In an exclusive interview, Seedsman sat down with legendary horticulturist, author, publisher and cultivator Ed Rosenthal to discuss his new book ‘Beyond Buds – Next Generation’ and his opinion on the cannabis industry in 2018.
Your new book ‘Beyond Buds – Next Generation’ is a sequel of sorts to your 2014 release ‘Beyond Buds’. What convinced you to write this now?
Basically the growth of new extraction techniques and new methods of using plant material. Since the first Beyond Buds, dabbing for example has become very popular so it is full of new additional information for the cannabis user of today.
With cannabis becoming more ‘mainstream’, is there a concern that it will lose its sub-culture tendencies that have given the plan life for the last few decades? Or is this progression into the ‘mainstream’ actually a good thing for cannabis?
We equate cannabis originally with the hippies and when you think about, all of the hippie concepts are becoming more mainstream – people are more socially aware.
Diets are becoming more vegetable based, racial justice is becoming a far more prominent issue, sexual liberation is no longer frowned upon. All of these were hippie concepts originally.
I would like to see marijuana become mainstream. The main reason I got into cannabis activism was as an outreach to my anti-war work. When enough people smoke marijuana, the world will be a lot more peaceful than if we were all drinking alcohol.
I think marijuana helps you think outside of the box. We are taught from the time we are infants of certain ways of looking at the world.
Aldous Huxley in his book ‘Doors of Perception‘ said that psychedelics make the brain a more imperfect filter. I think people using marijuana are the same – they do not believe the propaganda as much and consequentially, think outside the box, which can only be a good thing when cannabis is fully embraced by the mainstream.
Is the Trump Administration as damaging to the cannabis industry as some may believe?
The Trump Administration represents unfettered capitalism.
In countries like the United States and Canada, marijuana companies are getting very, very big. Some are now worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
They are going to supply a lot of products and that’s how distribution works. The positive of all of this is that more people will have access to cannabis.
So even if some individuals are making a profit on it, the number of people using it will increase – which is a good thing in my opinion.
What do you make of the CBD movement? Do you think that CBD products could become as successful as high-THC products?
Not in terms of flower but in terms of concentrates, yes.
And I think, as CBD goes down in price, people won’t necessarily grow to smoke flowers but to make concentrates instead.
Do you think the Edibles market will continue its rapid growth?
Before prohibition, marijuana wasn’t smoked, it was eaten and drunk. I think that inhalation is a product of prohibition and more people will go back to using it orally when laws change.
Can you tell us about Prop 215 (a California law implemented in 1996 allowing citizens the use of medical cannabis) and your involvement in this momentous legal change?
Dennis Peron was more involved than I was. He started Prop 215. As it became more organised he dropped out of it.
I was not involved in the writing of the proposition. My main role was to provide the arguments that convinced the funders to fund it!
The polls were showing that Prop 215 was winning by a large margin but the anti-movement didn’t believe the polls and believed that they had been somehow tweaked. So they weren’t putting up much of an opposition.
However, the petition wasn’t well written and the campaign was quite disorganised. When I joined the campaign I ignored these faults and said “If we don’t do it now, we will have a big anti-movement next time, because they would have realised just how powerful the pro-movement is. We can catch them with their pants down now and we can move ahead. We are in the sweet spot”.
So I did some public speaking for it but most of the involvement I had was behind the scenes stuff.
Other people did much more, I just happened to be in the right place to help. I don’t know why Ethan Nadelmann decided to call me, he just did.
I am not a great organiser or entrepreneur but I am proficient at using philosophy and reason.
Do you see any major differences between the North American and European cannabis industries?
Well I am not that familiar with European industry as much as the American industry, but I think that marijuana has enhanced the entrepreneurial spirit.
Countries in Central Europe; Czech Republic, Slovenia and Romania are growing their industries and loosening up their laws. I think at some point, there is going to be mergers and big companies that emerge from it.
I mean the Czech Republic already have a couple of companies that have major production facilities.
And Russia is planning to do big hemp production. They dominated hemp production in the 19th century- they drove other countries out of hemp. And now they are set to return to the market.
What are some of your favourite cannabis strains?
Another favourite is Northern Lights Haze, that is an unbelievable high!
People need to remember the older varieties and realise how good they are still.
Your ‘Ask Ed’ column in High Times magazine continues to this day! You clearly still love doing it?
I answer the questions that I think will be of general interest. But whats it has done for me is give me an education that I would otherwise never have had because I wouldn’t have thought of researching certain topics and issues.
Finally, has anyone ever out-smoked you?
Just one recently. Addison DeMoura, COO of Steep Hill Labs. He can out-smoke me!
Ed Rosenthal latest book ‘Beyond Buds – Next Generation’ is available to buy on Amazon now!