My short bio: My name is Stephen Barber and I am a cannabis journalist covering the Washington D.C. cannabis industry. I run an independent news gathering source called Capital Canna News. I have been covering the topic for about a year and am currently working on a documentary about how the DC cannabis industry has grown from its humble origins.

My coverage has allowed me to put myself at the center of America's most vibrant unofficial unregulated legal recreational marijuana market.

Ask me anything about whats happening with legal weed in DC and what I have been doing with its coverage.

Proof and more proof

You can also see proof in my work in the industry in these places.

Comments: 78 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

totalloserx12 karma

As a DC resident I haven't smoked in a while. Is it possible to just go to a store some weed? If so where?

Catmand012 karma

If a storefront experience is what you are looking for I would suggest Wash Hydro. You can get marijuana with the purchase of a Tshirt.

Otherwise I would suggest you look into the cannabis event scene. The best way to find out about those is here

Juanarino4 karma

Check out /r/DCents

Catmand02 karma

Also a solid option.

thesurvivalproject10 karma

Have you tried it?

Catmand025 karma

I have tried a couple of marijuana's in my day.

on_the_tonic7 karma

Did you inhale?

Catmand014 karma

I will neither confirm or deny.

Slatersaurus9 karma

There are a lot of federal workers in DC who are subject to mandatory drug testing. Is there any hope for cannabis being removed from the list of drugs that they test for? Or would that only happen if cannabis is legalized at the federal level?

Catmand011 karma

Great question. The balance between DC home rule and federal authority is a key part of Washington's legal cannabis story.

Unfortunately, this is a change that will only happen after cannabis has been rescheduled or descheduled. Federal workers are beholden to federal authority so the DC city laws hold no baring on them.

BillMurrayWuzHere7 karma

This may seem like a silly question; but how do you envision marijuana advertising will look like? Presuming it reaches alcohol levels of popularity I can only imagine what an ad campaign would look like

Catmand08 karma

That is a really good question as well. I have already done some marketing in the DC cannabis industry.

Here are a few examples of some marketing videos I have already created for cannabis events promoters.

In the long run it really depends on the market. Not every cannabis consumer is the same. I have a feeling that we will see marketing in the industry split into two camps. The first being the more traditional stoner culture of huge doobies, promises of earth shattering highs, and conspicuous consumption through elaborate high end glass paraphernalia.

The second will be the adult and medical markets, which will be marketed more like pharmaceuticals and fine wine.

Elessar_Inman6 karma

Is it true that an inconsistency between state and national law could allow anyone's arrest for possession of cannabis? If so, how often does that happen?

Catmand07 karma

This is true. In DC the feds have not arrested anyone for marijuana and since the cole memorandum there have been no major marijuana arrests for people in legal states. SO as of late it does not happen very often if ever.

LongDistRider2 karma

Is there a scientific reason why cannabis is listed as sch I?

Catmand09 karma

Short answer: No.

From what I can tell, there are no scientific reasons that it was listed as such. The president, Richard Nixon, who signed the Controlled Substances Act, which created the drug scheduling system, commissioned a study be done on the harmfulness of marijuana. The study concluded that marijuana was in fact not very harmful at all. Nixon threw the study in the trash and just put marijuana on schedule 1 based purely on his correct assumption that people who smoked pot did not like Nixon.

ManBearPigTrump2 karma

Are you concerned that even though legal by DC law that people who sell marijuana in DC, Washington State, Colorado or California and any other states that I am missing could be prosecuted under Federal Law?

Catmand05 karma

No not really. I think that we are seeing that legalization is now an inevitability.

States like Colorado and Washington are raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue and their state governments are not going to let the feds just walk in and ruin that for them. The governor of Washington State has already said that he would do everything in his power to stop the DEA from raiding businesses in his state.

Public support for arresting marijuana business owners is at a national all time low. There is no real gain for the feds to go after people in legal states, and a big risk of losing a huge amount of political capital.

It could honestly lead to a constitutional crisis if the feds tried too hard to shut down legal marijuana in legal states.

So no. It would be a dangerous course of action for the feds to take even if they wanted to.

EDIT: It is still illegal to sell marijuana in DC, the police just dont give a shit and dont enforce the rule unless someone pisses them off on a personal level.

AdventureAwaitsinCO2 karma

What do you think knucklehead Jeff sessions is going to do?

Catmand012 karma

TBH not a damn thing. I think he talks a big game for the evangelicals but the reality of the situation is that his position on the matter runs against the general wishes of the country.

If he wants to send the feds into break up legal marijuana he will runs the risk of states taking action to divest the DEA of its authority in their states.

If he makes a move on legal marijuana in states that have been making hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue it could lead to a constitutional crisis.

The issue with trying to turn back legal marijuana is that it has generated too much money to really go back on now.

Mark6720 karma

"it could lead to a constitutional crisis"

so having to put up with all the shit obama did wasnt? i honestly think the federal goverment should stay out of it and let the states decide but its obvious the days of places like colorado and there legal weed stuff are over

storys-in-the-soil3 karma

Idk if you know what a constitutional crisis is, friend, but in case you don't I feel it important to point out that the constitution forbids the Federal government from coercing State governments. Ignoring this and pushing further marijuana arrests in legal states can be considered coersion of the state into compliance. The crisis comes in that the Feds would, in that case, be violating their most basic set of rules.

Catmand02 karma

I also foresee states making moves to directly oppose federal authority which would also be a constitutional crisis.

jmfshaw62 karma

How long until do you think it will be before cannabis is federally legal?

Catmand07 karma

I think that the political climate indicates that we could be looking at federal legalization in the next 2 to 3 years.

A big indicator would the forming the Congressional Cannabis Caucus which is a bipartisan political group in the federal legislator that is fighting for legal cannabis.

We are seeing more coming together between conservatives and liberals on the topic then we have ever seen before. The benefits of legalizing cannabis are far more widely understood and known then they have ever been. We have examples like Colorado and Washington state showing people the kind of money this can make for states and the country.

Its coming really soon dude.

Stef-fa-fa1 karma

Do you think the Canadian Legislation change being announced in two days has had or will have an impact in these federal conversations state-side?

Catmand01 karma

I do.

If we fail to act we could allow the Canadians to get a head start on cannabis as a national product.

The United States has the potential to be the world leading producer of legal cannabis and its related products.

If we don't act soon and let a national industry to form we risk allowing a huge amount of money and power being consolidated in big Canadian weed. That could mean that when we open up our national industry it could very well be outpaced and dominated by our northern neighbors.

The real conversation that is happening in the government is about the money and Canada legalizing on a national level factors into that conversation.

timeforanewdove1 karma

How do you foresee the "green race" shaping up? I'm Canadian and have been waiting as our government sloooowly puts the legislation together. As it is, we already get a ton of Americans coming up to our more southern cities (Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, etc) to take advantage of the lower drinking age and I'd imagine that we'd get a fair amount of green tourism as well.

Canadian legalization looks like it'll hit some time around July 2018, with some chatter that it will be earlier to avoid the date coinciding with Canada Day. Do you think the US will be able to compete with us at that point?

Catmand02 karma

I think the US will always be able to compete with Canada based purely on our own agricultural prowess.

Northern California is one of the best places in the world to grow marijuana, climate wise, and when full federal legalization hits, we will see a massive surge in production from our vast agricultural regions.

Places like Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia all have perfect climates and rich cannabis friendly soil. We also have the mid-west which produces more food crops than any other region in the world. All of these places will be opened up for cultivation.

At the end of the day, the United States will be able to outproduce at a higher quality level than anyone else on the planet. The US was made to rule this plant. We have the land and we have the aggressive globalist corporate apparatuses to ensure that no one will be able to compete with high quality low priced American weed.

Big US agribusiness already offsets the world's food prices with its output, there is no doubt in my mind that we will do it again with cannabis.

DavidEagle691 karma

I haven't smoked in a while, and I need a place to sit (not home) in DC to light one up, and suggestions on where to go?

Catmand01 karma

Go to cannabis church on Sundays from 11am till 4pm. Hit me in the DMs so I can get you hip to the location.

big_tuna_141 karma

What would you say the thing that surprised you most covering this topic would be?

Catmand03 karma

I guess how quickly everything has been moving and the passion people have for this plant. I am also very surprised at how relaxed the DC police have been. People have been selling cannabis and related products openly and flagrantly for over a year and there have been nearly no arrests.

saralulu1211 karma

I'm moving to D.C. This summer! Anything I can do to get into this industry?

Catmand01 karma


The question at this point is really what would you want to do in the industry?

How much capital do you have to start with?

How committed do you want to be?

The best way to answer all of these questions is by going to networking/vending events and getting to know the people in the community. We are small and tight knit and you will quickly find people you would want to work with and see things that you may want to do.

Stay tuned to this constantly updating list of cannabis events in DC

saralulu1211 karma

I have basically no money but am eager to work with anything there may be a need for, from growing, writing/journalism, to marketing and everything in between! I'm moving to D.C. because my partner is for her job and I am wondering about potential jobs. If I could get into the cannabis industry, that'd be incredible! Thank you for the link!

Any tips for someone like me as far as what y'all are looking for?

Catmand01 karma

Capital Canna News can always use another journo that is passionate about the plant.

dennisdewengel4201 karma

Just saying, you guys in the usa are really getting beter than us dutchies,

You smoked some dutch weed? When i was in usa 5 years ago weed was so bad there in florida

Catmand01 karma

Well our state governments have given us much more room than the dutch ever gave to their cannaprenures.

dennisdewengel4201 karma

True that, still smoking so really pontent stuff right now, but it gets expense if you wanna smoke good 13 euro a gram , but some good indica like white widow , bubbles, orange bud goes for 8/9 euro, i have been to about 70% of all coffeeshops but the best here are two in amsterdam one in Hoofdorp, and Den haag, has good stuff,

Im planning to go to the usa again soon, how is it for a tourist to smoke? And where to go?

Catmand01 karma

That sucks. I know a guy who ran a coffee shop in Amsterdam in the 90's and he says that American weed is much cheaper than Dutch weed.

I pay around $200 an ounce.

frozenflameinthewind1 karma

What are the main downsides to smoking weed, if there are any?

Catmand02 karma

It costs money and if you live in a place where it is illegal you can have your life ruined over it.

Misterdejesus1 karma

Did you get drug tested prior to being hired?

Catmand02 karma

Yes. My subjects tested me by making me take giant dab after giant dab until they were certain I was not a cop.

thatsconelover1 karma

Would you think me stoned if I told you I read the title as cannibal journalist covering the Washington D.C. cannibal industry?

Catmand01 karma

Mayhaps a little.

Hustlinmuscle1 karma

Do you look to travel other airlines other than United Airlines?

Catmand02 karma

Yes. Those guys seem like they might beat me up. I prefer an airline that wont assault me.

Planet_Iscandar1 karma

Do you have a favorite vaporizer & strain based on your cannabis expertise?

Catmand02 karma

My favorite strain is Durban Poison and my favorite vaporizer is the Dr.Dabber for oil and the volcano for flowers.

OrangeLimeZest1 karma

What makes you cry?

Catmand09 karma

Watching people get victimized by the drug war and sick people not being able to access safe medical marijuana and marijuana oil.

VodkaRabbit-4 karma

Do you hold any resentment to the consumers who choose to continue to purchase these products in the knowledge that they are fueling said war?

Catmand03 karma

No. The people who are fueling this drug war are the people keeping marijuana illegal. If they would just change the policy people wouldn't be victimized.

VodkaRabbit-9 karma

From that reasoning it would appear that you are saying that anyone who buys something that is illegal has no responsibility to the result of purchasing that item because the thing that fuels violence is because it is illegal and thus law makers are to blame.

Based on that would you agree that someone who illegally purchases child pornography is not responsible for the abuse of children. It is in fact the governments fault because if it was legal it could be created by using CGI and not real people.

In the same way that someone who illegally purchases drugs is not responsible for enslavement/mistreatment/murder/abuse of thousands in South America in the production of drugs.

Catmand05 karma

People like you are the reason I do what I do.

The difference is that child pornography is inherently harmful to someone in the way it is produced. Smoking pot is not harmful to anyone really.

Getting busted by the police is 100% harmful and creating unregulated black market enterprises is 100% harmful. All of these things are the fault of policy makers and law enforcement. With Taxation and regulation cannabis can be a positive effect on the country.

Catmand03 karma

Also I only smoke American grown cruelty free fair trade weed!

Jim1051 karma

Do you think more states are entertaining the idea of legalizing marijuana because of the states like Colorado and Washington having increased revenue from the taxes collected?

Catmand01 karma

100% yes.

burningblacksun1 karma

You know the ins and outs of dc. But can you maybe explain why the states that thc is illegal in the states that havent made it legal?

Catmand01 karma

It's illegal because in 1936 a racist cabal of powerful business men and high ranking law enforcement officials created a smear campaign against cannabis so they could outlaw hemp.

They did this for a combination of reasons. Hemp was a threat to the wood pulp industry, the synthetic fiber industry, and the pharmaceutical industry. This is why people like William Randolph Hearst(wood pulp), Eli Lilly(pharmaceuticals), and DuPont(synthetic fibers) wanted it illegal.

Their man on the inside of law enforcement was a douche named Harry Ansligner, who was a federal cop from Texas. He didnt like marijuana because he noticed that Mexicans and black people liked it. Ol'Harry was a big time racist and hated Mexicans and black people. In his testimony before congress he made statements such as "marijuana makes Mexicans rape white women" and "marijuana makes black people think they are as good as white people."

He was the only person to testify before congress when they were deliberating on the Marijuana tax stamp act, which made marijuana illegal.

TL:DL A combination of greed and racism is why marijuana is illegal in some states still.

mah-tay-1 karma

Is cannabis journalist a made up profession name to allow you to be a pioneer in the journalistic field merely because you called yourself a cannabis journalist? Were you a journalist previously, if so, where?, and why would you want to change to "cannabis" journalist?. Are people from High Times magazine, competing for that position? would you way they might be more qualified?

Catmand01 karma

Cannabis journalism is a rather new field that has grown up out of the changes in legislation.

As it currently stands, most cannabis publications primarily cover they state in which they are based. High Times is mainly about the California industry, The Cannabist is about Colorado, and Leafly is primarily about Washington State.

I created Capital Canna News so DC would have some form of documentation because the other publications I have mentioned do not have much interest in the city. I started Capital Canna News while I was in journalism school at the University of Maryland. I was looking for something to do to improve my video production and journalistic talents.

Needless to say that the project grew from there to a full time pursuit. I call myself a cannabis journalist because I cover cannabis. I have worked for the Marijuana Times as a freelance video producer in the past as well. Here is a video I did for them I am very proud of.

Before we go into what Qualifies someone as a weed journalist, let me give you a bit of background about the profession.

A large number of the original cannabis journalists were actually originally horticulture and gardening writers. During the late 70's and early 80's there was a US-Mexican drug control program of spraying paraquat, a deadly herbicide, on Mexican weed fields. The Mexican pot farmers, not wanting to miss out on the profit of their product, would simply just cut down the plants and ship them up north the moment they got sprayed. This caused a huge problem with tainted Mexican weed. This lead to some ingenious horticulturalists during this time to pioneer indoor cannabis cultivation and guerrilla grow techniques to replace Mexican weed.

Many of these original horticulturalists were also gardening writers and they would ultimately come together to find ways to publish their cultivation techniques. Many of these people were the original high times writers and founders.

Now that laws have been changing the industry has grown beyond just high times.

High Times is a great place to go if you want cultivation news, California weed industry news, and popular culture weed news.

What I do as a cannabis journalist is be an authority on whats happening in Washington's industry. As it stands I am really the only one doing it here, but I dont want this to be considered a made up profession.

mah-tay2 karma

Thank you very much!

Catmand01 karma

The pleasure is all mine.