House of Kush to Go Global with Clever Leaves, Bringing Classic Strains to the Masses

Classic genetics such as Bubba Kush Pre-98 and OG Kush varieties will be available on a global scale, as two powerhouses team up. On September 21, Colombia-based multinational juggernaut Clever Leaves announced a partnership with legacy brand House of Kush, to be the exclusive grower and distributor of genetics globally.

Clever Leaves will produce genetics for House of Kush—thus expanding their reach outside of the United States and Canada.

Clever Leaves will cultivate House of Kush’s genetics at facilities in Colombia and Portugal over the course of the next three years. Clever Leaves’ footprint is global with smokable flower already being sold in Germany, Israel, and Australia.

Clever Leaves will produce House of Kush’s signature strain—Bubba Kush Pre-98—as well as other classics such as San Fernando Valley OG Kush. Different theories abound, but Bubba Kush appeared on the market in the ‘90s, noted by its sedative effects. People have turned to it to help with pain, anxiety, and insomnia.

The scale is massive: In Colombia, Clever Leaves boasts 18 hectares (44.4 acres) of cultivation. More importantly though, the company holds European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (EU GMP) Certification, a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Certification by Colombia National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute – Invima, and Good Agricultural and Collecting Practices (GACP) Certification.

In Portugal, Clever Leaves operates on about nine million square feet of land, with 260,000 square feet of greenhouse facilities. They also have regulatory privilege there with a license from INFARMED I.P., the Portuguese pharmaceutical regulatory authority, with (EU-GMP) certification and are (GACP) certified.

Courtesy House of Kush

House of Kush Genetics

The partnership will deliver House of Kush’s genetics to a wider market. “Going international was really a big step,” says House of Kush co-founder and Chief Sales Officer Steve Gardner. “Clever Leaves do such good work. And we’ve been so impressed with them. And we’ve really been working on this deal for almost a year. But when you get plugged in with a group like that, that can take you all over the place.” Gardner’s roles as serial entrepreneur, advisor, investor in sports and entertainment date back 30 years.

“I would echo that sentiment and also just bring in the point that other countries are more quickly adopting and having more open, flexible laws than what we’re experiencing currently in the U.S.,” says House of Kush co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Reggie Harris. “So having the opportunity to get there early in our growth strategy not only helps us improve our status as a U.S. company, but everybody’s in the game to be able to spread that knowledge and the product and be able to get out there. So [it’s as much of an] exposure type thing as it is a financial benefit as well, that the two kind of go together. It’s not one without the other.” Harris’ background as a senior executive in sports and entertainment goes back two decades.

“Our first introduction to Bubba Kush was actually through Matt Bubba Berger, who was one of the original cultivators, and obviously Bubba Kush was part of that founding group that came up with OG Kush as well,” Harris adds. “And I was looking at it and reached out to Steve [Gardner] and said, ‘You know, I got this interesting call, product opportunity. Let’s go sit down and talk about it.’”

Protecting those genetics is another story. While House of Kush has explored blockchain technology and other ways of protecting their genetics, continuing to develop their reputation as a brand is more valuable.

“The biggest protection for us is quality assurance,” Harris adds. “We’ve created a kush certified program, to where we go through and we tell people, these are the recommended ways of growing the genetics, this is the proper way, the proper soil, the proper water, all that type of stuff, because we know ultimately, right now, federally, we can’t protect it, it’s going to be some somebody could take it, we will lose more money trying to defend it, then we will just go on out being better than they are. So we spent a lot of time just trying to have the great genetics and the great SOPs around that to make sure that it comes out right on the other side and up to our standard.”

Gustavo Escobar / Courtesy Clever Leaves

Regulatory Perks of Going International

Clever Leaves’ footprint is all over the globe, but each facility has a distinctive purpose. “We have two facilities, one in Colombia, one in Portugal,” says Julián Wilches, co-founder and Chief Regulatory Officer of Clever Leaves. “The Portugal facility is focused on flower. And in Colombia, the Colombian facility has been focused on extracts, raw materials, and finished products such as oils. Now, we have the opportunity, also of exporting flower from Colombia, which is something that we plan to do in the coming months. But now it is very important for us and we’re going to have access to additional genetics.”

One of Clever Leaves’ advantages is holding certifications in Europe. But one of the keys to growth is expanding internationally to improve chances of success.

“If you cultivate in the U.S., you cannot export it, because of the federal prohibition in the U.S.,” says Gustavo Escobar, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Clever Leaves. “So the fact that we can cultivate in Colombia and export it for medicinal purposes, opens the global market. We’re focused on four markets in addition to the U.S.: Australia, Israel, Germany, and Brazil. In Brazil, we cannot sell flower. So I would say three markets for flower: Israel, Australia, and Germany. But there are additional markets like Portugal and Italy, U.K., Ireland, most likely France, and Spain. Now we have Thailand. So the world is moving towards medicine and medicinal legalization.”

The partnership benefits both companies in ways that were not possible before.

“Working together, you can do better things,” Wilches adds. “So partnering with people with good genetics, and having the capabilities that were described—that will give us a better opportunity of success in those markets. So we believe in partnerships and we believe in working together and creating long-term relationships for being in the market in the long term with really high quality and good product.”

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Pennsylvania Cannabis Policy Summit Brings Together Cory Booker, John Fetterman, and More

Held at Temple University in Philadelphia on Sept. 23, the summit examined current cannabis policy in Pennsylvania, both at the state and federal level, as well as the new Cannabis Pardon Program. The event was made possible by Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities (DACO), as well as Black Cannabis Week, which was held between Sept. 18-25. In addition to Sen. Booker, numerous political representatives such as Sen. Sharif Street, Rep. Austin Davis, Rep. Jordan Harris, Rep. Darisha Parker, Rep. Chris Rabb, Former City Councilmember of Philadelphia Derek Green, and City Council member Curtis Jones were invited to participate in the discussion.

At the meeting, Booker explained how progress has been made toward legalization, but there is still work to be done. “With a majority of Americans on both sides of the aisle in support of legalization, we know that this has opportunities,” Booker said. “We need, though, to continue to evolve our focus, our vision, and our strategies to make sure that economically, socially—and especially within our criminal justice system—we are expanding fairness, equality and opportunity.”

He explained that the federal government is lagging behind in embracing legalization nationwide, which is the reason he chose to sponsor the current Senate Legalization Bill from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden. “We know there is a historic opportunity right now for our country to rectify past wrongs and to create a more just [and] fair America with more opportunity,” Booker said. “There’s still mountains to climb, but I know we will make progress. I know [we] will make it to the mountaintop. I know we will get to a point in this country, because of our labors, where justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

The second half of the conference featured the “PA Pardons Process,” which included Sen. Sharif Street as moderator, in addition to Fetterman, Luis Gonzalez of I AM More, Community College of Philadelphia, and Board of Pardons Secretary Celeste Trusty. Pennsylvania’s Marijuana Pardon Project was announced on Sept. 1 by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

Fetterman, the chair of the program, described the state of Pennsylvania as “a place for second chances,” which will “help people get pardons quickly for stupid weed convictions.” According to Secretary Trusty, over 2,200 residents have applied so far, with 400 having come through just last week.

“This pardon project has the potential to open the door for thousands of Pennsylvanians—the college grad looking to start their career, the grandparent who’s been wanting to chaperone a field trip, or any Pennsylvanian who’s been told ‘no’ for much needed assistance. Now’s your chance,” Gov. Wolf said in his initial announcement. He also added that applicants will be notified by Oct. 13 if they will receive a public hearing. Sometime in mid-December, the Board of Pardons will vote on individual cases, and then will recommend the finalists to Wolf for final review.

Those who have a cannabis-conviction on their record have between Sept. 1-30 to submit an application to be pardoned. Qualifications include convictions relating to possession, intent to distribute small amounts of cannabis, paraphernalia-related offenses and much more. However, there are a few exceptions that could disqualify an applicant for this limited-time offering, such as being enrolled in a rehab program, being actively on probation or parole, being convicted of driving under the influence of cannabis, and more.

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The Greens Say Parliament Can Legalize Pot in Australia

The Australian Greens say that parliament has the power to legalize recreational pot in the country as the party prepares its bid for cannabis reform.

According to The Guardian, the Greens––currently the minor party in Australia––have received advice from constitutional lawyer Patrick Keyzer, who contends that parliament could override state laws on the matter.

“The advice suggests that there are three commonwealth heads of power that would enable it to legalise and regulate cannabis use, with the clearest pathway via a part of section 51, which relates to copyrights, patents of inventions and designs, and trademarks,” The Guardian reported.

Under the aforementioned section 51, parliament has the power to “to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to: trade and commerce with other countries, and among the States; taxation; but so as not to discriminate between States or parts of States; bounties on the production or export of goods, but so that such bounties shall be uniform throughout the Commonwealth; borrowing money on the public credit of the Commonwealth; postal, telegraphic, telephonic, and other like services; the naval and military defence of the Commonwealth and of the several States, and the control of the forces to execute and maintain the laws of the Commonwealth; lighthouses, lightships, beacons and buoys; astronomical and meteorological observations; quarantine; fisheries in Australian waters beyond territorial limits; census and statistics; currency, coinage, and legal tender; banking, other than State banking; also State banking extending beyond the limits of the State concerned, the incorporation of banks, and the issue of paper money; insurance, other than State insurance; also State insurance extending beyond the limits of the State concerned; weights and measures; bills of exchange and promissory notes; bankruptcy and insolvency” among a litany of other areas.

The Guardian reports that Keyzer’s advice centers around the part of the section pertaining to “copyrights, patents of inventions and designs, and trade marks,” saying that it empowers the commonwealth to “regulate cannabis strains as plant varieties and cause them to be listed in a schedule in respect of which the commonwealth has exclusive regulatory control.”

“We’ve been told to wait for cannabis law reform for too long, even when it’s obvious that the majority of harm caused is by policing and the war on drugs, not the plant,” David Shoebridge, a spokesperson for the Greens, said in a statement on Monday, as quoted by The Guardian.

“Recreational cannabis is enjoyed by millions in Australia and around the world, and pretending otherwise is increasingly ridiculous,” Shoebridge added. “At least 40% of Australians have used cannabis and any law that makes almost half of us criminals needs to go.”

A poll earlier this year found that Australians were split when it comes to the matter of changing the country’s marijuana laws, with 50% saying they are in favor of full cannabis reform.

The pollster, Essential Research, noted that represented a huge increase from 2013, when only about 25% said they favored full reform.

Meanwhile, a study released this summer by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that a higher percentage of people in the country favored smoking weed than using tobacco.

The Greens aren’t the only party pushing for cannabis reform. Earlier this year, Australia’s single-issue Legalize Cannabis Party exceeded expectations in the country’s senate races and came close to gaining a seat.

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South Carolina Farmer Sues State Over Destroyed Hemp Crop

A South Carolina farmer has filed a lawsuit against the state over the destruction of his hemp crop in 2019.

The suit, filed on September 16 by John Trenton Pendarvis, alleges that a trio of state agencies––the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Department of Agriculture, and attorney general’s office––“all denied him due process after Department of Agriculture officials discovered unreported hemp crops during a check of his Dorchester County property on July 30, 2019,” according to the Associated Press.

The Associated Press reports that Pendarvis asserts in the complaint that he “filed an amendment application and said that extensive droughts had forced him to move his crop’s location,” but “Derek Underwood, assistant commissioner of the Agriculture Department’s Consumer Protection Division, insisted that the farmer’s oversight was a ‘willful violation’ of the state’s hemp farming program” and “then began seeking approval to destroy the crop.”

Pendarvis was the first person to be charged under South Carolina’s law governing hemp cultivation.

The 2019 law requires farmers to “report their hemp crops’ coordinates to the South Carolina Department of Agriculture” and bars them from growing “plants that [exceed] the federal THC limits.”

Pendarvis’ lawsuit highlights the law’s lack of clarity and the confusion over how it should be enforced.

The Associated Press has more background on the case:

“After failing to get a local judge to sign their seizure and destruction order, [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] agents — without detailing their intent to destroy the crop — obtained an arrest warrant for Pendarvis from another magistrate. Emails shared in the complaint show that agents took this action despite the original judge offering to hold a hearing in the matter, which [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division]’s general counsel Adam Whitsett declined. Officials in the attorney general’s office then amended their guidance to agree with [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division]’s conclusion that the hemp farming participation agreement — which allows the destruction of crops growing in an unlicensed area — amounted to the ‘valid consent’ necessary to pursue their plan.”

He filed a separate lawsuit last year “in Dorchester County against the S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture, the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division saying both his arrest and the destruction of his crops were illegal,” according to The State newspaper.

That complaint included “claims of unlawful arrest, assault and battery, abuse of process, defamation and negligence,” the newspaper reported.

Industrial hemp production was made legal at the federal level when Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, prompting every state in the country to get in on the new “cash crop.”

But despite its own hemp law, South Carolina continues to take a hardline against cannabis, and is one of the last remaining states that has not legalized medical marijuana.

A group of lawmakers there tried to change that in this year’s legislative session.

The state Senate approved a medical cannabis bill in February, but the measure went up in smoke in the state House of Representatives in May.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican state Sen. Tom Davis, has been championing medical cannabis treatment in the state for years.

“If you pound at the door long enough. If you make your case. If the public is asking for something, the state Senate owes a debate,” Davis said in January after introducing the bill in the chamber. “The people of South Carolina deserve to know where their elected officials stand on this issue.”

He applauded his colleagues in the state Senate after it won approval in the chamber.

“Even those that were opposed to the bill, I mean, they could’ve just been opposed. They could’ve ranted against it, they could’ve tried to delay things. They didn’t. They expressed their concerns, but what they then did is dug in and tried to make the bill better. And so, what you saw over the last three weeks is what’s supposed to happen in a representative democracy,” Davis said at the time.

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Welcome To Acid Town

For High Times readers, it’s no secret that corporate startups focused on microdosing psychedelics such as Psilocybe cubensis and LSD are turning heads for those trying to get ahead in today’s economy. While these investment prospects are exciting, curious minds may want to take a look at the bigger picture. A picture sometimes brought into focus by doing tons of acid.

FLASHBACK TO THE NINETIES

During my high school experience of the mid 90s, especially in small towns like the one I grew up in, the drug culture was booming. Hash, shrooms, and acid were king. A few designer drugs like ecstasy were starting to make their way to rural Canada but it hadn’t really hit yet. It was still difficult for people in rural Ontario to get flower.

Much of rural Canada looked like this in the 90s. And still does actually.

In my last High Times article, “The New Narc,” I discussed that in those times, Regan’s reignited drug war was still running rampant even in Clinton’s America. Kurt Cobain had recently died and pop culture was trying to pick up the pieces.

During this time, my best friend, band mate, and party accomplice “Paul” was one of the most impressive humans I’ve ever met. In our early-to-mid teen years, “Paul” and I explored a variety of subcultures and the drugs that went with them. We were not special.

A photo of “Paul” playing guitar.

Kids of the 90s often considered the 60s “drug revolution” as “introductory.” This is the generation that brought us South Park, whose creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, famously went to The Oscars in drag and on acid.

In adulthood, most kids who were products of 90s counterculture revolutions such as grunge, punk, and techno can relate and reminisce about the state of partying experienced in the last few years on Earth before humans had global access to the internet.

Twenty to thirty years later, it’s not hard to imagine why this generation’s zeitgeist has a relaxed and open mind towards drugs. Several counterculture industries like skateboarding, cannabis, and wall art have begun revolutionizing what the corporate landscape of the 2020s can look like.

Modern society has begun rewriting the narratives of what was once considered degenerate behavior.

BAD TIPS / BAD TRIPS

Currently, many private and public psychedelic companies are focusing on mental health, addiction, and PTSD research. While this research is important and exciting, most agree that we may never see psychedelics as a recreational device. This means that those who obey laws, and prescribe as followed, may never truly understand the true potential of their investments.

To gain insight on the psychedelic investment landscape, we spoke with Doctor Darryl Hudson, a respected, peer reviewed, and published molecular biologist based in Toronto, Ontario. Dr. Darryl is also a specialist in cannabis and plant medicines. He is celebrated for his work in the field of cannabis and PTSD and has publicly spoken on multiple panels on the aforementioned subjects. He’s also a metalhead, which rips.

Dr. Darryl Hudson. Metalhead. Scientist.

Dr. Darryl’s company GoodCap Pharmaceuticals, are developing low-dose non-hallucinatory products that they hope will someday be available in a prescription drug format. 

According to Dr. Darryl, “Access is the number one concern I have with these medicines. I would hope to see complete decriminalization of psychedelic molecules (for which safety has been established) in the future. At the very least, regulated access through the established medical industry. We desperately need many of these medications to be available to the general public, which means mass production and major corporations getting involved.”

While a leading voice and advocate of psychedelics as medicine, Dr. Darryl fears there are dangers that reflect the early days of cannabis legalization. Dangers those looking to invest and the general public should be aware of. 

“We see problematic behavior in the emerging psychedelic industry from some ‘vulture capitalists’ attempting to profit from these medicines without understanding them. As with cannabis, those who care only about profits are not likely to survive long. Product quality and in this case, patient care is likely to be a bigger factor in gaining long term traction and a loyal consumer base. We have already seen public companies abandon projects,” Dr. Darryl says.

FLASHBACK TO THE FUTURE

In our youth, Paul and I, along with many in our friends group, followed a traditional small town drug-experimentation-trajectory. This trajectory went from beer and liquor to weed and hash, followed by mushrooms.

These kids are on drugs. Me, friend, Paul, bandmate “Kelsey.”

After mushrooms, many moved on to acid. Those who acid agreed with it, did it again and again. Then after that, they did more acid. Then they ate acid for dinner and dessert topped with liquid acid.

LSD and Paul gelled. It allowed him to become Ferris Bueller on drugs (I’ll explain later). It made him somewhat of a visionary. His understanding of this drug, combined with his ability to be productive on it, is exactly why all investors, predatory and casual alike, should experience LSD and all psychedelics to their fullest before investing. Understanding these products could guide more than just a publicly shared company’s success.

USER HABITS AND THE CONSUMPTION OF PSYCHEDELICS

In today’s climate, ideas like organic LSD, LSA, or LSH, have wealthy thought leaders gathering around the Joshua Trees of the world. These forward thinking innovators conduct mind melding money meetings with spores of opportunity. While Netflix originals like Goop homogenize the movement, powerhouse leaders of industry are a buzz with the buzziest buzz words no one can say or spell like “psilocybin” or “psilocin,” the active psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms.

On the street, LSD traditionally came in the form of tiny square pieces of 1cm by 1cm construction paper, usually with a cartoon on them, called “tabs” or “hits.” These tabs were, and still are to this day, ingested under the tongue until dissolution. The high would generally last from four to eight hours.

Today, there is no limit to the consumption methods. Tinctures, capsules, infused edibles, are all easily and readily available with the proper know-how. But all of these have been synthesized in the basements of unsuspecting parents for decades.

“To my knowledge, LSD as well as many psychedelic drugs are not extremely difficult to chemically synthesize,” Dr. Darryl says. “Methods have been published and patented in the past. I recently had a colleague tell me they made the equivalent of 3.5 million doses in an approved GMP setting. With competition in the space for pricing of API’s (approved pharmaceutical ingredients) I do not expect the molecules themselves to be highly valuable. There are many companies in other countries who can and will make these molecules for cheap.”

“Unlike cannabis,” Dr. Darryl says, “people do not consume large quantities of psychedelics, and psilocybin is no exception. By my estimates, most people use less than 10 grams of mushrooms per year. Even if someone microdosed 1/10th of a gram every day, that’s only 36.5 grams in a year. I have smoked that much weed in one night.”

WELCOME TO ACID TOWN

There was no shortage of urban myths surrounding acid in Carlisle, Ontario which I imagine was the same everywhere. Everyone heard the tales and warnings about having flashbacks as an adult. Or, that acid was LSD mixed with rat poison. Or, that it was the most illegal drug because it was classified as a crime against the government. Or, and perhaps the biggest warning about acid was that users could go “clinically insane” after taking 75 hits combined even over a period of time. In our small town, we had no idea about dosage. We had no idea other than the experience. Also, no one gave a fuck at all.

The gates of Acid Town.

Several early mornings in high school, Paul and I would synchronize dropping acid or eating mushrooms so we’d be high by the time we met on the school bus. We would get shipped into a slightly bigger town called Waterdown for school. Our goal was to be “peaking” while playing freeze tag in first-period drama. We had far surpassed the 75 hits mark. The idea that this would make us “clinically insane” became funnier and funnier to us. What we had learned was that LSD was honing our ability to detect bullshit. We thought we had it all figured out. We jammed in our punk band all week and threw shows on the weekends where we’d sling hash and acid to our friends.

High doses of LSD seemed to give us a heightened ability to detect societal and social micro-transactions. For some it meant the ability to detect disingenuous behavior, others could focus on the flaws of our structured society, whatever the scenario, most will tell you that high doses of LSD force internal and external transparency. 

Paul somehow managed to become Student Council President of our high school. A miraculous feat considering we never went to school. One of Paul’s more successful initiatives, was a team building exercise designed and concocted by Paul on acid, where he would turn the school’s two story indoor atrium into a giant pirate ship.

His plan was to go to school high on acid while dressed as a pirate and make the entire student body and faculty walk a plank into a sea of crash mats.

Students participate in Paul’s Acid dream. 

The initiative was wildly successful and made the local papers. It was also a huge feature in that years’ student yearbook. Paul had the good sense to do the event sober. As it were, our antics wouldn’t be exposed just yet. 

Paul’s parents were lovely hippies who lived in the small town of Carlisle, Ontario. Paul’s mom was a grade two school teacher. She specialized in theater and song. His dad, a reclusive bearded genius who often referred to us as vampires because of our late-night antics. They definitely knew we were on more drugs than just weed, but weren’t sure what.

One school night our merry band of dipshits skipped out early to congregate in Paul’s parents basement, as we often did.

Paul had a lot of acid that night and we ate all of it. An hour or so later, we were having a time. We wandered around Paul’s parent’s house like giggling-acid-zombies observing with humility the absurdity of reality, as one often does on that drug.

We went about our business without a care in the world. In our exploits, we stumbled upon a video camera. This was an exciting find as video cameras weren’t nearly as common as they are now. We didn’t question the why or how this camera had appeared, how could it not be a good idea to film our LSD-induced antics?

We threw the camera over our shoulder and wandered out into the quiet streets of Carlisle, Ontario. Some light mischievous vandalism seemed to be on the menu.

Acid Town’s TD National Bank and Ass To Mouth Center. Free health care rules.

Our quest began with the changing of the letters on the portable marquees at the bank and church. We changed the church sign to read “Beavers & Cunts” instead of “Beavers and Scouts registration” and we changed the local bank’s sign to read, “Welcome To Acid Town.”

We were unsupervised gremlins worshiping at the altar of silly. Our mindset was to challenge all institutional structures and values.

High as fuck and camera still rolling, we rallied back to Paul’s basement dwelling. We had no intention of slowing down. Paul stripped down to tiny leopard print underwear, put on pigtails and wailed on guitar while sporting pink Minnie Mouse sunglasses. A few of us set the table top hockey on fire and played catching trails as the player pieces danced up and down the pressboard. It was excessive to say the least. There was also a ferret for some reason.

In Canada, setting one of these on fire is considered high treason.

The next day, we woke up in the pitch black to Paul’s Mom running down the steps to the basement. She was yelling at the top of her lungs, which was very odd for her. Paul’s Dad could also be heard in the background referring to us as Vampires.

“What the fuck did you do last night?” she yelled.

Paul did his best to cover for us. He said we had only been smoking weed but we were already busted. Hard.

As it turns out, the camera we found belonged to Paul’s mom’s school. We had accidentally taped over Paul’s Mom’s grade two student theater production with our acid trip.

Reenactment photo.

As legend has it; Paul’s mom hit play on the video camera assuming the kid’s play was cued up and left the classroom. When she returned, to her dismay, she found a lot of sad, disappointed and very confused six year olds.

After that, I was banned from Paul’s house. The jig was up. We were busted. In addition to video taping the evidence, we had also accidentally ratted ourselves out to my mom as well. I had left a message on her answering machine, letting her know I was going to stay at Paul’s house, but the machine also picked up Paul asking everyone how many hits of acid we all wanted in the background. We were terrible drug dealers. 

Keep cool, Ben. They don’t know you’re high. They don’t know what’s in your locker. Just stare at the ground and look exactly like a criminal.

A few nights later, we sat in Paul’s car overlooking Carlisle. Paul revealed that he wanted to infuse the town’s water supply with LSD. He wanted everyone to have as much fun as us.

Paul’s theory was that if we just gave everyone the tiniest bit, maybe LSD would help our uptight small town become more enlightened. Paul wanted to make Acid Town a reality.

As comically villainous as Paul’s theory could be interpreted, he had formulated the notion of microdosing. Although this delivery system would have landed us in jail for a very long time. This is where we decided to chill on the acid for a bit. Maybe let all of the trouble we were in blow over. By this time, everyone in the area knew we were the “Beavers & Cunts” responsible for laying waste to half of the town.

A year or two later, I moved to a new town and slowly drifted from that crowd. Started a new band shortly after, but I think about those days fondly. I don’t regret a thing.

While “enhanced” water supplies are not likely to be the route we see the medical world take psychedelics as a medicine, Doctor Darryl believes that controlled psychedelic experiences can be beneficial.

“To date, the programs involving legal access to psychedelics do so in a highly controlled setting with psychotherapy included, often two people overseeing the actual experience,” Dr. Darryl says. “From a regulatory perspective, this is quite understandable so as to mitigate risks that may be associated with consumption of high doses causing a psychedelic experience.” 

Thirty years later, I returned to Acid Town and I definitely look like I did acid as a teenager.

In retrospect, none of us died from rat poison, none of us are clinically insane, and none of us ended up being considered enemies of the establishment.

Years later, I still keep in touch with Paul and most of that friend group. Paul ended up becoming a real estate mogul, architect, and a great dad. When we reminisce, we laugh at our days under the influence of acid.

Everyone in that group feels that LSD made them a better person in one way or another. Whether the drug itself made us hyper-aware, or fried our brains just enough that we see the world a little differently, most 90s  “acid-heads” will agree that the drug is a vessel towards introspection and often, humility. While at one point we were avid users of LSD, for most, it’s been years since experimenting again. Some haven’t since. 

The potential psychedelics can have on our society is vast. If you’re looking to invest in psychedelic startups, do as much acid as possible. Immediately. You might learn that you dislike LSD. It might become a religion. It might help you detect who the pump and dumps are. Or it might put you 30 years ahead of the thought curve like Paul.

It’s inevitable that Acid Town will be gentrified. It has unlimited potential. However, investors might want to test the water before buying.

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