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The Finest Pot Training You Cannot Get in College

Podcasts about hashish are a dime a dozen nowadays. However two long-time weed journalists are education OGs and rookies alike with season two of their THC-infused discuss present.

The historical past of hashish has been muddied by practically a century of prohibition. However one podcast goals to teach the general public on this plant’s wealthy and wild historical past, which has intersected with international politics, popular culture, music, artwork, and drugs since people first began cultivating it hundreds of years in the past.

The podcast, Nice Moments in Weed Historical past, was began final yr by Abdullah Saeed and David “Bean” Bienenstock, two hashish journalists who had been writing about weed years earlier than it turned a mass-media darling. 

You could acknowledge these two names. Saeed presently writes for and stars in HBO’s hashish comedy Excessive Upkeep. He’s additionally identified for creating the VICE collection Bong Appetit, which follows celebrities and weed influencers as they prepare dinner infused meals then get lit AF on their very own dishes. Bean, alternatively, actually wrote the e-book on getting lit, Find out how to Smoke Pot (Correctly): A Intellectual Information to Getting Excessive. He was additionally an editor at Excessive Instances throughout the publication’s heyday. We think about each toking titans to be MERRY JANE fam. 

Whereas most media corporations have obsessively tracked each little bit of breaking information associated to weed (and we at MERRY JANE are not any exception), Nice Moments in Weed Historical past harkens additional again in time, trudging up outdated however fascinating tales about our favourite plant, our most iconic activists, and the way weed has perpetually altered the course of humanity’s scientific, cultural, and political developments. 


Within the first season, we’re launched to the European anarchists who made Amsterdam the world’s weed tourism spot, in addition to the folks legend who transformed The Beatles from straight-laced Brit rockers right into a gaggle of ganja-toking hippies. And since Saeed has no foreknowledge of the subjects earlier than the duo report every episode, he finally ends up serving as the proper comedic foil to Bean’s armchair historian. 

Because the podcast blazes into its second season, count on much more bizarre, insightful, and stunning tidbits from the world of weed historical past: an exploration into Obama’s time as Commander in Chiefing by way of the lens of his bong-hitting faculty crew, how Louis Armstrong’s pot seller turned a slang phrase for weed, and that point two tokers obtained weed decriminalized in Philadelphia by defiantly lighting up in entrance of the Liberty Bell – simply to record a number of subjects. 

To search out out extra about what’s in retailer for Nice Moments in Weed Historical past, MERRY JANE reached out to Saeed and Bean by electronic mail to search out out why they really feel now, greater than ever, we’d like to concentrate on hashish’s historical past and our millennia-long relationship with this life-saving plant.

MERRY JANE: What is the story behind the way you two conceived this podcast?

Abdullah Saeed: Bean and I had each just lately left our jobs at main weed media retailers and felt it was time to make a present on our personal phrases. So, we smoked a number of joints and kicked round some concepts. Nice Moments in Weed Historical past felt like one of the best ways to encapsulate true weed tradition on this second and all through time, and the breadth of hashish historical past going again hundreds of years offers an infinite provide of tales to drag from. 

David “Bean” Bienenstock: We have been actually honored and impressed by the way in which the hashish neighborhood has embraced the present from the very first episode, after which we obtained some nice evaluations too — together with from the Los Angeles Instances.

In every episode I analysis and write the story — whether or not it is Willie Nelson Smoked a Joint on the Roof of the White Home; Napoleon Invaded Egypt And That is How Cannabis Bought to Europe; or Maya Angelou’s Life Remodeled the First Time She Bought Excessive — after which after we sit all the way down to report Abdullah, who has no concept what the topic will probably be. That retains us each actually within the second, and I believe it is reflective of our actual relationship as shut mates and fellow hashish lovers/historical past buffs. One of many.finest feedback we get from listeners is that they really feel like they’re blazing and laughing and studying proper together with us, and I believe it stems from having a extremely attention-grabbing story to inform as an alternative of simply asking one another what our favourite pressure is.


Historical past is being made each single day when it comes to hashish reform. Why did you determine to focus on these previous moments from iconic hashish figures, a few of which passed off many years in the past? 

Abdullah: As a result of the present period of hashish that revolves round coverage within the US is simply the tip of the iceberg. There are such a lot of wonderful tales from the 10,000-plus years of hashish historical past. And so many historic figures have wonderful hashish tales, from Napoleon to Jesus Christ. Within the historical past books, these tales are glossed over at finest and stricken out at worst. If we do not doc these things, who will?

Bean: Additionally, the historical past of hashish teaches us essential classes about authoritarianism and resistance, about authorities propaganda, cultural upheaval, racism, and the institution’s whole lack of legitimacy. As a society, we actually must ask ourselves how we ended up waging a 100-year-long struggle towards a useful plant. Additionally, even inside these tales, there’s a number of humor to be discovered, whether or not that is Cheech and Chong making Up in Smoke or the musician Fela Kuti having to conceal his feces from the Nigerian police as a result of they wished to look it for half-digested weed.

Your podcast operates “freed from company management.” Why was it essential to independently produce this present?  

Abdullah: Main media corporations are solely as enthusiastic about hashish as the quantity of views/site visitors/cash it may well get them. And so they’re very sluggish to know that hashish individuals are extremely conscious of being pandered to. We actually care about hashish and the tradition round it and the individuals concerned in that tradition, and it displays on this present. Having established that in our first season, we had been stoked to discover a companion in Spoke Media for our second season. They acknowledged the authenticity of our present and have helped us make it so significantly better with out sacrificing any of the center and magnificence of our first season. This season, our manufacturing worth is considerably increased, we have archival clips, music, a brand new emblem — the works — all in service of enhancing our unique idea.

Bean: We did not even have sponsors or adverts on the primary season, as a result of we had been so centered on making an attempt to make the most effective present potential and share it with this neighborhood (and past). We recorded in our residences and dealt with each different side of the present ourselves, so it was an actual labor of affection. On the time, we may solely hope that sufficient individuals would really like it in order that we may determine a solution to do a second season. Fortunately, individuals did dig the present in considerable numbers. After which Spoke Media found us and determined to offer sufficient assets to make this the present of our desires. I am happy with all our episodes, however in the event you’re new to the podcast, undoubtedly take a look at one thing from Season 2 first. 

Talking of the second season, how does this season evaluate to the primary?

Abdullah: In Season 2 of Nice Moments in Weed Historical past, we’re enjoying with the format a bit extra. Developing this season, we now have a two-part episode in regards to the founding father of Excessive Instances journal. We’ve friends — considered one of whom is the artist Jesushands who modified the Hollywood signal to say Hollyweed. Bean and I switched seats for an episode, the place I advised him about an incredible second that he didn’t find out about. And the whole lot is professionally recorded, edited, and blended. Apart from that, it is the identical hash.

Bean: Having extra help behind the podcast permits me to dig even deeper into hashish historical past when figuring out and researching these unbelievable tales. 

What is the wildest factor you have discovered about weed historical past because you began this podcast?

Abdullah: The truth that Jesus Christ has a really believable hashish story is without doubt one of the most superior issues I’ve ever discovered about this plant. 

Bean: I believed I knew the story of Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary, two unbelievable hashish activists who suffered arrests and police raids as a result of they equipped medical hashish at no cost to AIDS sufferers. However after I dug into the main points, I used to be torn aside by how extremely courageous and selfless they had been within the face of police brutality and rampant homophobia.

When you had to choose only one determine from weed historical past as essentially the most influential, who wouldn’t it be? And why?

Abdullah: I’d say Hernan Cortes, who first introduced hemp to the western hemisphere in 1519. It set hashish on its path to as we speak.

Bean: To not be corny, however whereas there’s undoubtedly many heroes within the hashish neighborhood, I’ll have to provide this one to the plant herself.

When you had to choose a favourite determine, who wouldn’t it be, and why?

Abdullah: Cortes is actually not my favourite. By way of somebody I truly like from weed historical past, Carl Sagan’s reverence for hashish involves thoughts. Possibly legendary historic Chinese language emperor Shen Nung.

Bean: I actually love the story of the Provos, an anarchistic political motion within the Netherlands that made that nation a world chief on hashish. Extra individuals ought to know that you would be able to accomplish lots by subverting the “despicable plastic individuals” who presently run the world, and have tons of enjoyable doing it.

Based mostly in your historic analyses, the place do you foresee the legalization motion going within the subsequent few years? The business? Weed activism as an entire?

Abdullah: On the danger of dodging an essay query, I am going to say this: Historical past exhibits us that after there’s authorized cash concerned, issues do not get much less company. And individuals are nonetheless on the market getting arrested for weed, and so they’re nonetheless principally black and brown. Was it price preventing for legalization if that is what it appears like? No one’s certain, however it’ll in all probability hold the activists busy for a superb very long time.

Bean: The long run is what we make it. Which is why I believe it is so essential to know our personal historical past as a motion. And to share that instance with others preventing towards oppression.

To drop in on Nice Moments in Weed Historical past, take a look at their web site. You can even help the podcast by donating to this system at Patreon. 

Observe Randy Robinson on Twitter

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