Category Archives: Advocacy

Playboy: Cannabis and Mental Health

Sean Arenas’ article “Can Cannabis Replace Your Mental Health Prescription” was posted at Playboy. Arena notes that, “Despite the conflicting research, it’s important to never lose sight of the fact that each and every brain is unique and incredibly complex. Mental health treatment is unfortunately not as simple as applying a bandage and waiting for the healing to begin.” Read the full article at this link. Chris Conrad’s excerpts are quoted below.

“Getting trusted advice is critical.”

“We have decades of observational studies and case histories [demonstrating that cannabis has mental health benefits] and now early clinical studies showing that cannabis is a great benefit to trauma survivors,” says Chris Conrad, cannabis expert and author of Hemp for Health. Conrad cites additional reports that establish the mental health benefits of cannabis such as a 2014 study that concludes THC “reduces meth-induced brain damage” and a 2008 study that shows cannabinoids initiate “neonatal milk suckling response,” determining that “cannabis-based medicines should be developed to benefit infant failure to thrive.”

“People often substitute cannabis for anxiety medications and know for themselves if it does the job,” says Conrad. “People who suffer from severe mood swings often find that cannabis modulates their temperament. Likewise, a person who is having depression or anger management issues can often tell when and if cannabis helps them—even if not always how.”

“[Cannabis] gives such a deep, restful sleep and lets you forget the day’s cares and the stressful dreams that otherwise might keep you awake at night,” he says. “Just being rested is good for your mental health.”

Even Conrad recommends caution when replacing mental health medication with cannabis. “A person who is coping with mental health issues is not always the best judge of how cannabis is affecting their behavior. It’s important that the patient has someone they trust who is familiar with their history and will help them monitor its effect on their behavior,” says Conrad.

“If one form of cannabis is not working well enough, there are different forms and dosages from high THC macrodosing to CBD microdosing so getting trusted advice is critical.”

From “Can Cannabis Replace Your Mental Health Prescription” by Sean Arenas, Playboy.com April 4, 2019

Paper Magazine: How to Change Federal Law

Bill Weinberg recently wrote an article for Paper magazine (yes, it’s printed on paper!) about changing cannabis laws and quoted me about how this might happen. Here’s a link to the full article, and my quotes excerpted below in context.

Yet since 2015, various bills have been introduced in Congress to legalize cannabis at the federal level — removing it from the schedule system altogether. The most recent was just introduced in January by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) — the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, wittily numbered HR 420. (“420” has long been slang for getting high among cannabis aficionados.)

So there is some optimism in the ranks.

Chris Conrad, a longtime California cannabis advocate, actually thinks it can happen.

He forecasts: “House Democrats are already poised to pass cannabis de-scheduling legislation over to the Senate, where it either passes or gets attached to another bill and passes, then the president signs it and claims a victory in summer or winter of 2019. Unfortunately, Senator McConnell has authoritarian tendencies and could block legislation from getting a floor vote. But on the other hand, his role in de-scheduling industrial hemp suggests that he might be open to it.”

Conrad sees a second scenario as more likely: “McConnell will bottle House bills up in 2019 but let legalization pass the Senate in early 2020 as a way to grab the youth vote going into the fall elections or, at least, to take the issue away from Democrats to campaign on.”

Since 2015, various bills have been introduced in Congress to legalize cannabis at the federal level.

What Conrad sees as a third and perhaps most likely path is for the president to do it by executive order in the later part of 2020 “for that same political motive.”

He adds, wryly: “The best tactic is always to play up to his vanity. For example, someone could name a strain of cannabis ‘Trump Gold’ and announce that it won a tremendous contest for the best, most terrific strain of cannabis in the world, maybe the best of all time. But nobody can get it because it’s illegal…unless The Donald orders the DEA to take marijuana out of the CSA. Plus, someone might point out that he personally could get a huge commission by licensing his name to it, being the most popular strain ever in the world and all.”

And some advocates are already anticipating how small growers will negotiate the transition to a federally legalized market. Kerry Reynolds is the organizer of Sohum Guild, a group of family-operated artisanal cannabis farms in southern Humboldt County, the heart of the Emerald Triangle.

Remember to read the whole article, it’s great!

— Excerpted from Bill Weinberg’s article in Paper magazine

Prop. 64: Criminal penalty reductions, social justice

Proposition 64 Section 8. CRIMINAL OFFENSES, RECORDS, AND RESENTENCING.

Chris Conrad, Friends of Prop 64 victory party
Chris Conrad celebrates the passage of Prop. 64 with Friends of Prop 64 on election night, 2016.

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act 2016 did not repeal all the previous criminal penalties on marijuana but adjusted them downward and allows for more social justice. This section describes the remaining criminal penalties, downward resentencing for people with priors, destruction and expungement of records, early release from incarceration and juvenile justice.

Continue reading Prop. 64: Criminal penalty reductions, social justice

Criminal justice reform in O.C. Register report 2016

Life in prison for pot?
If Prop. 64 passes, that could change

By BROOKE EDWARDS STAGGS / STAFF WRITER

One million people convicted of marijuana-related misdemeanors and felonies could petition to have their records changed or cleared, the nonprofit organization estimates. That would give them wider access to jobs, housing and other services that are currently out of reach.

“The criminal code changes are so profound that, even if I didn’t like other things in the initiative, I would vote for it just for that,” said Chris Conrad, a longtime marijuana activist who’s backing Prop. 64 even as many friends in the medical cannabis community remain divided over the measure.

But law enforcement could no longer use the smell of marijuana, or the presence of paraphernalia, as a basis for broader searches.

Conrad, who has served as an expert witness in some 2,500 marijuana-related cases, said removing weed as probable cause will eliminate a common point of contact with police that often escalates into something more serious.

“Out of all the court cases I have been involved with, probably 50 percent start off with cops saying they smell marijuana,” he said.

Read the whole article online at ocRegister.com.

Interviewed as expert on cannabis extracts

Concentrated: A new era for cannabis extracts in California

Chris Conrad, a cannabis legal expert and author of “The Newbies Guide to Cannabis & The Industry,” said the type of extraction can also produce what is commonly known as an “entourage effect” or “ensemble effect.”

“There is a combination of 100 plus molecules in marijuana that have this medical effect depending on how they interact with each other and the human body,” he said. “That’s what a lot of people think is so great about cannabis.”

Continue reading Interviewed as expert on cannabis extracts

Cannabis Radio interview with Vivian McPeak 2016

Hempresent Radio: Seattle Hempfest’s own Vivian McPeak interviews California activist Chris Conrad on why he is supporting Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuan Act. Click here to listen in.