'2020' BOOK EXCERPT: Going Back To Cali

Though I prefer the East Coast and cities like Miami, Los Angeles is still a pretty cool city. Sunshine, beaches, beautiful skyline, what's not to like? And then you have where they completely got South Florida's number: Marijuana culture. (PHOTO: Occidental College)

This is an excerpt from Andrew Powell's first book '2020: A Year So Wild I Had To Write a Book About It' which is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2021


When our six week journey was over in the United States, we had been to California (Los Angeles), New York (New York City), Florida (Miami) and stayed with my family in Pennsylvania in small-town Lock Haven.

It was a glorious trip, with a lot of experiences, but after all of the travel and all of the money spent (thousands upon thousands upon thousands), we were exhausted.

We were ready to get back home.

My mom drove all of us to Philadelphia International Airport to be able to catch our flight to Los Angeles. From there, we were going to fly to Auckland in New Zealand, and before we could get home to Dannevirke, we had to do a two-week quarantine in an Auckland hotel. After that, all of our troubles and stress were over.

Everything was going as planned and we had gotten to Los Angeles, where we had stayed in Anaheim again for a night to give the kids a rest before the big 13-hour flight back to New Zealand – we got some Taco Bell to eat, me and Crystal got a little weed to smoke, and we rested up before it was time to close out our journey.

The next morning when we woke up, we had 10-12 hours to kill, because our flight to Auckland wasn't scheduled until 9:30 that night. So, we decided to walk down Disneyland Drive that morning to give the kids some air and a chance for us to smoke a little bit, and then went back to the hotel to get some breakfast and get rehydrated – it got hot out there. It is California after all.

After hanging out at the hotel and relaxing for a bit, getting some lunch and then going out for another marijuana break, we got back to our room again and proceeded to finish up our packing to make sure we were ready to leave for the LAX way ahead of schedule – we had no interest in being in a rush. Who does?

Especially when you're about to embark on an international trip, with a toddler and a baby on top of that. It was going to be rough as it is, no need to make it any harder.

So, we're completely prepared, everything is packed, we still have a few hours to kill before the taxi picks us up, Crystal is making sure we have everything we need for travel, and then, it happened.

She can't find the passports.

Immediately, we start looking through our entire luggage, grabbing everything out of the suitcases, searching every department and corner, and nothing.

The passports were gone.

Needless to say, that was a pretty crazy situation.

After looking around everywhere we could and finally giving up after no luck, Crystal called the New Zealand government to figure out what she had to do to replace the passports – luckily, I had mine in my back pocket the entire time, but she had to replace hers, our daughter’s and my step-daughter's. In other words, it was still a disaster, but it wasn't a complete disaster.

The New Zealand government told Crystal that she had to fill out some documents, pay some fees, and they could get new passports sent to the hotel, but it was obviously going to take a few days. So what that meant was, we had to formulate a plan to figure what we were going to do.

Because here's the thing: Not only did we have to get new passports, but we also had to book new plane tickets because we obviously weren't going to catch our original flight to Auckland. That was easier said than done, however, because due to COVID-19, New Zealand decided to completely close their borders for an entire month. As a result, Air New Zealand – the only international airline in the island nation – wasn't making any flights whatsoever for an entire month.

So, you know what that means: We couldn't book a flight for an entire month.

Oh, and it gets even better: When I called Immigration New Zealand to check on the status of my visa with the new border restrictions, they told me that the current visa that I had would not allow me back into the country – meaning I couldn't fly back with my family. Ultimately, I ended up getting stuck in the United States, and Crystal was forced to fly back to New Zealand by herself with two little kids. Yes, it was a rough experience for her.

We didn't have many options as far as what we were going to do next, especially without passports, and honestly, we really only had two: 1. Stay in Los Angeles for a month, which was going to be extraordinarily expensive. Or 2, an idea that my lovely fiancée came up with: Drive across the entire country of the United States of America from Anaheim, California to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania – in total, that's around a 38-hour drive, 2,583 miles.

One of the original plans that my now-wife and I had to escape Anaheim, California to get back to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania was to literally drive across the entire country – a trip that would have been a total of 38 hours and 2,583 miles. (PHOTO: Google Maps)

At first, on paper, it sounds like a fun experience to partake in, and I was game to do it originally, but then I started thinking about it: Are we really going to drive across the entire country in the middle of a global pandemic with high unemployment and riots breaking out all over the place without a gun?

Oh, and we also had two small children with us, let’s not forget that either.

Traveling via plane, I obviously didn't have my weapon on me, and at the time, I wasn't even a gun owner as of yet. I didn't buy my first gun until later. If I would have had a firearm at that particular time, I probably would have been down to drive across America, but I honestly did not have a good vibe at all about it without a pistol. That's where I stood.

The first gun that I ever bought took place last summer after we got back to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania from Anaheim, California. I traveled across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to finally find a piece after visiting sold-out store after store for a gun to carry on my hip. I finally came across a Beretta Nano 9MM, which has become a close buddy of mine. I love my gun, and the power and protection that it brings. (PHOTO: Crystal Powell/The Powell Times)

As far as Crystal was concerned, she was all for it, and was extremely excited to experience a drive across the entire United States. At the end of the day, she's a foreigner, and this was a completely new land to her. So, of course, she wanted to do it and pushed for it as I kept worrying.

I can't lie though, part of me wanted to do it as well, and I eventually caved.

After a brief cigar break, we went back to the hotel room and started planning everything immediately – we had planned on leaving the next morning. I called and rented a car for the week (it was going to take around five to seven days to get across the nation), ordered a ton of water bottles and snacks for the kids, and made sure we were prepared for this journey.

I still wasn't sure about it being a good idea, but we were going to do it anyways.

We were going to drive across the entirety of the United States of America.

When we woke up the next morning, we gathered our stuff together and planned an Uber for later to take us over to the rent-a-car center. While we were waiting for the time to leave, we went outside and smoked a blunt, discussing our adventure that was only a couple of hours away at that point.

I admit, I got incredibly nervous, and the closer and closer we got to the time we were supposed to leave, the more anxious I got. But there was Crystal telling me, "Oh, you'll be fine. No pressure. You'll be fine driving through the Los Angeles metropolitan area."

Yeah, just L.A., no problem.

Los Angeles is known for their huge roads, their huge six-lane roads. Crystal actually wanted me to drive on these monsters. "You'll be fine. No pressure," said the person who wasn't going to be driving. (PHOTO: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

And then after I drive through Los Angeles, we're then stuck with the task of driving across literally the entire United States of America, but no problem!

Yeah, she made it sound like that easy of a task.

She had some leverage over me though, because at the end of the day, I still wanted to embark on this journey too. I was just nervous to do it, both because of the long-distance driving, and more importantly, because we were unarmed and had nothing to protect our babies with.

But, we were going to go. After all, it was a road trip across the entire country. And not just any country, the United States of America, the greatest country on earth. We were both nervous, but we decided to do it for the experience of a lifetime – let's go.

It was time to get our stuff together and wait outside of our hotel for the Uber to take us to the rent-a-car center. Once we got our stuff and the waiting game began to get picked up, I was incredibly nervous the whole time.

Once the Uber showed up and it was time to pack the luggage in the car to leave, I got even more nervous.

And then you had the drive over. At this point, I'm sure you can imagine the kind of anxiety I had during that painful ride to go get our car. I was a nervous wreck.

Then God showed us his face, in the form of the rent-a-car center being closed.

When we pulled up, there were two of their cars blocking the entrance to their building and other vehicles, and on the cars, they were explaining how that particular location was closed due to COVID-19 and that we had to go to another location in order to grab a car.

That was the first sign from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to NOT go!

At the time though, I was just relieved that there was a setback, while Crystal still wanted to make the drive. At the end of the day though, it was still going to be extraordinarily expensive to stay in Los Angeles for a whole month, so we were going to have to go through with this drive whether I wanted to or not – I just wish we had a gun.

We went back to the hotel to re-group, re-strategize and reschedule a rent-a-car since that location was closed, but before we got back to the room, an amazing thing happened: We got back our passports.

They must have dropped out of our bags or something, because the front desk called us over to let us know that somebody had turned them in – they were all in a black zip-up case. With that being said, we got incredibly lucky to find them.

Instantly I'm trying to talk Crystal into flying since we got back the passports, but she was still wanting to experience the drive across the country. And I understood why she wanted to, again, a part of me wanted to as well. But under our circumstances with kids and no gun, I just don't think we were ready for that trip.

After a discussion over a couple of blunts, Crystal ultimately came to the conclusion that flying would be the best decision for us, and as a result, we were back on the same page.

The biggest piece of intel that I brought Crystal’s way that swayed her towards my direction was the introduction to Spirit Airlines – to both of us.

Say what you want about Spirit Airlines, but they impressed me during my trip from Los Angeles, California to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And they have incredible "swag" with the Proud Boys' signature 'black and yellow' colors. And on top of that, they're based in Miami, Florida – my favorite city in the entire world. My experience with them was great, with each their swagger, budget-friendly prices and excellent marketing tactics. (PHOTO: Dreamstime)

You know, the airline that has a reputation for having cheap ticket prices, no entertainment or food unless you pay for it (well, at least with the food, there isn't any entertainment), and having passengers that can be, well, a bit rough around the edges.

I can honestly say, however, that they completely proved their bad reputation wrong to me.

via Wikipedia:

Spirit Airlines, Inc. (stylized as spirit) is an American ultra-low-cost carrier headquartered in Miramar, Florida in the Miami metropolitan area. It is the eighth largest commercial airline in North America. Spirit operates scheduled flights throughout the United States and in the Caribbean and Latin America. The airline operates bases at Atlantic City, Baltimore, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, and Orlando.[8] The company's slogan is Less Money, More Go.[9], formerly Catch the Spirit![9]

Now with the food and entertainment factor, I'm sure that matters to some people out there, but to me personally, I love the idea of providing cheap ticket prices for giving up those options. And if you do want food, you can pay for it. And if you want entertainment, just pull out your phone or MP3 player – if you do decide to use your phone, however, fair warning that they don't have in-flight WiFi, so make sure you download what you need before you get on the plane.

It's a great idea for an airline to supply cheap tickets for budget-friendly folks, especially when they don't care about food and entertainment to begin with – like me.

I don't eat on planes anyways, and was reading the book Stone's Rules for my entertainment.

Roger Stone's "Stone's Rules" book is my political bible. It's a recommended read for anyone who wants to succeed in politics, business and fashion, and honestly, for any career realm really – but especially politics. I live and die by Stone's Rules. Description: Rules to live by from Roger Stone, master of political dark arts, advisor to Donald Trump, and subject of the award-winning documentary Get Me Roger Stone (PHOTO: Skyhorse Publishing)

It was a solid experience.

As far as their reputation of having rough passengers, I didn't see that at all. I did see a couple of Marxist Black Lives Matter shirts being worn by flyers, but other than that, there were no problems whatsoever. Everybody had a place to be, and everybody got there in peace – on both flights. We caught two planes: Los Angeles to Dallas and then Dallas to Philadelphia.

I actually had a much worse time with American Airlines passengers – the worst actually – which I got into earlier in the book in the California Love chapter.

Another thing that I enjoyed about Spirit was their branding. If you know me, I absolutely love branding, I love logos. The entire realm of capitalism and business is very intriguing to me.

I love the black and yellow colors that Spirit embraces, and the look of their big yellow planes with thick black font that reads 'spirit' on the side – there's certainly a lot of "swag" there. And you also have the uniforms of the flight attendants, with the vast majority of their attire being black with yellow featured in key areas.

It reminds me of the Proud Boys, which makes it even more epic.

Overall, I enjoyed Spirit, and I'll be flying with them again. They're not as bad as everybody makes them out to be.

When we booked the tickets back to Philadelphia, we had to book on a weekend because that was the only time that my mom could pick us up from the airport – it was a Monday in Los Angeles.

So, you know what that meant: We had to spend the week in L.A.

Extra vacation! (Crystal was extraordinarily excited about it.)

And I tell you, the whole week became about marijuana.

Lots of it.

FILE PHOTO: Marijuana available at the Green Kiss Collective dispensary on Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood, California. Los Angeles has collected over $1 billion in tax revenue from marijuana the past two years. (PHOTO: John McCoy/LA Daily News)

When we found out that we had to stay the week in Los Angeles and got settled in with that thinking, I immediately started doing research into all of the dispensaries that served the area that our Anaheim hotel was in.

We ordered from a few different ones, but the main one that we scored our marijuana from was a dispensary named Bud Man OC – by far our best experience during our stay in Orange County.

Everything about Bud Man OC is fantastic – the branding, their bulky menu, the quality of their marijuana and other products, their style of delivery, the fact that they do home delivery in the first place, a website with cool features that is designed for marijuana culture – everything.

If you're ever in Orange County and looking for an effective dispensary to get your marijuana from (or whatever else you may desire), I certainly suggest Bud Man OC. They're by far the kings of Orange County in my opinion.

And fellas, you'll personally love how they deliver, as one of their marketing tools is using girls to deliver your products to your home. It's a fine way to get your brand out if I do say so myself.

One excellent marketing tactic that Orange County's marijuana dispensary Bud Man OC does is get attractive women to deliver their products for them. Say what you want about the way they sell their weed, but I think it's absolutely genius. I love it. (PHOTO: Bud Man OC)

Well done, Bud Man OC.

And personally, I hope to do some kind of work with them in the future.

We ordered a ton of stuff from Bud Man OC, but the biggest thing in particular that we ordered, and a lot of, were these king-sized Palma blunts that were rolled to perfection. They gave off the most smooth hit and incredible taste for a blunt, and the high that you receive is one that had me pretty toasted – it's an excellent product.

Bud Man OC's Organic King Pre Roll Palma blunt is a work of art. (PHOTO: Bud Man OC)

The official name of the blunt is the Bud Man Organic King Pre Roll, where they had two options for sale: A blunt with 1.25 grams in it for $30, and one with two grams for $40.

We, of course as true potheads, decided to grab the king-sized ones at $40 a pop.

via Bud Man OC:

Bud Man is excited to introduce the new King Palms organic pre rolls with our top shelf quality flower and a corn husk filter! Each King Palms pre roll provides hand-rolled leaves that are free from contaminants like tobacco and other harmful chemicals. Each palm leaf that makes up a King Palm wrap is hand-picked and prepared by being cleansed in purified water. The leaves are not tainted by any artificial preservatives, glue or flavoring so you’re left to enjoy a 100% pure smoking experience with an incredibly slow burn. That way you have plenty of time to savor the undiluted flavor.
Hybrid pre rolls
100% real palm leaf
Tobacco / Chemical free

If you ask me, these are the best products on their menu, I highly recommend them. But there's a ton on Bud Man OC's menu, it's loaded. Check them out if you're ever in Orange County.

There were so many marijuana strains that we smoked when we were out in California.

Here are all the strains that I can remember, we eventually lost count. We smoked that much pot, and had an absolutely fantastic time doing so.

Orange Cookies: Orange Cookies bred by Franchise Genetics is a hybrid that combines Orange Juice with the renowned GSC. A flavor-packed strain, Orange Cookies expresses itself with a strong aroma of sweet citrus that closely resembles a fresh tangerine. The flavors of Orange Cookies gives way to deep calming body effects that mingle with a euphoric cerebral buzz to leave you happy and relaxed.
Tahoe OG: Tahoe OG is the perfect rainy day strain. Strong and fast-acting, you may not want to use this strain when you’re planning to leave the house. Great for those suffering from insomnia, pain, or lack of appetite, Tahoe OG has made a name for itself among other indicas. A top nighttime strain, it provides an extremely lazy, heavy body sensation. Due to superb breeding, Tahoe OG embodies all of the typical indica effects with an added euphoric, sativa-like kick. This strain features an earthy, lemon taste, and is a phenotype of OG Kush. Maturing at around 10 weeks, Tahoe OG is a must-try for those looking for a great night’s sleep.
Dank Commander: An award-winning strain from Rare Dankness, Dank Commander is a cross between Cat Piss OG and Rare Dankness #2. Known for putting out more than the typical OG lemon-lime and fuel aroma, this strain also has notes of pine, alpine flowers, and skunk. The high may take you down a rabbit hole of stoneyness that will last for hours.

Dank Commander (PHOTO: Leafly)

Afghani: Afghani is a heavy indica strain named after its geographic origin, where the earliest varieties of cannabis are believed to have grown. Breeders worldwide have come to treasure Afghani for its heavy resin production which is passed on genetically. With a sweet, earthy aroma, Afghani delivers a deep, sedating relaxation and euphoria. Patients most commonly turn to this potent indica to treat insomnia, pain, and stress disorders.
Django: Django means “I awake,” in Romani, and this upbeat sativa will have you saying just that. Active and light, this strain’s effects might not be great for those looking for pain relief or strong relaxation. But if you want to lift your mood without losing energy, Django is just the thing.
Chemdawg: Chemdog has developed quite the name for itself over the years. Between its mysterious origin, ambiguous genetics, and the plethora of successful crosses the strain has produced, Chemdog has practically secured itself a permanent place in the cannabis hall of fame. The original source of powerhouse strains like Sour Diesel and OG Kush, Chemdog is known for its distinct, diesel-like aroma. Pungent and sharp, you’ll be able to smell this strain from a mile away. Cannabis newbies be warned: Chemdog tends to be very potent. Consumers can expect to have a cerebral experience, coupled with a strong heavy-bodied feeling.

Chemdawg (PHOTO: High Level Health)

Kimbo Kush: Kimbo Kush, named for the late Kimbo Slice, is a beautifully flavorful indica-dominant hybrid with a lineage that is fruity and stunning. A cross between Blackberry Kush and Starfighter, this strong parentage offers a heavier than average Kush experience, leaning closer to a full body buzz with every puff. Starfighter supplies Kimbo with a touch of citrus and a brightness that illuminates the thoughtful elements of its Kush genetics. Enjoy this strain at the end of the day, as it can have potent relaxing effects that might give you the 1-2 punch K.O. Kimbo Slice was known for.
White Widow: Among the most famous strains worldwide is White Widow, a balanced hybrid first bred in the Netherlands by Green House Seeds. A cross between a Brazilian sativa landrace and a resin-heavy South Indian indica, White Widow has blessed every Dutch coffee shop menu since its birth in the 1990s. Its buds are white with crystal resin, warning you of the potent effects to come. A powerful burst of euphoria and energy breaks through immediately, stimulating both conversation and creativity. White Widow’s genetics have given rise to many other legends like White Russian, White Rhino, and Blue Widow. Still, many growers prefer cultivation of the original White Widow, which flowers in about 60 days indoors.
Maui Wowie: Maui Wowie (not Maui Waui) is a classic sativa whose tropical flavors and stress-relieving qualities will float you straight to the shores of Hawaii where this strain originally comes from. Since its beginnings in the island’s volcanic soil, Maui Wowie has spread across the world to bless us with its sweet pineapple flavors and high-energyeuphoria. Lightweight effects allow your mind to drift away to creative escapes, while Maui Wowie’s motivating, active effects may be all you need to get outside and enjoy the sun. This tall, lanky strain is best suited for cultivation in warm, tropical climates that mirror its homeland, but a bright environment and nutrient-rich soil are typically adequate for indoor growing.

Maui Wowie (PHOTO: Pot Guide)

Sundae Driver: Bred by Cannarado and sent out to the Jungle Boyz, Sundae Driver is a smooth and creamy cross of FPOG and Grape Pie. profile. Buds are light green in color with purple accents and come drenched in trichomes. This strain offers a mellow and calming high, just like its flavor. For a tasty joint in the sun, give Sundae Driver a try.
WiFi OG: White Fire OG, also known as WiFi OG, has uplifting and comfortable cerebral effects. This strain combines the best features of its parent strains: the sour, earthy, diesel aroma of Fire OG and the high resin production of The White, leaving the plants covered in a dusty snowfall of crystals. Many phenotypes exist, some with dense, barrel-like buds and others with pointed, conic formations. Daytime use of this strain won’t leave you drowsy, making it a good choice for social and creative activities. White Fire OG is often chosen by patients to treat anxiety and depression, cancer, glaucoma, pain, and appetite loss. Growers of White Fire OG can raise their high-yielding plants inside or outdoors with a 65-day flowering period.
Wedding Cake: Wedding Cake is a uplifting indica-dominant hybrid strain known for its relaxing and euphoric effects. Wedding cake is rich and tangy with earthy and peppery flavors. According to breeder Seed Junky Genetics, Wedding Cake, also known as Pink Cookies, is a phenotype of Triangle Mints. This delectable treat of a strain should be enjoyed with a double dose of care due to its extremely high THC content.

Wedding Cake (PHOTO: High Level Health)

Lemon Haze: Lemon Haze has been characterized as smelling of fresh peeled lemon slices with a similar taste. Its buds appear to be green and yellow with amber hairs on the trichomes, giving it the yellow tint.
Bubba Kush: Bubba Kush is an indica strain that has gained notoriety in the US and beyond for its heavy tranquilizing effects. Sweet hashish flavors with subtle notes of chocolate and coffee come through on the exhale, delighting the palate as powerful relaxation takes over. From head to toe, muscles ease with heaviness as dreamy euphoria blankets the mind, crushing stress while bringing happy moods. Bubba Kush exhibits a distinctive, bulky bud structure with hues that range from forest green to pale purple. Bubba’s stocky plant stature and bulky bud structure suggest Afghani descent, but its genetic origins aren’t certain. The breeder whom this strain was named after states that Bubba Kush emerged just after 1996, when an OG Kush pollinated an unknown indica strain obtained in New Orleans. The mother plant was supposedly Northern Lights, but the genetically ambiguous indica was simply called "Bubba." Bubba Kush has flourished from its California roots ever since.
Cherry Diesel: Cherry Diesel is a solid middle-of-the-road hybrid bred by crossing Cherry OG and Turbo Diesel to mix strong traits from both sides of the sativa-indica divide. With plenty of OG Kush heritage on both sides of the lineage, don't expect the Diesel name to mean this will get you up and at 'em! With a strong aroma of cherry cola and skunk, Cherry Diesel has a distinct aroma - very few strains have such a memorable smell. A consistent customer and staff favorite, Cherry Diesel provides a strong combination of body buzz and head high that many find ideal for relaxation and recreation.

Cherry Diesel (PHOTO: Reddit)

MAC (Miracle Alien Cookies): Bred by Capulator, Miracle Alien Cookies (better known as MAC) crosses Alien Cookies with a hybrid of Columbian and Starfighter. MAC is a gorgeous resin-covered flower with a dank, gassy musk and sour citrus highlights. The smooth flavors of MAC have thick zesty orange notes that are balanced out by floral accents and a sweet, earthy finish.
MAC Daddy: Mac Daddy is an extremely rare indica dominant hybrid strain with unknown parentage due to a high level of breeder secrecy and a general lack of information about the product. Regardless of its heritage, Mac Daddy is one potent bud that is perfect for any indica lover, especially given its powerful 22-29% average THC level and heavy effects. The high starts with an energized effect that hits you fast and hard, infusing you with a clear-headed sense of focus that leaves you motivated and ready to hit back at anything that comes your way. A relaxing body buzz comes next, washing over you in calming waves of slight numbness without weighing you down. With these long-lasting effects, Mac Daddy is one bud that would be perfect for treating conditions such as chronic fatigue, depression, headaches or migraines, and ADD or ADHD. This bud has dense grape-shaped olive green nugs with dark leaves, long thin orange hairs and a frosty thick coating of tiny lavender colored crystal trichomes. Mac Daddy has a super strong pungent and rich spicy smooth flavor and an aroma to match, although it has a much skunkier and more pungent effect.
Purple Punch: Purple Punch is the sweet and sedating union of two indica-dominant classics. By breeding Larry OG with Granddaddy Purple, the astonishing trichome laden Purple Punch was born, smelling of grape candy, blueberry muffins, and tart Kool-Aid. The potency of this strain gives the consumer a one-two punch to the head and body, initially landing between the eyes and settling down into the limbs. Purple Punch is a delicious dessert strain that is best suited for after dinner. Its effects may help with managing nausea, stress, minor body aches, and sleeplessness.

Purple Punch (PHOTO: My THC Meds)

GG4 (Gorilla Glue, Original Glue, Gorilla Glue #4): Original Glue (GG4), developed by GG Strains, is a potent hybrid strain that delivers heavy-handed euphoria and relaxation, leaving you feeling “glued” to the couch. Its chunky, resin-covered buds fill the room with pungent earthy and sour aromas inherited from its parent strains, Chem’s Sister, Sour Dubb, and Chocolate Diesel. Taking first place in both the Michigan and Los Angeles 2014 Cannabis Cups as well as the High Times Jamaican World Cup, this multiple award-winning hybrid's supremacy is no longer a secret, and consumers will search far and wide to get their hands sticky with Original Glue (GG4).
Banana Kush: Banana Kush is a hybrid marijuana strain made by crossing Ghost OG and Skunk Haze. The result is a strain that tastes and smells like a bushel of fresh bananas. Banana Kush tends to provide a mellow buzz alongside a relaxed sense of euphoria. A great choice when dealing with stress or depression, Banana Kush also helps stimulate your creative juices and can help you remain talkative in social settings.
Pineapple Skunk: Pineapple Skunk by Humbolt Seeds is a hybrid cross between Pineapple, Skunk #1, and Cheese. This fragrant plant offers a sweet, pineapple aroma with strong, physical effects. Known for its couch lock potential, Pineapple Skunk is optimal for relieving stress, insomnia, and pain and is best experienced during inactive hours. Indoor or outdoor grows are viable options for beginning and veteran growers alike, with higher yields indoors flowering around 8 weeks.

Pineapple Skunk (PHOTO: Local Amsterdam)

Needless to say, it was an amazing time in California.

If you love smoking pot like we do and you're ever out in Los Angeles and/or Orange County, be sure to check out all of the dispensaries – you can either go to them, or they can deliver to you (even to your hotel), which I personally find an amazing thing. I wish the dispensaries in Pennsylvania did that.

Products range from dispensary to dispensary, but with Bud Man OC in particular, they have dry herb, edibles, vape options, pre-rolls, capsules and tincture, medication (high CBD), hash and kief, wax and extracts, topicals, smoking accessories, clothing, and pets and miscellaneous included on their menu.

There's no telling how much marijuana that Bud Man OC delivered to me, but the fact that they were able to meet my bulk demands is another plus for this fantastic Orange County dispensary. If you visit OC, hit up the Bud Man. Grade A pot. (PHOTO: Bud Man OC)

The marijuana culture in California is spectacular, there's no doubt about that. The kind of weed and products that you can get are ranged quite well and are certainly of quality. However, I do have two knocks against Cali and their pot life.

It's hard to find a place to smoke, at least when you have kids and can't smoke in the hotel room, and then on top of that, most of the hotels don't allow smoking around their facilities to begin with.

Not that we could have smoked in them anyways because of our previously-mentioned children, but I'm a bit confused about why Los Angeles doesn't have cafes. I get why Anaheim doesn't, Disney controls every element of that city, but I don't get why L.A. doesn't embrace the Amsterdam and Denver way of life when it comes to marijuana – I'm sure that's resulting in a lot of lost revenue as well.

Which reminds me, and you can take this as a warning as well, the conversations that you have with your friends about taxes being high on legal marijuana?

Well, that's certainly true in California. They tax the absolute hell out of their weed, so just be wary of that as you make your purchases – it's not as drastic in Pennsylvania.

Other than that though, legal marijuana culture in California is great.

Now I'm sure a lot of you who aren't familiar with the "stoner lifestyle" and are just average everyday hard-working conservative Americans are saying to yourselves "man, this guy must really love marijuana."

Guilty as charged.

As I stated earlier in the column, I am [obviously] very libertarian on marijuana and I support the recreational legalization of cannabis. However, I get that I have a very conservative Republican base, so let me explain to you why I support the legalization of marijuana and why I'm libertarian on this issue – the only modern-day issue where I'm outright libertarian. We all know how conservative I am in general, and quite hardline on a lot of my platform at that.

The first reason is a scientific obvious.

  • MARIJUANA IS SAFER THAN BOTH ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO: The numbers are in, and have been for awhile. Combined, alcohol and tobacco kill around 500,000 people per year, while marijuana has never killed one person in its entire existence. And it's not even just death either. Think about how many diseases and injuries that are caused by alcohol and tobacco which then lead to both healthcare and law enforcement costs towards our economy. It's a waste of money, and just illogical to have poisons such as alcohol and tobacco legal, but have marijuana – which is a non-toxic substance – illegal.

  • PROHIBITION DOESN'T DO ANYTHING BUT HURT OUR ECONOMY: Today, there are over 30 million Americans who smoke marijuana on a regular basis. Needless to say, that's a ton of people to enforce, which in result can cost a lot of taxpayer dollars – oh, but it's more than you know. Let's break down the math: Remember the 30 million figure I just mentioned, correct? Well, since President Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs, over 25 million people have been hit with marijuana charges, which has resulted in over $1 trillion in prosecution costs – an astounding amount. I love Nixon, but this was a big failure that started with his administration. In fact, in places that have legalized marijuana, they've actually seen lower crime. Prohibition does the opposite, and costs us a ton in the process.

  • CARTELS, GANGS AND TERRORISTS BENEFIT THE MOST FROM PROHIBITION: As long as something is illegal, organized crime will make a bundle out of it. However, when you legalize it, you take away a portion of their market – that's especially true with marijuana. In states that have legalized marijuana, crime has decreased while tax revenue has gone up, and not only that, but the domestically grown product is much better than the Mexican street weed. Legalization is also killing the drug cartels, and that shows with cartel farmers in Mexico receiving much lower profit than what they're accustomed to – they've seen their returns drop from $100 per kilo to below $25. That should be wiped out completely. Instead of giving these business opportunities to drug cartels and gangbangers (who pay no taxes by the way and follow no regulations whatsoever with their product), why not give them to job-makers and hard-working Americans, as well as let the economy profit?

  • REPUBLICANS NEED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LEGALIZATION: Eventually, marijuana is going to be legalized recreationally at a federal level, it's only a matter of time. That's something that anti-pot conservatives need to understand. So, with that being said, do we really want to give the Democrats the glory of being the party that legalized weed? That's something that we don't want to give them, there's a lot of political points up for stake with this issue, so we need to hop on it and take advantage. Not only that, but it would also continue to crumble the "Republicans are racist" narrative. According to statistics, blacks are four times more likely than whites to be hit with marijuana charges, this despite both using marijuana at the same rate. This is because of police being more active in black neighborhoods than white ones because blacks statistically commit more crime, therefore, they're going to get hit with more weed arrests than whites. If we (the Republicans) legalize weed, how can they possibly say that we're racists when we're responsible for a policy that drastically helps out blacks? Isn't this what the Left wants? What could they possibly say after that?

  • LEGALIZATION WOULD KEEP YOUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS SAFER: The Monitoring the Future survey has polled high school seniors for forty consecutive years about how easy it is for them to get weed, and for all forty of those years, "easy" or "fairly easy" has been the answer in a range between 80-91% of those students. And why is this? Because marijuana isn't regulated (and taken advantage of by the black market) and a street dealer isn't going to ask a kid for their ID to check their age – they obviously just want the dollar, and don't have to risk going out of business because of selling to a minor. A young rebellious kid is always going to be determined to get their hands on some marijuana, alcohol and tobacco. But here's the difference: With alcohol and tobacco, there was an immoral adult around somewhere getting it for the kid. With marijuana, the kid can simply buy from another kid. Not only that, but when you put marijuana in legal stores, you then take away the incentive of profit from the illegal market when it's already active in our capitalistic society. Have you ever seen a dealer selling Bombay Sapphire Gin in high school? I haven't. Numbers don't lie: With legalization spreading from state to state, that same Monitoring the Future survey is now below 80% for "easy" access to cannabis for seniors.

  • MARIJUANA IS SAFER THAN BIG PHARMA AND OVER-THE-COUNTER: The country that we all love, the United States of America, is unfortunately suffering from an opioid epidemic, with countless amounts of people dying left and right from Big Pharma's "medicines." In fact, pharmaceutical drugs are responsible for more deaths than all of the illegal drugs combined. In total, marijuana can replace up to 17 mainstream medications (and it's also a safer medication than over-the-counter aspirin or cough syrup) brought to you by Big Pharma. As a result, weed would literally save the lives of millions and millions of people. And on top of that, marijuana can be produced at a much lower cost than that of pharmaceutical drugs. Big Pharma is aware of all of this though, which is exactly why the pharmaceutical industry has been providing funding towards anti-marijuana campaigns. How convenient, huh? By now, we're all aware of what Fentanyl is, right? You know, the Big Pharma opioid painkiller drug that is responsible for killing Prince and 100 times more powerful than that of heroin. Yeah, that drug. A maker of Fentanyl, Insys Pharmaceuticals, was actually responsible for donating $500,000 to make sure marijuana stayed illegal, and they won. Arizona failed to legalize marijuana with 48.7% of the vote. And here's the kicker: They're also doing research on synthetic cannabinoid drugs. How lovely, and hypocritical.

  • JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! HEMP AND CANNABIS ARE CASH CROPS: Marijuana has been so ridiculously demonized in the United States that we even have hemp banned, which is completely non-psychoactive and can be used as an industry cash crop (and provide lots of jobs). As a matter of fact, we're one of the few countries in the world that has hemp as a taboo plant, and all of this because it happens to "look like" it gets you high. Should we ban brown sugar because it looks like heroin? How about powdered sugar because of its resemblance to cocaine? It's just complete lunacy. Hemp, and cannabis for that matter, are products that revolutionize our capitalistic society and provide millions of jobs for hard-working Americans. With hemp in particular, it can be used for a wide range of different things, including food, gas, medicine, fiber, building material, advanced energy technology and so much more. We're losing out on so much money and opportunity keeping marijuana illegal.

  • MILLIONS OF DOLLARS CAN BE BROUGHT IN FROM NEW TAX REVENUE: What the legalization of marijuana will do will create a system of regulation of the product, and more importantly for the economy, a system of taxation. Anti-pot characters need to understand: Whether it's legal or illegal, the marijuana market will always be around, so we really only have two options: 1. We legalize it and the federal and state economies take in the profit, creating jobs and prosperity for new and old businesses alike. Or 2. We keep it illegal and continue to allow drug cartels and street gangs to increase their wealth and power, keeping the crime rate high – that's all the drug war does. A lot of conservatives make the mistake of thinking that prohibition controls marijuana, when the reality is it's quite the opposite having to constantly enforce laws and get power over a market that has zero regulations. Prohibition of marijuana brings nothing positive to our society nor our economy, and just wastes money, time and resources to try and enforce pot – a plant, that once again, nobody has ever died from in its entire existence. Just think about the massive amount of money we could save from spending on resources for the police department to enforce marijuana, the courts, prisons, parole and probation offices, other agencies and so many other entities that we're wasting taxpayer dollars on. For weed. Instead, why not save those taxpayer dollars, and then collect more tax dollars in the process? Back in 2016, the four states that had legalized marijuana at the time pulled in over $200 million combined in tax revenue.

  • IT'S ALREADY PROVEN THAT LEGAL WEED IN AMERICA WORKS: Whether or not you love marijuana, or just don't really care, the truth is that legal weed works in the United States. Roads have gotten safer with driving deaths being down, productivity in the workplace has increased, the dependence on marijuana hasn't risen at all, older people are using it more and getting away from Big Pharma, and millions upon millions of dollars are pouring in via tax revenue. With legalization in particular, Colorado created over 18,000 jobs and brought in over $2.5 billion to the state's economy in the early stages. Just imagine what those numbers could be like at a federal level.

All of this is why I'm libertarian on marijuana.

And why we need to legalize it recreationally at a federal level.

We're way past due.