Category Archives: Media

Slow Arc of Legalization

By Mikki Norris at

When my husband, Chris Conrad, and I became cannabis activists in 1988, it was the height of Reagan’s “Just Say No” and zero tolerance era. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 enacted mandatory minimum sentences for drugs, so the arrest and incarceration rates were starting to amp up, and people who enjoyed pot were heading back into the cannabis closet.

Chris was at an election victory party for insurance reform the night George H. W. Bush won office. Smoking a celebratory joint in the parking lot with his political allies, Chris announced that it was time to do something about the marijuana laws. He felt it unfair that responsible pot smokers were, literally, being kept out in the cold. They stood in the November night, vulnerable to arrest, while their colleagues were indoors freely drinking alcohol. Feeling inspired by the injustice of the situation, he asked everyone to join him in a quick campaign for marijuana legalization.

“Are you crazy?” they retorted. “You will lose all credibility and destroy your reputation. Marijuana will never be legal. It can’t be done.”

Chris took that as a personal challenge and bet that he could make and implement a successful plan. Within weeks, he formulated and launched the Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp (BACH) as a five-year strategy to legalize marijuana in North America. At the time, there were no hemp businesses except hemp birdseed and twine. BACH’s goal was to restore the perception of hemp for industrial use, allow medical marijuana, legalize personal adult-use and home grows, and regulate the commercial cannabis market.

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Has 420 lost its meaning?


By David Downs, at SFGATE, April 20, 2019

The term “420” has evolved from a code for “time to toke up” among Northern California high school students in the late 1970s, to a marijuana subcultural meme, to a global rallying cry for cannabis-user liberation.

We talked to 10 noted growers, activists, retailers, and experts about 420’s meaning to them on the eve of the first 4/20 with commercial legalization in California.

How will you observe 4/20?

Chris Conrad, East Bay activist: Smoking out at Earth Day with my lovely wife, Mikki Norris.”

Has 420 lost its meaning now that cannabis is legal?

Conrad: “For the longest time, nobody knew what the mysterious 420 stood for anyway … until High Times revealed its secret. Then, after Senate Bill 420 was enacted, the number became enshrined in the broader vernacular. So I don’t think it’s lost its significance at all.”

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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.”

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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.”

Continue reading Paper Magazine: How to Change Federal Law

Publicity photos

Here are links to two CMYK graphic files and two PDF files of this portrait of Chris Conrad for use in print news reports or materials intended to promote events at which he is speaking. Below that are two RGB jpegs of the same image for web use 

Download high definition CMYK  jpeg 2.5 MB

Download medium definition CMYK jpeg 2.1 MB 

Download high definition PDF image 3.5 MB

Download medium definition PDF image 2.1 MB

Chris Conrad portrait 2016
RGB image 640 pixels square

Chris Conrad portrait 2016
RGB image 1080 pixels square



Criminal justice reform in O.C. Register report 2016

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


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.

Continue reading Criminal justice reform in O.C. Register report 2016

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.”

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