti-Doping Agency announced it would review their marijuana ban for athletes. 

In an interview on NBC, Richardson said she was "blinded by emotions" after she found out that her biological mother had died when a reporter asked her about it days before her trial, and turned to marijuana to cope from the "triggering" and "nerve-shocking" news. "Who are you or who am I to tell you how to cope when you're dealing with a pain you never experienced before?" she asked. 

At the Olympics in Tokyo, three Jamaican women swept the 100m medals, and US gymnastics star Simone Biles removed herself from competition due to stress saying, "I have to focus on my mental health." Meanwhile, a study from cannabis tech company dutchie found cannabis consumers in the US and Canada are predominantly female, "especially as conversations about women’s health expand to include using cannabis for relief from things like menstrual pain and to help with sleep or stress."

Richardson says she'll be blessed if her suspension for THC ultimately helps other athletes. Let's hope she'll also help all who are discriminated against on their jobs for using cannabis. 

Top (and Terrible) Tweets of 2021

Our Top Tweets were so popular last year I've decided to give them a post of their own for 2021.

Which one is your favorite? Tell me in the comments. 
  

Top Tweets

https://twitter.com/tommychong/status/1417169361861693440?s=20https://twitter.com/tommychong/status/1417169361861693440?s=20

https://twitter.com/tommychong/status/1417169361861693440?s=20ps://twitter.com/tommychong/status/1417169361861693440?s=2

Tokin' Women And Others We Lost in 2021


Tanya Roberts (1/4)
One of Charlie's Angels and a Bond Girl (opposite Roger Moore and Grace Jones), Roberts dove into a pan of pot brownies in her comedic role as Donna's mom in That 70s Show. As Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (pictured), she tamed lions, like the ancient goddesses



Hal Holbrook (1/23)
Holbrook, who was wonderful in films likeAll The President's Men and Lillian Hellman's Julia, is best remembered for his Tony-award-winning portrayal of Very Important Pothead Mark Twain onstage in a one-man show he developed as a college student, Mark Twain Tonight!

 

Cloris Leachman (1/26)

The uniquely talented actress was known for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Malcolm in the Middle and Young Frankenstein. Leachman has a blast smoking cannabis with her granddaughter (Mickey Sumner) in the 2015 film This Is Happening, a role she played at the age of 89. And she assures another granddaughter (Shannyn Sossamon) that's she's familiar with weed in 2020's High Holiday.

Cicely Tyson (1/28)

Tyson shone in Roots (1977),  played Harriet Tubman in A Woman Called Moses (1978), and was wonderful in The Help (2011, pictured). Her death came just after it was announced that the Biden/Harris administration would be fast-tracking the Tubman $20. I guess at the age of 96 her work was done.

Anne Feeney (2/3)

Songwriter and activist Feeney's song "Have You Been to Jail for Justice?" was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary and she performed with Pete Seeger, Loretta Lynn, John Prine, and the Indigo Girls. She served on the executive board of the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Organization for Women and co-founded Pittsburgh Action Against Rape. She died of COVID-related pneumonia at age 69. 

Christopher Plummer (2/5) 
A Shakespearean actor best known for his role as Captain von Trapp in "The Sound of Music," Plummer had a long and illustrious career, including playing VIP Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King and a pot dealer in the  2018 film Boundaries where he shared a Pax with Peter Fonda

 

 
Mary Wilson (2/8)

Wilson's 1986 memoir, Dreamgirl: My Life As a Supreme describes meeting the Beatles in New York in 1965 and, "The first thing I noticed was that the room reeked of marijuana smoke." The Supremes had an  R&B #1 hit in 1970 with “Stoned Love,” featuring lead singer Jean Terrell (Mary's in the middle in this video).

Monday, November 29, 2021

Film Review: "Mama Weed"

Mama Weed, now on Amazon Prime and YouTube, stars the accomplished French actress Isabelle Hupppert and is based on the book The Godmother: A Crime Novel by Hannelore Cayre, which won the 2019 Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, France’s most prestigious award for crime fiction. 

Huppert plays Patience Portefeux, a middle-aged Arabic language PhD working as a police interpreter on drug cases, while worrying about paying for her mother's care facility and her own retirement. Her boss, with whom she's having an affair, offers to take care of her but, true to her deceased husband's memory and not really into following the law, she takes a different path. 

Patience's father, it is revealed, was a penniless Algerian immigrant who skirted the law out of necessity, and she has sympathy for the people she spies on through police wiretaps, "all to send kids to jail to get radicalized for three grams of hash." Or, as Cayre writes, "The interpreter was simply a tool to accelerate the act of repression." Patience sometimes colored her translations or "invented things" to help needy defendants, or did the opposite when they tried to implicate their poorly-treated wives or girlfriends. 
 
"From the first day of my professional life, I had understood that there was no logical point to my work," Patience says in The Godmother.  "Fourteen million cannabis users in France and 800,000 growers living off that crop in Morocco. The two countries are friendly, yet those kids whose haggling I listened to all day long were serving heavy prison sentences for having sold their hash to the kids of cops who were prosecuting them and and of the judges who were sentencing them, not to mention all the lawyers who were defending them...

"I can only think though—even if my cop boyfriend insists I'm wrong—that this excess of resources, this furious determination to drain the sea of hash inundating France, teaspoon by teaspoon, is above all else a tool for monitoring the population insofar as it allows identity checks to be carried out on Arabs and Blacks ten times a day." 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Did the Black Dahlia Murder Have a Marijuana Connection?

The gruesome 1947 murder and mutilation of 22-year-old aspiring Hollywood actress Elizabeth Short, who became known as the "Black Dahlia," remains unsolved until this day. 

A 2017 book, Black Dalia, Red Rose by British author Piu Eatwell makes the case for an LAPD coverup involving the smearing of their own chief police psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Paul De River because he prescribed marijuana to his wife for severe pain. 

Eatwell, who was able to get the FBI file in the case (but not the LAPD records, which are still under seal), presents evidence for bellhop and one-time mortician's assistant Leslie Dillon as Short's killer, acting at the behest of nightclub owner Mark Hansen because Short refused to date him exclusively, or work as a prostitute. Eatwell theorizes that the LAPD knowingly let Dillon off the hook because Sergeant Finis Brown, one of the case's two lead investigators, was in cahoots with Hansen during the days when LAPD's infamous "Gangster Squad" had ties to mob figures.  

In 1949, police came close to arresting Dillon after he sent a quasi confession under a pseudonym to Dr. De River, an expert on sexual crimes who wrote a book titled The Sexual Criminal: A Psychoanalytical Study. De River interrogated Dillon, getting him to implicate himself.  In testimony before a grant jury, the doctor was critical of LAPD and its investigation into the Black Dahlia case, making him an enemy of corrupt members of the police force. 

On March 2, 1950, just after Dr. De River spoke at a luncheon meeting for the Parkview Women's Club on the subject of "Juvenile Delinquency and the Home's Influence in Its Prevention," he was asked to stop by the city attorney's office where he was interrogated by officers of the State Division of Narcotic Enforcement about a series of prescriptions he had written between December 1949 and January 1950. The doctor explained to agents that he had written them as painkillers for his wife Gladys, who had been in severe pain after a botched spinal surgery to treat her ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease, for which, it turns out, cannabis may be helpful). 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

What Were Hoffmann and Schiller Smoking?

German author E.T.A. Hoffmann, whose stories became the “Tales of Hoffmann” in the Offenbach opera and The Nutcracker in the Tchaikovsky ballet, published a story titled “The Golden Flower Pot” in 1814. In it, a student named Anselmus sits under an elder tree where he “filled a pipe with the health-tobacco which his friend Sub-Rector Paulmann had given him.” The word used in the original is Sanitatsknaster, meaning health-tobacco box. 

According to a 2018 article, "Der Knaster-Mythos," by Von Jörg Auf dem Hövel (in Google translation): "Hans-Georg Behr reported that while traveling with hippie friends in a pub in Thalhausen around 1970, Bavarian farmers told him that in their youth, when hemp cultivation was still common, they smoked hemp 'herb' as a tobacco substitute, just like her grandparents would once have done. An exiled Thuringian said that in his homeland they used to call the stuff Knaster." 

“Anselmus’s self-communings were interrupted by a strange rushing, swishing sound which started in the grass just beside him,” Hoffmann writes. He soon sees three little green and gold snakes who whisper to him. “An electric shock went through his entire body…everything around him began to stir, as if waking into joyful life.” That's some pretty healthy "tobacco." 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Why Don't Women Smoke Pot With Each Other in Movies and on TV?

I just saw the terrific documentary This Changes Everything about the exclusion of women in the film industry, particularly as directors.  One segment was about "The Bechdel Test" for a film, something that came from a comic book in the 1980s.

To pass the Bechdel Test: 

• It must have at least two female characters 
• They must both have names 
• They must talk to each other about something other than a man. 

My version of the test for films with Tokin' Women would be:  

• It must have at least two female characters 
• They must smoke marijuana with each other 
• They must talk about something meaningful while stoned 

I just went through my fairly comprehensive list of Tokin' Women in Movies and TV and found that only in rare cases do women smoke pot together in film or on TV.  
 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Remembering Linda McCartney on her 80th Birthday

Today would have been Tokin' Woman Linda McCartney's 80th birthday.

The classy lady who in 1969 married perhaps the world's most eligible bachelor (Paul McCartney) was a well-known rock photographer when they met. Linda Eastman photographed the Rolling Stones during their visit to New York and also captured images of Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, the Doors, the Grateful Dead, and the Mamas and the Papas. Her work appeared in Rolling Stone, Life, and other leading magazines. 

She later reminisced about smoking pot in Central Park on her way to her photography studio. "Lovely times," she said. Perhaps taking the rap for Paul, Linda was arrested in Los Angeles in 1975 for marijuana possession, but the charges were dropped. Reportedly she and Paul never spent a night away from each other after their marriage, except for his ten-day stint in a Tokyo jail for possession of marijuana in 1980. 

In 1984, the McCartneys were arrested in Barbados for possession of marijuana and were fined $100 each. They flew to London's Heathrow Airport, where Linda was arrested again on charges of possession. Rather than repudiate her marijuana use as so many did at the time, Linda commented, "I think hard drugs are disgusting. But I must say, I think marijuana is pretty lightweight."
 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Happy Hempenly 80th Birthday to "Mama" Cass Elliot


"Mama" Cass Elliot would, and should, have turned 80 today. 

Cass was by all accounts an exceptionally intelligent, talented and giving individual. She always loved singing and performing, and started her career in summer stock productions while still a teen. Witty and captivating, with perfect pitch and impeccable timing, Cass was eventually paid court to by David Crosby, Graham Nash, the Beatles, Dave Mason, Graham Parsons, Donovan, Eric Clapton, and many others. She introduced Crosby to Nash and Nash to LSD. Contemporary artists from Boy George, kd lang, and Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers cite Cass as an influence.

As overweight teenager, Ellen Cohen's family physician prescribed her increasing doses of Dexadrine, and she was also sent to a psychologist. Finding it impossible to sit still in her classes, Ellen dropped out of high school and went to night school to earn her final credits for graduation. It was then that she discovered Baltimore's downtown, with its beatnik society. She began to explore poetry readings, bookshops, and cafes of the neighborhood, smoking hash and grass at her friends' apartments afterwards.

 She soon changed her name and headed to New York, landing a job as a hat check girl at The Showplace in the West Village, where she sang around the piano at informal after hours shows. After her father died she went back to the DC area, and briefly enrolled at American University where she hosted a nightly jazz program, impressing all with her knowledge of musical history. 

 

Folk music soon hit, and Cass shifted to that genre, forming the folk trio The Big 3 with Tim Rose and Jim Hendricks. While performing at New York City's The Bitter End on Bleeker Street, Cass, whose comic patter was as popular as her singing, once improvised a tale about Irving Banjo, the inventor of the banjo, who was an unemployed marijuana picker. While recording The Big 3's first, self-titled album, the band's manager Roy Silver, Cass and bassist Bob Bowers met in the control booth. "This really isn't happening" Silver said, and Bowers agreed. "Well, here, maybe this'll help," said Silver, bringing out a piece of hash. Cass "proceeded to magically create a pipe—complete with bowl and stem, out of the foil lining from a pack of cigarettes."

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Survey: Young Women Surpass Men in Lifetime Marijuana Use

Articles on the annual Monitoring the Future survey of drug and alcohol use in young adults in 2020 picked up on the findings that college students reported using more cannabis and psychedelics, and less alcohol, than in previous years. 

Forty-four percent of college-age adults surveyed reported using cannabis in 2020, up from 38 percent in 2015. Eight percent of respondents reported using marijuana “on a daily or near daily basis in 2020,” up from five percent in 2015. And while the use of other illicit drugs is declining among young adults,  annual prevalence of use of any hallucinogens, of LSD in particular, showed significant one-year increases in 2020 for college students (to 8.6% and 7.3%).

"Across the board, men tended to report more substance use than women," researchers and articles have tended to report. However, the findings show that while women were somewhat less likely to use marijuana or any illicit drug annually, monthly, or daily in 2020, their reported lifetime use of marijuana or any illicit drug was greater than men's.

Among the full young adult sample ages 19 to 30 in 2020, 64.2% of women reported lifetime marijuana use, versus 63.4% of men. (Table 4-2). This is the first time women have surpassed men in the report, but the gap has been narrowing: in 2019, 65% of men and 63% of women reported lifetime marijuana use; in 2018 it was 62% to 61%, and in 2017 it was 63% to 59%.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Give Us More Michael Moore



I just watched Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" which he has made available for free on his Facebook and Substack pages leading up to the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks today. 

Drawing connections between the Bush family and the Saudis, including the possible funding of Shrub's oil company by the Osama bin Laden family, the film ponders why when all US flights were grounded after the attacks, bin Laden family members were flown out of the country. Footage of Iraqis killed or maimed by US bombs, servicemen who refused to be sent back to Iraq, and a mother who lost her son in the war are juxtaposed against Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld justifying the war and a conference where Cheney's company Halliburton and others lined up to reap huge profits from the war. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Bezos, Musk and Branson Get High in More Ways Than One


Brothers in Space, and Green


Bezos with McCormick in 2005
Ian Rassman of LA NORML has informed me that activist/
author/filmmaker/
breeder Todd McCormick revealed on his Instagram account that Jeff Bezos indicated he was a pot smoker when the two met in 2005 at an Amazon 10th Anniversary event featuring Norah Jones and Bill Maher

This would mean that the three billionaires who shot themselves or others into space of late—Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson—are all potheads. So much for marijuana smokers not achieving their highest goals. 

Amazon announced in June that it would cease drug-testing its employees for marijuana and would work towards pot legalization in a message to US Amazon employees from CEO Dave Clark that began, "In April, Jeff shared our vision to become Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work." Bezos famously thanked Amazon's poorly paid employees after his costly space shot, something that rankled employees who have been thwarted from unionizing.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Did Frida Kahlo Use Marijuana?

Itzcuintli Dog with Me (detail)
I have been for years trying to track down any reference to Frida Kahlo using marijuana. The closest I have is a reference (via Errol Flynn) that Kahlo's husband Diego Rivera used it, and shared it with others.

Judy Chicago in her book Frida Kahlo: Face to Face says that the cigarette Kahlo holds in a holder in her 1938 painting Itzcuintli Dog with Me is a marijuana one.  Xoloitzcuintli dogs, named for the Aztec god of lightning and death Xolotl, were owned by Frida and Diego; one shows up in her epic painting The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Me, Diego, and Mr. Xolotl (1949). According to Aztec belief, the Dog of Xolotl guards the living and guides the souls of the dead through the dangers of the Underworld. 

Elsewhere it’s assumed it’s a tobacco cigarette Kahlo holds in her paintings (e.g. Portrait on the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States, 1932; Me and My Parrots, 1941). She was often photographed holding a cigarette, even in her wedding portrait. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Dr. Susan Blackmore: 70 Years Conscious


Today is the 70th birthday of psychologist and meme queen Dr. Susan Blackmore, author of the bestselling book The Meme Machine, who has over 900,000 views on her TedTalk on "Memes and Temes."

Blackmore appeared at the 2005 Cheltenham Science Festival to discuss whether drugs can teach us anything about ourselves. A version of her talk was published in the Daily Telegraph on May 21 of that year. In it, she says,

"Some people may smoke dope just to relax or have fun, but for me the reason goes deeper. In fact, I can honestly say that without cannabis, most of my scientific research would never have been done and most of my books on psychology and evolution would not have been written. . . . 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Judy Chicago's "The Flowering"


Feminist artist Judy Chicago has been in the news lately, having published the latest installment of her autobiography, The Flowering at the age of 82. 

Chicago's 1979 work The Dinner Party turned the male-dominated art world upside down, setting the table for 39 prominent and mythical women with vulva-inspired ceramic plates and elaborately embroidered place settings. “Women had embedded in houses for centuries and had quilted, sewed, baked, cooked, decorated and nested their creative energies away,” Chicago wrote in her 2006 book Through the Flower. “What would happen, we wondered, if women took those same homemaking activities and carried them to fantasy proportions?” 

Chicago "reclaimed the feminine in the midst of our male-dominated art world" and "paved the way for subsequent generations of female artists," wrote Lucy Koto Olive in The Brooklyn Rail, adding, "The Dinner Party brought psychedelia and feminist ideas together in a bizarre, monumental manner. The many detailed settings, the symbolic triangular shape of the table, and the use of the vagina aim to grasp and elevate the universal feminine experience. In its totality and repeated attention to patterns and shapes, the psychedelic is strongly present in this work," Olive wrote. 

When The Dinner Party opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, "no one had ever seen anything like it," wrote Sasha Weiss in the New York Times.  "It was theatrical, audacious and definitively feminist: a work of stark symbolism and detailed scholarship, of elaborate ceramics and needlework that also nodded to the traditional amateurism of those forms, a communal project that was the realization of one woman’s uncompromisingly grand vision, inviting both awe and identification. It caused an immediate sensation."

Weiss interviewed Chicago for her 2018 article, describing here like this: "Her lipstick was purple, her curly hair dyed a reddish-pink, with tinted glasses to match, giving her a dreamy, psychedelic look."  

Rita Marley at 75


Tokin' Woman Rita Marley turns 75 today. A tribute concert happening at 2 PM PDT will feature her fellow I Threes members Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt.

Born to a musical family in Jamaica, Alpharita “Rita” Anderson began singing at weddings at an early age, and later sang lead in her girl group The Soulettes, known as “The Supremes of the Caribbean.” At the age of 19, she married Bob Marley and had four children with him, as well as helping to raise several of the children he had with other women. Along with Griffiths and Mowatt, Rita formed the I Threes and sang backup for Bob on the tours that brought reggae music to the world. 

When Rita first began to embrace Rastafarianism and ganja smoking, neither were well accepted in Jamaica. “My Aunty began to worry, my God, is Rita smoking that stuff, that terrible stuff that would make you go crazy and put you in prison,” Rita wrote in her autobiography No Woman No Cry. “I had started smoking a little herb….I liked smoking for the way it made me feel—cooled out and meditative….” 

After meeting with Rasta elders, she writes, “The whole thing seemed intelligent to me; it wasn’t just about smoking herb, it was more a philosophy that carried a history with it. That’s what really pulled my interest, the powerful history that hadn’t been taught to me in school.” 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Amy Schumer Joins NAPW's Brief In Support of Arizona Mother's Use of Medical Marijuana to Treat HG

UPDATE 4/2022: Appeals court sides with mother of baby in marijuana case 

National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) has asked the Arizona Court of Appeals to accept their amicus brief on behalf of 45 leading health organizations, doctors, ethicists, scientific and medical experts, and advocates—including comedienne Amy Schumer—in support of Lindsay R., a mother found guilty of civil child neglect because she used medical marijuana while pregnant and suffering from acute hyperemesis gravidarum.

Hyperemis gravidarum (HG), a debilitating ailment characterized by severe nausea and vomiting, malnutrition, and weight loss during pregnancy, afflicts 1–2% of pregnant women globally and is the most common cause of hospitalization in the US during the first half of pregnancy, second only to preterm labor for pregnancy overall. As well as Schumer—who documented regarding her own HG journey in the HBO Max series, Expecting Amycelebrities who experienced HG during pregnancy include Kelly Clarkson and Princess Kate

Friday, July 2, 2021

Track Star Sha'Carri Richardson Banned from Olympic Race Over Marijuana Test


Send a message to WADA and USADA to tell them to revise their policies to be in compliance with the shifting legal and cultural standing of cannabis. 
 
This story has been updated. 

American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson apologized to her agent, her family, her sponsors and her fans on The Today Show after the US Anti-Doping Agency announced she had tested positive for marijuana. Richardson will be suspended from competing for 30 days and will miss the 100 meter race at the upcoming Olympics. She will also miss the 4X100 meter relay taking place following her suspension after US Track and Field did not name Richardson to the US team, even while saying marijuana punishments "should be reevaluated."

Richardson rose to fame in 2019 as a Louisiana State University freshman when she broke the 100m record at the NCAA championships with a speed of 10.75 seconds. She won the 100m Olympic Trials on June 19 on Eugene, Oregon with a time of 10.86 seconds and ran to the stands to hug the grandmother who raised her just afterwards. That performance has now been disqualified, and she will be replaced by the fourth-place finisher. 

In an interview on NBC, Richardson said she was "blinded by emotions" after she found out that her biological mother had died when a reporter asked her about it days before her trial, and turned to marijuana to cope from the "triggering" and "nerve-shocking" news. "Who are you or who am I to tell you how to cope when you're dealing with a pain you never experienced before?" a contrite Richardson said. 

Former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted an interview with Richardson where she mentions her mother's death after winning her race, applauding her "grace and grit" and adding, "Can't wait to see what you do in Tokyo!" Obama admitted in her memoir that she smoked pot in her youth. She's been silent since Richardson's suspension, and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who made excuses for the Biden administration firing employees over past marijuana use earlier this year, said when asked about Richardson on Friday, July 2, “this was an independent decision made by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and not a decision that would be made by the U.S. government," adding, "that Richardson “is an inspiring young woman who has gone through a lot personally—and she also happens to be one of the fastest women in the world.” After Richardson wasn't named to the US Olympic team so that she could compete in the 4X100 meter relay, Psaki said, "It does stink."

Monday, June 28, 2021

REVIEW: "A Rainy Day in New York"

WARNING: SPOILERS HEREIN

Elle Fanning puffing pot in "A Rainy Day in New York"
With mixed feelings I watched the 2019 Woody Allen movie A Rainy Day in New York, which Amazon has now decided to run after being sued by Allen for failing to release it, turning over the distribution rights to him, and settling the case.  

Formerly, I'd never missed a Woody Allen movie, and used to joke that I knew more about his psyche than my own. Even as—it is now abundantly clear—there was something creepy about his character falling for a 17-year-old girl in Manhattan, the scene where he compares her face to Cezanne's pears speaks to a sensibility that few filmmakers can convey. 

Rainy Day has a moment like that when Timothée Chalamet as Gatsby Welles—a kind of Allenesque Holden Calfield named for the fictional New Yorker (and pot dealer?) The Great Gatsby—suffers a setback in romance and declares, "I need a drink. I need a cigarette. What I really need is a Berlin ballad." (Cue soundtrack, and the next joke—Waiter (incredulous): "You want a double?" Gatsby: "It's OK, I won't be operating any farm machinery.") 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Tokin' Woman Suspended from Twitter over "Cruella Coulter" Hashtag

As reported on in MarijuanaMoment, conservative columnist Ann Coulter tweeted this week, "Pot makes you retarded," with a link to a study finding that smoking pot in young adulthood can cause people to remember one less number out of 15 when tested decades later.

Via my Tokin' Woman Twitter account, I responded that the study was misrepresented in Coulter's tweet, adding #CruellaCoulter, an existing hashtag (used before 2018, when Twitter began to clamp down on offensive tweets). Twitter responded by suspending my account for 12 hours, reinstating it only after I'd removed my tweet. 

I then reported Coulter's tweet to Twitter, calling it offensive not only to pot smokers but also to intellectually disabled persons, who aren't called "retarded" any longer in polite (some would say "woke") society. But her Tweet remains, with lots of interesting replies from folks pointing out that alcohol is the true brain-cell killer, and using themselves as examples of highly functional "potheads."  

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Tokin' Woman Blog Turns 10, Makes 420th Post

It's been 10 years since I spun off my VeryImportantPotheads Blog into this Tokin' Woman blog. I've had nearly half a million views on its pages, thanks to you, my readers!

The blog has covered politics, movies & tv, music, sports, and herstory (ancient and modern). I've done interviews and reviews, and compilations of books, movies, and songs. I've covered beauty queens, cannabis events and exhibits, and recorded my own travels. I've celebrated International Women's Day, Women's History Month, Black History Month, and 4/20. I've given out "Tokey" awards, and published tributes to fallen Tokin' Women.

The Top 10 Most Viewed Posts on the Tokin' Woman blog are: 

#1. My, Oh Maya
I spotted Maya Angelou as one of only five women on a list of influential marijuana users put out by the Marijuana Policy Project in 2012. Never content to repeat news without digging as far to the bottom of it as I can, I looked up MPP's reference, a Harold Bloom biography, and took it out of the library. Bloom referenced Angelou's book Gather Together in My Name, and reading it lead to my most-read 2014 post on her, where she describes beautifully her marijuana experience in the context of her extraordinary life. 

#2. Please Let Princess Kate Smoke Pot
This post, which laments the lack of research into the use of cannabis for pregnant mothers with hyperemis gravidarum (HG), got a big boost when the British reform group CLEAR reposted it. 

I've covered cannabis and pregnancy elsewhere, e.g.: 
Nevada To Launch Campaign Against Pre-Natal Marijuana Use  
Cannabis and Pregnancy During Legalization
NIDA on Pregnancy: The Whole Truth? 
NIDA Kills Marijuana and Pregnancy Study 
SSRIs increasingly prescribed during pregnancy, without much study on their effects

#3. "Did Richard Nixon Finger Lucille Armstrong for a Pot Bust?"
One of my favorite posts and biggest coups came from a lucky tip I got from an elderly trumpet player in Los Angeles. He'd toured with Louis Armstrong and said Louis told him a story about Richard Nixon carrying a valise full of marijuana through an airport for him in Japan, just before Louis's wife Lucille was busted for carrying what was likely her husband's pot. Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum in NY, began referring people who asked him about the incident to my post. 

#4. The Day John Denver Died 
Few knew that John Denver admitted to smoking marijuana in the 1970s. He's the kind of pothead I most like to report on: someone accomplished and admired whose image isn't like a caricature of a typical pot user. Having spotted his admission in a stack of old High Times magazines a friend gave me, I first covered him on my VeryImportantPotheads website. I took the occasion of the airing of a documentary about him to blog about it, noting that—as so often happens—a celebrity's marijuana use goes unmentioned, or barely so, in such films. 

I've covered other Men We'd Love to Toke With: Paul Simon, Jim Croce, Oscar Levant, James Garner, Tom Hayden, Robin Williams, and Adam Levine. Killer Mike, an Atlanta NORML supporter born on 4/20, tweeted out my post about him

#5. Was the Woman Who Smoked Pot with JFK Murdered by the CIA? 
This was my post for the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, an event seared into my brain since, as a first grader, I got sent home from school and shockingly saw my teachers (the usually stoic nuns) in tears. The strange and tragic death of JFK's lover Mary Meyer is connected in this post with the deaths of two other women: Dorothy Kilgallen and Marilyn Monroe. 

Three of of my other herstorical posts made it into the Top 10: 

#6: Seshat – Goddess of
Knowledge and Cannabis

#7: Nikola Tesla, His Mother,
and Hemp

#8: Asherah: The Tree of Life

I also covered recent findings about a recently discovered Viking ship buried for 11 centuries with the remains to two women/shamanesses, along with a small leather pouch containing cannabis seeds. Also, a recent discovery of cannabis resin on an ancient Israeli altar that I connected to the goddess Asherah. 

Other recent herstorical (and a couple of historical) discoveries: 

My 420th post is about the new book The Immortality Key that further connects goddesses and priestesses to ancient religions and their psychedelic sacraments. 


#9. 2016 Tokey Awards
My Tokey Award posts, where I pick a Tokin' Woman of the Year and give awards in other categories, are always popular. This 2016 post featuring Whoopi Goldberg made it into the Top Ten; another popular one was my 2015 Tokey Award post with Melissa Etheridge as Tokin' Woman of the Year. I met Melissa at a Women Grow event in Denver, and she told me she'd tweeted out the news on New Year's Eve that year. 

and Ruthless
Rounding out the top 10 is this post, combining my loves of art and activism, which got a boost from activist circles. Invited to see the premiere of the Netflix TV series "Disjointed" where Kathy Bates plays a cannabis dispensary owner, I asked a couple of women I knew who were real-life dispensary owners. One of them, Chelsea Sutula of the Sespe Creek Collective, couldn't attend after she was arrested for doing just what Bates was doing on TV. 

I've written about other drug war victims, such as Candy Barr, Anita O'Day, Teresa McGovern, Lila Leeds, and Billie Holiday. I also love literature, writing about George EliotIsak Dinesen and Joyce Carol Oates, plus poets Anne WaldmanIris TreeDiane di Prima and Joanne Kryger. Among musicians, I've covered Janis Joplin, Grace SlickJoan Jett, Heart, Chrissie Hynde, Sarah Vaughn, and Kacey Musgraves, and published compilations of women's contributions to Jazz and Rock & Reggae (partly to counter lists that seldom include women at all). 

One of my favorite moments over the past decade was meeting Chelsea Handler in 2019 and handing her my book (and getting a picture). I also met Leigh French, whose breakthrough "Share a Little Tea with Goldie" bit marked the first female pot smoker depicted on TV, when I gave her a "Tip of the Teacup" award in 2015. I was honored to meet a Jamaican DJ who corroborated my theory that cannabis was among the spices that the Queen of Sheba brought to King Solomon, and I traveled to Barcelona to see the "We Are Mary Jane" exhibit in which, much to my surprise, I was included.   

Meanwhile, I've covered the rising acceptance of cannabis among women in posts like Women Increasingly Find Marijuana Smoking "Morally Acceptable" and the latest good news: Women Surpass Men Supporting Marijuana Legalization in New Poll.  I can't claim credit for the upsurge in women's support, but the lack of it was one reason I started writing.

Thank you for reading the Tokin' Woman blog! Also see and follow Tokin' Woman's Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram

Tell me your favorite Tokin' Woman post in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of "Tokin' Women: A 4000-Year Herstory of Women and Marijuana." 

Monday, May 3, 2021

The Immortality Key and the Goddess Connection

"My impression from your book is there was a big backlash at some point and a need to suppress feminine wisdom, and before that they were the keepers of the tradition, they were the priestesses," says Dennis McKenna introducing Brian C. Muraresku, author of The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name. McKenna (the more scientific-leaning brother of psychedelic author Terence McKenna) will host Muraresku for a "fireside chat" with live Q&A on Saturday, May 8 at noon PST. 

I listened to Muraresku on Joe Rogan's podcast from an appearance last October when his book was released, and can't wait to read or listen to the book (it won't be out in paperback until next year, but is available in hardback, Kindle, and an audiobook read by the author).

A young, independent researcher who studied the classics along with Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit, Muraresku then became an attorney, bringing a case Doctors for Cannabis Regulation on behalf of an NFL player who wanted to use cannabis for pain. He got interested in studying psychedelics when he read the Johns Hopkins studies that found people had religious experience on them. 

Muraresku's reading of thousands of studies and papers includes, he mentioned, Dioscorides Materia Medica and the recent discovery of cannabis at an ancient Judaic shrine. He spent time at the Vatican in Rome looking for evidence of ancient mystical religions and their suppression, and traveled to Greece hoping to do a chemical analysis on residues in the sacramental cups used for the ancient Eleusinian mysteries, with their mysterious and probably psychedelic sacrament kykeon.  

Told that the Eleusinian ceremonial cups had been "cleaned" and couldn't be tested, he instead found his way to a Spanish archeological site with heavy Greek influences, such as the depictions of the goddesses of Eleusis—Demeter and Persephone—on an incense burner and coins (pictured above, on Rogan's show). At that site, ceremonial cups contained ergot, the mold that grows on grains and is the precursor to LSD. At another site, cannabis was found to be among 50 different ingredients used to spike ancient "wine," which wasn't alcoholic but rather something priestesses concocted from herbs and spices. One of the theses he is trying to prove is that ancient priestesses were concocting a kind of beer spiked with ergot. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

"The Marijuana Conspiracy" and The Research Dodge

The Canadian film "The Marijuana Conspiracy," released in the US on 4/20, illustrates in part the absurdity and politicization of research into marijuana's effects. The film, based on a study that happened in 1972 in Toronto, begins with footage of politicians (all old, white men) railing against marijuana use. We then meet an old, white male addiction researcher downing a martini who hires an unscrupulous hippie-type researcher out for fame and fortune who recruits young women pot smokers for a study aimed at discovering marijuana's harms. 

The women were locked in a building for 98 days, with no escape to take a walk outside or see their friends or families, while being constantly observed by researchers. Even the joints they were given to smoke nightly couldn't counter the effects of this strange, unnatural setting and the film (and doubtlessly the study itself) devolves into melodrama. Like many rats put in a cage, the women were pointlessly overdosed with pot. Yet, they remained productive and experienced no ill effects, although some members of both the smoking group and the nonsmoking control groups had difficulty assimilating after their isolation. The results of the study were never publicized due to political reasons, and it took decades for Canada to finally legalize pot (the US still hasn't done so). 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Women Surpass Men Supporting Marijuana Legalization in New Poll


A new national poll from Quinnipiac University found a record high 69% of Americans support marijuana legalization, and that 70% of women support it, with only 68% of men surveyed in support.

This is the first time a poll has shown more support for legalization among women than men. Until very recently, women have consistently supported it 8-13% less than men. A Washington Post analysis of a 2013 Pew survey that found a 9% gap between men's and women's support concluded that women's religious beliefs and lower likelihood to use marijuana were at play, more so that motherhood or other factors.

A CBS poll released on 4/20/2016 was the first to show majority female support for marijuana legalization in the US. Though still trailing the 59% of men who were in favor, 54% of women then said they supported it too, up from only 43% of women and 54% of men in the previous year. A November 2020 Gallup poll found 69% of men and 66% of women supported legalization, narrowing the gender gap to 3%.

One reason for the shift is likely women's increased role in publicly advocating for legalization, many of them heading NORML chapters across the country. Women of all ages are also increasingly depicted using marijuana on film and TV and articles about legalization are more often picturing women, not just men. And women are feeling emboldened to speak up about their marijuana use (or at least admit to past use without apology, like VP Kamala Harris has).  

Photo: A supporter at the Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival in Kutztown, PA on April 17, 2021. Sean Simmers ssimmers@pennlive.com. 

Jocelyn Elders Co-Authors Oped Slamming AMA's Position on Marijuana

Elders depicted at the 2016 Oakland Museum "Altered State" exhibit

Former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders has co-authored an oped on CNN.com  blasting the AMA's policy on marijuana as racist and out of step with the times. It states:

The AMA actively supports cannabis prohibition, a cornerstone of the drug war, even as it hypocritically condemns systemic racism for creating inequity and limiting access to health care among communities of color. The organization fails to appreciate or chooses to ignore the fact that the uneven application of laws on cannabis prohibition contributes to poverty, which is one of the largest obstacles to health care access in communities of color. 

Cannabis is demonstrably safer for the vast majority of adults than alcohol, but the AMA doesn't call for a return to alcohol prohibition. Cannabis is far less harmful to adults than tobacco, but the AMA advocates tighter regulation rather than the prohibition of tobacco products. While the medical community offers an evidence-based, nuanced assessment of the health effects of cannabis, the AMA hyperbolically asserts that "without question, the public health risks (of legalization) are immense." 

Cannabis use is not the "immense" public health threat that the AMA claims, but its prohibition is a powerful weapon of racially biased policing. In 2019, US law enforcement made over 500,000 arrests for simple cannabis possession alone. An American Civil Liberties Union report from 2018 found that Black people in America are nearly four times more likely than Whites to be arrested for cannabis possession, despite similar usage rates between the two groups.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

RIP Ramsey Clark, Mary Jeanne Kreek and Jean Langenheim

Recently portrayed as the man of uncommon integrity he was by Michael Keaton in the Aaron Sorkin/Netflix movie "The Trial of the Chicago 7, former US Attorney General and government official Ramsey Clark has died. 

Clark supervised the drafting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and as AG opposed the death penalty and enforced antitrust laws. He "tussled with J. Edgar Hoover, settled land claims with Native American groups and accompanied Martin Luther King Jr. on his march to Selma."  He also helped start NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). 

Keith Stroup, who was a young lawyer when he started NORML, recalled in a New York Magazine article that he'd read Clark's book Crime in America. "I was amazed because here was this former Attorney General arguing that marijuana should be legalized. I’d never heard that from such a prominent public figure before," Stroup said. He met with Clark who reaffirmed his mission and helped make it happen, serving on the advisory board for NORML.

"It was terribly sad to learn of Ramsey Clark’s death," Stroup wrote to me in an email. "He was a friend and a personal political hero of mine, and someone who helped me get NORML off the ground in the early 1970’s. When I was uncertain, he reassured me that it was the right thing to do and he introduced me to Hugh Hefner and the Playboy Foundation, that largely funded NORML for our first decade. He was a brilliant man who fought every day for the common man. Ramsey Clark for my generation was the icon that we looked to to tell us how to move forward. He helped us end the Viet Nam War and to seek racial justice." 

Two prominent women scientists and unsung heroines have also recently passed and been added to Tokin' Woman's yearly In Memoriam post: Mary Jeanne Kreek and Jean Langenheim.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Women to Celebrate this International Women's Day

More celebrated in other countries than in the US due to its socialist roots, International Women's Day is inspired by the 1909 ladies garment workers' strike and held on March 8 – the date of the 1917 Russian women's "Bread and Peace" strike. It is is now officially "a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women." 

Some women's achievements to celebrate this year are: 

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms removed drug-testing requirements for city employees, citing equity concerns. 

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer granted clemency to four longtime marijuana prisoners. 

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced "we will combine common sense medical marijuana policy to pay for Medicaid expansion."

Our Tokin' Woman of the Year for 2019, Jane Fonda, won the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes, and gave a great speech about inclusion

Andra Day picked up a Globe for her portrayal of drug war victim Billie Holiday, and Catherine O'Hara (pictured) won one for her role on "Schitt's Creek" wherein she tokes, and ruminates on taking ayahuasca with Al & Tipper in what will be known as The Performance of a Thousand Wigs). 

Dolly Parton, who had an "old fashioned ladies pot party" with Fonda in 9-5, donated $1 million to help pay for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and re-wrote her hit song "Jolene" to encourage people to get vaccinated. 

Beyoncé gave a $10K grant to a black-owned cannabis company.  

Michelle Alexander's seminal book "The New Jim Crow" made a list of Top 10 greatest works of journalism in the last 10 Years.

Miley Cyrus and Joan Jett, both pot lovers, crushed it at the TicToc Superbowl party for first responders. 

Lady Gaga lifted us up with her rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the inauguration and Chelsea Handler launched a an Inauguration Day-themed cannabis kit titled “America is Back” to benefit the nonprofit Cage-Free Repair. 

Oh yeah, and our Tokin' Woman of 2020 Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in a Vice President. (Devi is another name for the Goddess Parvati, one of the International Tokin' Women presented here.)

Saturday, February 27, 2021

The United States vs. Billie Holiday: How The Drug War Can Silence Political Speech

The United States vs. Billie Holiday, now showing on Hulu, depicts how Holiday was targeted by the US government for her drug use due to her politics, in particular because of her refusal to stop performing her song "Strange Fruit" about lynching.

Starring Andra Day in a powerhouse, Golden Globe–winning performance, the film has the questionable casting of the handsome Garrett Hedlund (who played Dean Moriarity / Neal Cassidy) as the hideous (inside and out) Harry Anslinger, the careerist anti-drug zealot and longtime head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics who took down Holiday over her heroin use.  Very Important Pothead Louis Armstrong makes an appearance or two in the movie, and Tokin Woman Tallulah Bankhead is also depicted, as being questioned by Anslinger about her relationship with Holiday.

Just after Holiday is shown singing Bessie Smith's song "Give me a Pigfoot/Reefer" we see Very Important Pothead Lester Young, her saxophonist, rolling and smoking a joint. But despite the fact that at the time, "Billie Holiday's name had become a kind of password among marijuana smokers," she is only shown buying and using heroin, after which a flashback scene reveals she was pressured into prostitution as a young girl by her mother. Reason enough for anyone to do heroin. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

New Film Explores Canada's 1970s Experiment with Women and Weed

"The Marijuana Conspiracy" cast 
Coming to the US on 4/20 is a Canadian film titled "The Marijuana Conspiracy" about a bizarre experiment that happened in 1972 in which 20 women were confined in a Toronto hospital for 98 days while they were supplied with increasingly potent marijuana to smoke. 

Then-Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's government was reportedly considering legalizing pot, and the experiment sought to discover whether smoking it would make workers unproductive. The women were paid to weave belts or assemble stools with sea grass seats, as a measure of their motivation. According to an article in The Toronto Star, when their wage increase from $2 per stool to $2.75, the women's output increased. “Evidence shows that the inability or unwillingness to earn following high cannabis consumption can be overcome by an economic incentive,” researcher C.G. Miles wrote. 

Women from Canada's 1972 pot experiment
Filmmaker Craig Pryce interviewed several of the women who took part in the experiment for the film. Expecting a sort of fun "hippie camp" where they were paid to smoke marijuana, the subjects' isolation and the effects of too-potent weed they were required to smoke (or else not be paid at the end of the experiment) reportedly had a detrimental effect on some of the women.  Many were disturbed by the fact that the results of the experiment were buried, apparently due to political reasons.