February 8, 2016

Liz McDuffie Gives Medical Marijuana a Makeover

"Historically, at least in my lifetime certainly, this is bringing cannabis back into pharmacology, in the wake of 70 years of really horrible persecution."


Amidst an era of medical marijuana proponents and educators suffering at the hands of repeated federal and local crackdowns, one woman holds her own. Her name is Liz McDuffie.

Growing up in Louisiana in the 1950s, Liz McDuffie’s only relief from debilitating migraines was pushing her skull against the headboard of her bed to release pressure. As an adult, the headaches continued to plague her, to the point that her only refuge was a dark room and a bag of ice.

Then, one day in 1969, on the advice of a doctor she met while teaching in Germany, she tried hashish. For the first time, she was able to function without the throbbing pain.
As her headaches subsided, they were replaced with an insatiable curiosity about the medicinal properties of cannabis. The deeper McDuffie dug, the more she realized how much the plant was shrouded in misinformation, despite its 3,000-year history.

After teaching for the U.S. Army and the Pasadena Unified School District, earning a postgraduate degree from USC’s School of Public Administration and running the upscale consignment boutique Ritz Resale, McDuffie shifted her focus. In a self-described “holy endeavor,” she dedicated her life to the one thing that had allowed her to reclaim hers.

“It seemed like it was the only road for me to take,” she says in an accent that still carries hints of Southern twang.

The passionate educator’s energy and determination belie her age. At 70, McDuffie’s petite frame is all the more accentuated as she stands where she’s most comfortable — in front of a classroom full of students. Her copper-streaked hair falls softly around her delicate glasses, but her fervor shines through, with eyes that rarely stray and hands that whirl to emphasize her words.

Her creed, at its core, is that “knowledge is power.”

“It all has to do with education,” she says. “That’s really how you change anything.”

Since 2006, McDuffie has been director of the Medical Cannabis Caregivers Directory, or MCC, a nonprofit center where students learn how to grow, use and sell medical marijuana.

Read more at LA Weekly.

The OTHER Herbs – Basil

As most of you know, marijuana has numerous medicinal properties. But are you aware of the other herbs out there which possess their own special healing and protective properties?

Herbs contain a more concentrated amount of antioxidants than you’ll get from fruits and vegetables alone. Not only that, but herbs often possess a wider array of antioxidants. So by integrating herbs into your diet, you are protecting your body from free radical damage in a substantial way.

In the past, I’ve written about the benefits of thyme and the benefits of rosemary.


This week, the spotlight is on basil.



Basil or Sweet Basil is a common name for the culinary herb Ocimum basilicum of the family Lamiaceae (mint). It’s a half-hardy annual plant, best known as a culinary herb featured in Italian cuisine but also found commonly in the cuisine of Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Depending on the species and cultivar, basil leaves may taste like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell. There are more than 60 varieties of basil, all varying in taste.


Health Properties:

  • Both fresh basil and basil oil have strong antibacterial capabilities. In fact, basil has been shown to stop the growth of certain bacteria, even some that had grown resistant to antibiotics.
  • Basil (particularly as an extract or oil) has exceptionally powerful antioxidant properties that can protect the body from premature aging, common skin issues, age-related problems and even some types of cancer.
  • Basil contains the flavonoids orientin and vicenin, which are plant pigments that shield your cell structures from oxygen and radiation damage.
  • Basil can be applied to wounds to help prevent bacterial infections.
  • By adding basil oil to your salad dressings, you can help ensure your vegetables are safe to eat.
  • Basil oil can be used to treat constipation, stomach cramps and indigestion as well as the cold, flu, asthma, whooping cough, bronchitis and sinus infections.
  • Basil is a great source of magnesium, an essential mineral that helps the body’s blood vessels relax, which can improve blood flow.
  • Some herbalists recommend it for easing anxiety and headaches because of the basil tea’s sedative properties.
  • Ingesting basil as an herb or supplement can give the body the ability to combat viral infections, including colds, flu, and herpes-family viruses, much like echinacea.
  • Chewing on basil leaves is good for an upset stomach.


Random Facts and Tips about Basil :


  • In Mexico, basil is supposed to keep a lover’s eye off others.
  • Basil is considered a powerful protector in Haiti.
  • During British colonial days in India, magistrates would have Hindu witnesses swear on this holy herb.
  • The ancient Greeks and Romans thought basil would only grow if you screamed wild curses and shouted intelligibly while sowing the seeds. They also believed if you left a basil leaf under a pot, it would turn into a scorpion.
  • Salome hid John the Baptist’s head in a pot of basil to cover up the odor of it’s decomposition.
  • In Italy it is a token of love and in Romania if a girl gives a sprig to her boyfriend, they are engaged.
  • The scent of basil is conducive to meditation and the plant is often used in magic.


Cooking with Basil:

Fresh basil sold already cut, will keep for a few days if refrigerated and wrapped in a damp paper towel. Dried basil has a completely different taste than fresh, so the latter is preferable. (For pesto, definitely fresh basil!)




  • 2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1-cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1-cup  cashews
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1-teaspoon salt
  • 1-teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


DIRECTIONS: Put the cilantro, parsley, lime juice, cashews, olive oil, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and grated cheese into a bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until mixture is smooth, 8 to 10 pulses. If mixture is too thick, add more olive oil; if too thin, add more cashews.  Pour into one-cup freezer containers.  Use one of the containers within a few days; freeze the others for later.   From the Medford House “Ultimate Pesto Cookbook”


Do not use for aromatherapy or medicinal purposes if you are pregnant. Basil’s properties can bring on
menstrual cycles. Do not give infusions of basil to children under ten.











Beth Mann is a popular blogger and writer for Open Salon and Salon. She is also an accomplished actor and director with over 15 years of experience, as well as the president of Hot Buttered Media. She currently resides at the Jersey shore where she can often be seen surfing or singing karaoke at a local dive bar.

Contact: maryjane {at } freedomisgreen.com

Drug Testing Hits Marijuana Users the Hardest


“Well, I didn’t really smoke it. My roommate blew it in my face. A bunch of times. Do you think I’ll pass?”

First I tried to figure out why my friend felt the need to have pot smoke blown repeatedly in her face. A fear of holding joints? A mating ritual akin to “Why don’t you give me a little massage”?

Then I had to wonder about the bigger issue: drug testing and all of its nefarious implications.

My friend is a geologist. She doesn’t operate heavy machinery. She doesn’t operate on hearts. She works with rocks and dirt. She writes reports about working with rocks and dirt. Why, then, does she have to pee for perfect strangers?

“I don’t know. I hate it too. I just have to.”

And again, we allow our constitutional rights go right up in smoke.

A few facts about drug testing:

  • According the American Management Association, only 8 percent of companies with drug testing programs had performed any cost-benefit analysis.
  • The National Academy of Sciences formed the Committee on Drug Use in the Workplace claims, “Illicit drugs contribute little to the overall rate of industrial accidents. This is because most workers who use illicit drugs never use them at work. And when they do so, it is in a way that does not affect their work performance.”
  • The most common type of testing specimen is urine, followed closely by hair, saliva and breath testing. Blood testing is seldom used for employment testing, except in cases of accidents or court order.
  • Most employers use a standard five-panel test of “street drugs,” consisting of marijuana (THC), cocaine, PCP, opiates (such as codeine and morphine) and amphetamines (including methamphetamine). Most drugs, as well as alcohol, are out of the system within days of use, except for marijuana.
  • Urinalysis tests for marijuana, in their current form, are not suitable for detecting drug impairment or recent drug use because the procedure only looks for and detects drug metabolites, not the parent drug THC. Presently, no dose-concentration relationship exists correlating drug metabolite levels to drug impairment.
  • Marijuana (or the metabolites created from it) can hang out in your body for quite some time because of its fat solubility. The amount of time ranges from several weeks to as long as 70 days, depending on body weight, frequency, etc. This means that drug testing in the workplace tends to discriminate against pot smokers most readily and easily. And, as mentioned above, pot smokers don’t tend to smoke on the job (unless they work for the arcades, movie theaters or the circus. I used to get stoned before working at this ice cream parlor at a mall. Good fun.)

Not what gets me (and undoubtedly many of the readers here) is that you could be a complete drunk, pose a genuine threat to your workplace, and easily be overlooked by most drug tests. (Heck, it’s only booze, right? The most dangerous “drug” out there.)

But what do expect employers supposed to do? They don’t want to hire a bunch of druggies. Presumably, “potheads” and the like costs them money in missed hours, workplace accidents and, I don’t know, general stoney behavior. But it doesn’t take a scientist to realize that alcohol can be much more a problem in the workplace. Pot smokers don’t tend to suffer from crippling hangovers or the shakes at lunchtime. Pot smokers don’t tend to be full-blown addicts.

Here’s some possible alternatives to discriminatory drug testing, suggested by the Cannabis Consumers Campaign :

Rather than submit a person to drug testing, why not use the traditional method of checking references to find out about an potential employee?

Supervisors need to be trained to identify, confront, or refer impaired employees to Employee Assistance Programs or other intervention programs. Impairment testing not only detects people who are impaired by drugs and alcohol, but also by sleep deprivation, stress, fatigue, emotional problems, over-the counter medications and prescription medications. These tests, once administered, can improve safety far better than drug tests can. They are not discriminatory. Rather, they measure everyone equally by their performance, which is the most significant factor in employment.

That’s crazy talk. Call previous employers? Watch an employee’s behavior? Why, when strangers can examine your bodily fluids and make false judgments about your performance ability?

So to recap:

  • Drug testing costs a lot of money and doesn’t prove to be effective.
  • Drug testing discriminates against pot smokers.
  • Drug testing leaves raging alcoholics, well, raging.

Where’s the cup? Sign me up!

My geologist friend has a good job now. (She passed.) It pays well, she’s insured, she’s doing what she likes, but she sacrificed privacy and her beliefs to get it. I, on the other hand, may never have that kind of career-advancing, well-paid job because I would never submit to a piss test. So a drug test means more than a humiliating piss in a cup; it has far-reaching implications that shape professional paths and money-making ability. And that pisses me off.

[Warning: Below is a photograph of a geologist high on the job. This could be you.]



MAF Background Screening



Jahan Marcu


Beth Mann is a popular blogger and writer for Open Salon and Salon. She is also an accomplished artist with over 15 years of experience, as well as the president of Hot Buttered Media. She currently resides at the Jersey shore where she can be found surfing or singing karaoke at a local dive bar.

Contact: maryjane {at } freedomisgreen.com

Obama Speaks Out on Recent Medical Marijuana Raids in Rolling Stone Magazine

Barack Obama and his administration seem to be a bundle of contradictions when it comes to regulations surrounding the production of medical marijuana in our country. In turn, states have been stymied (or chosen to stonewall, as in the case of New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie) by the confusion, when attempting to enact their own state laws, fearing possible federal prosecution.

Finally, Obama speaks directly in a recent Rolling Stone interview, clarifying his position:

In the Rolling Stone interview, Obama said his view has not changed. He noted that the raids in California have focused on large-scale commercial operations that fall outside the scope of doctors prescribing medical cannabis.

“What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana,” Obama said. “I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana — and the reason is, because it’s against federal law.”

Obama also pointed to presiding over a change in federal sentencing guidelines that shrank the disparity between mandatory penalties for crack and powder cocaine users. Crack users have long been hit with far harsher sentences, disproportionately affecting the minorities who are far more likely to use crack than powder cocaine.







Beth Mann is a popular blogger and writer for Open Salon and Salon. She is also an accomplished artist with over 15 years of experience, as well as the president of Hot Buttered Media. She currently resides at the Jersey shore where she can be found surfing or singing karaoke at a local dive bar.

Contact: maryjane {at } freedomisgreen.com


Cannabis College Crackdown and Other New World Orders


Today, I woke up to find that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense,  however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.

Now, I’m no Constitutional know-it-all by any stretch of the imagination, but I seem to recall something called, oh what is it…oh that’s right: The Fourth Amendment, which goes a little something like this:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,  papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall  not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,  supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place  to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Interesting. The HIGHEST COURT IN THE LAND just rolled back the Fourth Amendment…because it can.

But then again, that pesky Constitution as well as laws that the public has resoundingly voted in favor of don’t seem to stop public officials from doing whatever the hell they want.

Take a look at Oaksterdam College, which the DEA and IRS raided on Monday, shutting down the cannabis industry trade school while carrying out a federal search warrant. And guess what? They don’t have to explain what they’re doing to anyone because all of the paperwork is “under seal” other than to confirm it is part of a (insert sarcastic laughter) “ongoing joint investigation.”

Now, Oakland doesn’t have a lot of money. But it does have a lot of crime. Which coincidentally occurred during this needless raid. In a different part of the city, seven people at Oikos Christian University were lined up and gunned down by a former student.

We will probably never know whether the limited police force raiding a successful trade school could have actually fought real crime only miles away. (You know, do that “life saving” thing that we pay them to do.)

Richard Lee, who runs the “cannabis college”, was detained then released. His home was raided by  agents with guns (because this wheelchair bound activist is such a threat. Where’s your raid on Wall Street?), according to Dale Sky Jones,  chancellor of  Oaksterdam. Four marijuana nursery workers were detained at Oaksterdam. No arrests were made.

Don Duncan of Americans for Safe Access writes:

This is a grave injustice against local patients and a slap in the face for a city that has led the state in sensible regulations for medical cannabis. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) helped to mobilize protesters this morning, and is working to frame this story in the media right now. We wish we did not need an Emergency Response Campaign but today’s events show that we still do.

So whose to blame for all of this needless militaristic force that descended upon a legitimate trade college going about their business?

From left, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner (Eastern District), U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy (Southern District), U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag (Northern District) and U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte (Central District)


These four attorneys stated in October that they would aggressively  prosecute many marijuana dispensaries as profit-making criminal  enterprises. Staying true to their word, three dispensaries in San Francisco, one in  Marin County and 50 in Sacramento have closed under  pressure, in addition to about 150 others throughout the state of California.

This team of legal vigilantes have made it their mission to defy their constituents’ wishes under the guise of “protecting the children”, whose schools may be too close to dispensaries. (Note: The “protecting the children” defense is almost always a cloak for politically motivated agenda.)

“Its a total waste of federal resources,” Stephanie Tucker,  spokesperson for the San Francisco medical cannabis task force, told The Huffington Post. “They’re attacking a peaceful, regulated community, and  it’s wasting money. Shame on them.”

Indeed shame on them. And shame on all of the legislators who have taken it upon themselves to rewrite The Constitution and hoist their own self-created political agenda upon a public that voted them into office.

God bless America…it’s going to need all the help it can get.


Beth Mann is a popular blogger and writer for Open Salon and Salon. She is also an accomplished artist with over 15 years of experience, as well as the president of Hot Buttered Media. She currently resides at the Jersey shore where she can be found surfing or singing karaoke at a local dive bar.

Contact: maryjane {at } freedomisgreen.com


Contributions by:

Jahan Marcu is currently investigating the pharmacology of cannabinoid receptors. He was working at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute when exciting discoveries were made showing enhanced anti-cancer effects with THC and CBD from the Cannabis plant. The findings were published in the Journal of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. In 2009 he received the Billy Martin Award from the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS). Jahan is currently the vice-chair the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board at Americans for Safe Access (ASA). Questions? Contact science@freedomisgreen.com

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent any University, business or affiliates. While the information provided in this blog is from published scientific studies it is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.

Patricia Smith – Behind Bars in the New Hampshire Department of Corrections


Patricia Smith’s appeal was denied several months ago. This New Hampshire-based nurse with no criminal background is currently serving the next 2 – 4 years in the New Hampshire Department of Corrections for growing marijuana in her own home. Financially she was nailed too, paying over $35,000 in fines.

Letters to inmates help considerably with morale, self-esteem and connectivity to the “outside world.” And it only takes a few minutes.

In general, it’s best not to go on endlessly about the injustice surrounding her case (she gets it, trust me), but instead write about yourself, incidents in your life, interests, etc. Think of writing to a pen pal in a really crappy situation. Keep it informal, supportive and friendly.

Sabrina from NORML passed on this information:

Please write to hospice nurse and MMJ patient Patricia Smith who was sent the NH State Prison for growing medicine. She is serving 2-4 years. Please send her a letter of encouragement and solidarity today. Patricia Smith, Inmate #90724, NHSP/W 317 Mast Rd, Goffstown, NH 03045. If you wish to send her books or magazine subscriptions, they must be sent directly from recognized mail order companies or publishers. The receipt must be included within the packaging or it will be returned to the sender. Let’s support our struggling but brave sister.

More on Patricia Smith’s story:

Beth Mann is a popular blogger and writer for Open Salon and Salon. She is also an accomplished artist with over 15 years of experience, as well as the president of Hot Buttered Media. She currently resides at the Jersey shore where she can be found surfing or singing karaoke at a local dive bar.

Contact: maryjane {at } freedomisgreen.com

Martial Artist Ronda Rousey Speaks Out on Medical Marijuana

Ronda Rousey speaks out (actually shouts out, if you listen to the interview below) on medical marijuana after fellow fighter Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana. Due to his attention deficit disorder, Diaz has a medical marijuana card in California, but unfortunately, it doesn’t supersede commission policy.

Rousey fights back by saying that Diaz’s privacy is being invaded and the repercussions are severe and unfair.

“They have just as much of right to say that ‘you know what? We don’t believe that athletes should be promiscuous so we’re going to start testing for genital herpes and genital warts,'” said Rousey. “‘We’re going to start testing women for birth control because we don’t think you be having premarital sex. They don’t have a right to do it. It has nothing to do with sports.”

Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman Keith Kizer disagrees.

“The drug is banned because of the damage it does to the person taking it. It could make you lethargic, slow your reflexes, and those are dangerous things in a combat sport,” Kizer told the L.A. Times in 2009.

Call me crazy but I get the distinct impression that this man’s reflexes are just fine:

Ronda Rousey’s Interview:


Source: Yahoo!Sports


Beth Mann is a popular blogger and writer for Open Salon and Salon. She is also an accomplished artist with over 15 years of experience, as well as the president of Hot Buttered Media. She currently resides at the Jersey shore where she can be found surfing or singing karaoke at a local dive bar.

Contact: maryjane {at } freedomisgreen.com

Whitney Houston, Dead at 48

When I decided to be a singer, my mother warned me I’d be alone a lot. Basically we all are. Loneliness comes with life. ~ Whitney Houston


Whitney Houston died today.

It’s interesting how some celebrity deaths impact you. Or at least me, they do. Perhaps the hardest are the ones who helped me get through a difficult time or moved me deeply enough to make a real difference in my life. Whitney would easily fall into that category. She was a true blue diva, fully blossomed and confident in her talent. She possessed that grand sort of assuredness that so many women strive to possess, myself included. And secretly, I admired her “whacked” side. She made choices for herself and did so unapologetically. Unstable, sure. But always proud.

And that voice. Say what you will about her sad personal trajectory, but her voice was like no other. It was a national treasure.

The New York Times wrote that Houston “possesses one of her generation’s most powerful gospel-trained voices, but she eschews many of the churchier mannerisms of her forerunners. She uses ornamental gospel phrasing only sparingly, and instead of projecting an earthy, tearful vulnerability, communicates cool self-assurance and strength, building pop ballads to majestic, sustained peaks of intensity.”

As of present, no one is sure how she died. Undoubtedly it will be a combination of a grueling life, years of tolerating an abusive relationship, the drugs, the booze, the fame…all coalesced and took their inevitable toll.

To the women:

May we never shy away from our deepest and most soulful expression.
May we steer decidedly away from toxic relationships that erode our very existence.
May we know how to manage the demons within that lead us to lethal self-medication.


This is one of my favorite recorded performances, showcasing her mastery and confidence.


Beth Mann is a popular blogger and writer for Open Salon and Salon. She is a popular writer as well as the president of Hot Buttered Media, a full service media company. She currently resides at the Jersey shore where she can often be seen surfing or singing, thanks to women like Whitney, who gave her the confidence to give it a try.

Contact: maryjane {at } freedomisgreen.com

Patricia Smith’s Appeal DENIED – No Privacy in Backyard Expected

In another stomach-turning example of judicial injustice and marijuana-related arrests, Patricia Smith’s recent appeal has been denied. This New Hampshire-based nurse with no criminal background will do time for growing marijuana in her own home, in addition to paying over $35,000 in fines. Please forward this story. Patricia Smith hasn’t gotten the same media coverage as Patricia Spottedcrow and others, though is a victim in this never-ending “war on drugs” nonetheless.

New Hampshire’s highest court has upheld a woman’s marijuana-growing conviction, ruling she had no reasonable expectation to privacy in a wooded area of her property from which police observed her house and detected the smell of marijuana coming from a vent.

Patricia Smith of Haverhill was charged in 2009 after police raided her house and found a pot-growing operation and 120 plants. During court proceedings, a superior court denied Smith’s motion to suppress evidence.

In appealing to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, Smith’s attorney argued that police violated Smith’s constitutional right to privacy and protection from unreasonable searches when they essentially conducted a stakeout in the woods behind her home.

Source: Boston.com



Beth Mann is a popular blogger and writer for Open Salon and Salon. She is also an accomplished artist with over 15 years of experience, as well as the president of Hot Buttered Media. She currently resides at the Jersey shore where she can be found surfing or singing karaoke at a local dive bar.

Contact: maryjane {at } freedomisgreen.com

Blair Witch Actress turned Pot Grower

I love non-traditional life trajectories. Perhaps because I live one. And apparently, so does Heather Donahue, best known for 1999 horror film “The Blair Witch Project.” While the movie turned out to be a massive hit, it didn’t do much for Donahue’s acting career. She moved north of Hollywood, met a man named Judah at a meditation retreat (of course she did – oh California!) and tried her hand at growing marijuana.

An excerpt from Chicago Tribune interview:

A: “I went to a meditation retreat after burning all of my acting-related stuff in the desert, and I met this guy there who lived in this town that I had been to several years prior. He sat down next to me, invited me to a hot spring, invited me to his house in this town. And I said, ‘What do you do for work?’ Because that was really the hold-up for me moving there. I had no idea what people did for work. And he grew pot and I said, ‘Well, let’s check it out.'”

Q: Are you concerned that what you’ve written could be used by police to go after people you knew when growing pot?

A: “Everybody in the book is disguised. I think it would be quite hard to figure out who the people around me were. And I had at some point to make a decision. Do I want to participate in the conversation about this issue?

“Because I think prohibition does way more damage than the cannabis plant does, and I think it’s time that we look at that sensibly and with a little bit of humor. And I felt like I had a moral decision that I had to make. And yeah, I have to live with that and yes that gives me some sleepless nights.”

Read more.

Beth Mann is a popular blogger and writer for Open Salon and Salon. She is also an accomplished artist with over 15 years of experience, as well as the president of Hot Buttered Media. She currently resides at the Jersey shore where she can be found surfing or singing karaoke at a local dive bar.

Contact: maryjane {at } freedomisgreen.com