Alex Abbiss (Former Psychopathic Records CEO) Announced For Astronomicon 7!

Here’s some quick but unexpected Majik Ninja Entertainment news! Don’t let the incorrect spelling of the promo fool you. But Alex Abbiss, the co-founder and former President and CEO of Psychopathic Records has been announced a guest for Astronomicon 7. There will be a Twiztid panel with Alex Abbiss too! Check out the promo Astronomicon 7 guest announcement with Alex Abbiss right below! Grab your advanced Astronomicon 7 (April 12th -14th Livonia, Michigan) tickets here:

from Faygoluvers

A Master of Concept

With Chef Chris Binotto’s extensive experience in fine dining as well as his love for cannabis and creativity, he’s always seeking to create one-of-a-kind experiences. Binotto has worked under famous culinary figures such as chef Graham Elliot and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and on many teams that have achieved Forbes 5 Star and Michelin Star awards. Following his experience in fine cuisine, Binotto moved on to become a corporate chef for a company that develops menus for numerous creative pop-up restaurant concepts such as Beetle House (a Halloween and Tim Burton-inspired restaurant with locations in Los Angeles and New York), as well as other pop-up restaurant menus themed around films such as Austin Powers, Star Wars, and Home Alone.

Binotto has also had his hand in the culinary competition scene. He was a finalist on the cannabis-themed Food Network show Chopped 420 in 2021, and, more recently, he was a competitor on season four of BBQ Brawl on Food Network featuring chef Bobby Flay, chef Anne Burrell, and The Kitchen co-host Sunny Anderson.

Courtesy Chris Binotto

Binotto’s day-to-day work is dedicated to two primary projects: pop-up and catering company Embers & Ash and invitation-only dining experience the Cannabis Supper Club. While Embers & Ash offers non-cannabis dining events that channel Binotto’s “primal caveman style cooking” over a live fire, his menus with the Cannabis Supper Club explore a wide variety of infused dishes.

Through both the literal and figuratively intense heat of the kitchen that he’s experienced throughout his career, cannabis has always been a part of Binotto’s lifestyle.

“Cooking Is stressful, and I always enjoyed my partaking,” he says. “[Cannabis] really helps me personally and helps me to focus, helps me to calm and stay centered in a whirlwind of madness that is the kitchen every single day, every night. Cannabis is really just a helpful tool. I used to be a young hothead, and it kind of helped me mellow out a little bit.”

Courtesy Chris Binotto

In 2017, Binotto and his business partner Mark Leibel co-founded the Cannabis Supper Club, which acts as a platform to showcase different cannabis brands, as well as culinary artists, farmers, and other small businesses. Binotto’s role as chef has given him the freedom to merge his love for cannabis with his passion for creating unique dishes. 

“I think being able to bring community together through food, through cannabis, and through all sorts of other mediums of art… I think it’s just something very special that we all share and connect,” Binotto says.

While Cannabis Supper Club menu items are usually paired with flower, Binotto developed a special 7/10 menu recently with both concentrates and flower from Maven Genetics. His multi-course tasting menu included light, summer-inspired dishes using seasonal produce including a “sativa-viche” taco (featuring shrimp marinated in yuzu sauce), smoked watermelon gazpacho, peaches n’ pork (braised bacon with spiced peach chutney), passion fruit boba, coffee mole-crusted New York steak, and a peach tart dessert. This was complemented with a handful of Maven Genetics’s offerings such as Orange Bellini (Orange Truffle Souffle x Peach Cream Gelato), Honey Lemon Hibiscus (Sour Sangria x Lemon Pastries), Grape Ambrosia (Grape Pancakes x Ambrosia), Umami Butter (Gelatti x Black Diamond X), and Goji Berry Runtz (Kiwi Sorbet x Runtz).

Courtesy Chris Binotto

With every menu item, Binotto strives to showcase the sophistication of cannabis as an ingredient, and also elevate the cannabis community.

“One of my goals was to prove that there are real true chefs that work with cannabis,” Binotto says. “And I don’t want to say like, ‘I’m a cannabis chef.’ I’m a chef with many ranges.”

Even with his extensive culinary career, Binotto always comes back to one thing—providing a unique experience for diners.

“I want to create lifelong memories for these people,” he says. “I want them to always remember this menu or this evening, or whatever it may be. But I want to create that because anyone can cook. I mean, not everyone should, but anyone can, you know? And so it’s just like, what do you really want to do? Do you want to cook for a living? That’s okay, cool. Or do you want to create a fucking experience? And that’s what I’m all about.”

This article was originally published in the October 2023 issue of High Times Magazine.

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Jamaica Company Exports THC to U.S. for Analytic Testing

A cannabis company with operations based in Jamaica announced this week that it has successfully exported cannabis-derived THC products to the United States, where they will be tested at a facility licensed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The company, Pure Jamaican and its GMP-certified, licensed pharma manufacturer Seven-10 Pharmaceuticals, said the shipment marks the first legal export of THC to the United States from Jamaica in a move that elevates the Caribbean island nation’s role in the global cannabis supply chain.

Jamaica legalized the commercial export of cannabis for medical, scientific and therapeutic purposes in 2015, although government regulations for exporting medical marijuana products were not approved until 2021. Pure Jamaican plans to take advantage of the opportunity by legally exporting proprietary pharmaceutical products with cannabis-derived THC, hemp-derived CBD and other cannabinoids to the United States, Brazil and other major markets around the world.

Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Wellness granted permission for Seven-10 Pharmaceuticals to export cannabis-derived THC products to the United States, while the DEA issued corresponding import permits. The company then shipped the products to a DEA-licensed facility where analytic testing was successfully completed. Scott Cathcart, CEO of Pure Jamaican and Seven-10 Pharmaceuticals, said the milestone “is a proud moment for Jamaica and for our group of companies.” 

“Jamaica has long been associated with ‘ganja’ but never before in this context as a producer and legal exporter of THC as a pharmaceutical-grade medicine,” Cathcart said in a statement from the company. “As the only company in Jamaica licensed for pharmaceutical manufacturing of cannabinoids, we are proud to be leading the way to elevating the role of Jamaica in the global cannabis ecosystem.”

Shipment Comes As DEA Ponders Rescheduling

The first legal export of cannabis from Jamaica to the U.S. comes as the DEA is considering a proposal to relax restrictions on marijuana under federal law. Last summer, Rachel Levine, the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), wrote a letter to DEA head Anne Milgram recommending that cannabis be removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. 

The recommendation was issued following an executive order from President Joseph Biden in October 2022 that directed the heads of the Department of Justice and HHS to review the classification of marijuana under federal law. Under the HHS recommendation, which was issued after a review of the available medical and scientific evidence, cannabis would be rescheduled under Schedule III of the CSA, a less restrictive classification than Schedule I that would ease cannabis research and likely lead to the approval of cannabis pharmaceuticals.

If the DEA approves the rescheduling, Seven-10 intends to request DEA permits to ship Pure Jamaican pharmaceutical THC products from Jamaica to patients in the US. Such shipments would be made to patients with a valid prescription and would comply with all relevant regulations from the DEA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as state pharmacy distribution regulations.

Shullette Cox, the president of Jamaica Promotions Corp. (JAMPRO), a trade and investment promotions corporation representing the Government of Jamaica, said that “the growth of the cannabis industry for medicinal purposes has been a priority of the government of Jamaica and particularly, the export of value-added products from Jamaica. The success of Pure Jamaican and Seven-10 Pharmaceuticals is applauded as JAMPRO continues to facilitate the local medicinal cannabis industry and ensuring its role in driving the growth of exports.”

Seven-10 has already begun shipping medicinal cannabis formulations to patients in Brazil, where regulations allowing pharmacy sales of such products went into effect in 2019. Prime Jamaica noted that together, the U.S. and Brazil comprise a market totaling more than 500 million people.

“This is a labor of love and not easy,” said Dr. Ellen Campbell Grizzle, chief regulatory and compliance officer of Pure Jamaican and Seven-10 Pharmaceuticals. “Jamaica has 52 percent of the world’s medicinal plants in our small island nation, and we are very proud to be exploring ways to identify new botanical medicines to bring health, wellness, new exports and economic growth to our country.”

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Elizabeth Warren Reveals Her ‘Dream Blunt Rotation’

On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) joined the Pod Save America podcast and revealed who her “dream blunt rotation” would be when asked. It was hypothetical, as she doesn’t smoke, and the senator kept things positive in her responses.

In what they called a special President’s Day edition episode Feb. 19, Pod Save America co-host Jon Favreau (the former Barack Obama staffer, not the MCU actor) asked her about her push to deschedule pot, and also who she’s most and least likely to invite to a blunt rotation out of a list of pre-selected choices. 

The list of choices for the “dream blunt rotation” included politicians like President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), as well as celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Taylor Swift.

Warren played along, not keeping things too serious, revealing that she could only pick one person for her dream rotation. “I’m just doing The Rock four times,” she said, laughing.

When Favreau asked about her “nightmare blunt rotation,” she was given the choices of her perceived opponents: Elon Musk, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, and Mark Zuckerberg. 

Warren declined to answer, keeping things classy.   

“I’m starting to feel a little sick,” she laughed. “That is really awful to contemplate.”

Earlier in the conversation, Favreau also asked her about a more serious topic—her recent push to deschedule cannabis, joining several other lawmakers. 

“You and other Democratic senators recently asked the Biden administration to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act—entirely—which would decriminalize it on a federal level. Have you heard back from DOJ or the DEA, or had any conversations with the administration about this?

“DEA?” She asked. “We’re pushing on them now. I want them to deschedule marijuana altogether. Look, if the Republicans didn’t block us, we’d run this through Congress. You just legalize it.

“There still could be regulations around it like there is around alcohol—you’ve got to be a certain age, you got to have certain disclosures about the potency and so on, I’m all for that,” Warren said. “But I really want to say to the DEA: Guys, come on. It is not 1958, and we don’t need to be terrified of this stuff. Let’s just deschedule it and go forward.” 

Pod Save America is hosted by former Obama aides Favreau, along with Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Vietor.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Push to Deschedule

During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Warren discussed the push to deschedule cannabis fully rather than moving it from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.

“Right now marijuana is scheduled, it’s called, as a drug by the DEA at the same risk as heroin,” Warren said. “And that means not only is it illegal, you can’t even do research on it. It’s, so no—and what we’re saying in this letter is, ‘Guys get with it,’ at the DEA. It’s not 1954. More than half of all states have legalized marijuana.”

In a letter led by Warren and Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), along with nine other Democrats including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) among others

The letter urges the DEA and Biden administration to deschedule cannabis altogether, recognizing that rescheduling to Schedule III would be a “significant step forward” but would not resolve the “worst harms of the current system.”

“Thus, the DEA should deschedule marijuana altogether. Marijuana’s placement in the CSA has had a devastating impact on our communities and is increasingly out of step with state law and public opinion,” the legislators said in the letter dated Jan. 30.

Warren routinely calls for a just and equitable cannabis industry. But the biggest change possible would be removing cannabis entirely from the list of controlled substances.

Biden could use a boost this upcoming general election, given what’s at stake. A January survey, conducted by Lake Research Partners, revealed a number of key findings surrounding registered voters and attitudes surrounding cannabis, namely that Biden could boost his favorability by 11% among younger voters should cannabis move from Schedule I to Schedule III.

The survey demonstrated the support behind rescheduling cannabis, with 58% of participants showing support and 19% opposed. Researchers wrote that support also crossed most demographic lines, and no more than one-third of voters in any major subgroup was opposed to rescheduling. Young voters, those aged 18-25, showed the strongest levels of support for rescheduling at 65%, with nearly half indicating they felt strongly about the issue. Support was strong across age demographics, with seniors showing support by a double-digit margin.

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Smoking Surpasses Injection as Leading Ingestion Method in Overdose Deaths

More Americans are overdosing and dying by smoking illegal drugs as opposed to injecting them.

Of the 109,000 recorded overdose deaths which occurred in 2022, almost 70 percent involved fentanyl and a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that fentanyl users are beginning to favor smoking as their preferred method of ingestion, surpassing those who favor injection. 

“From January–June 2020 to July–December 2022, the percentage of overdose deaths with evidence of smoking increased 73.7%, and the percentage with evidence of injection decreased 29.1%; similar changes were observed in all U.S. regions. Changes were most pronounced in deaths with [illegally manufactured fentanyls] detected, with or without stimulant detection,” the CDC study said.

The study was performed using CDC data taken from death certificates, postmortem toxicology testing, and medical examiner or coroner reports over 28 different police jurisdictions. This collection of data showed that as fentanyl has infiltrated the American drug supply, opiate users have made a distinct and notable transition from primarily injecting heroin to primarily smoking fentanyl. The method of ingestion was determined using information from police investigations, witness reports, and autopsy data.

This data collected from the CDC revealed notable trends. From January 2020 to December 2022, the 28 jurisdictions surveyed recorded 139,740 overdose deaths. Deaths increased 20.2%, from January–June 2020 to July–December 2022 with 21,046 deaths and 25,301 deaths respectively recorded. Deaths involving fentanyl increased by 8.4% over the same time periods from 71.4% to 77.4%. 

The kicker here is overdose deaths with evidence that the user smoked fentanyl increased 109.1% when comparing the two time periods with 2,794 deaths recorded in the first half of 2020 and 5,843 in the second half of 2022. Overdose deaths with evidence of fentanyl injection decreased by 14.6% with 4,780 recorded in the first half of 2020 and 4,080 in the second half of 2022.

“The leading route of use in drug overdose deaths changed from injection during January–June 2020 (22.7% of deaths) compared with ingestion (15.2%), snorting (13.6%), and smoking (13.3%) to smoking during July–December 2022 (23.1% of deaths) compared with snorting (16.2%), injection (16.1%), and ingestion (14.5%),” the CDC study said. “During July–December 2022, most deaths with evidence of smoking (79.7%), snorting (84.5%), or ingestion (86.5%) had no evidence of injection; among deaths with information on route of use, 81.9% had evidence of a noninjection route.”

Contrary to what most current or former drug users may believe from anecdotal data, smoking actually presents a greater addiction potential than injection for most drugs because of the way smoking delivers psychoactive compounds to the bloodstream and subsequently the brain. As such, it can also make it easier to overdose when smoking. As the following language from the University of Utah illustrates, the faster psychoactive compounds make it to the brain the more addictive they are and smoking is the fastest known method of ingestion.

“The fastest way to get a drug to the brain is by smoking it. When a drug like tobacco smoke is taken into the lungs, nicotine (the addictive chemical in tobacco) seeps into lung blood where it can quickly travel to the brain. This fast delivery is one reason smoking cigarettes is so addicting,” the University of Utah said.

The same information from the University of Utah went on to explain that injection is the second fastest way of delivering drugs to the brain, which could at least partially explain why fentanyl users have largely transitioned to smoking in lieu of injecting.

“Injecting a drug directly into a blood vessel is the second fastest way to get a drug to the brain, followed by snorting or sniffing it through the nose. A slow mode of delivery is ingestion, such as drinking alcohol. The effects of alcohol take many minutes rather than a few seconds to cause behavioral and biological changes in the brain,” the University of Utah said.

The CDC said that while injection poses many potential risks in terms of complications from improper injection techniques, infectious disease transmission from dirty needles etc, smoking fentanyl may present an increased risk for overdose. They stressed the nationwide need for education and harm reduction programs to help curb the dramatic increase in overdose deaths America has seen since fentanyl reared its ugly head. 

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