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cannabis moonshine

Neither product contains THC, but they generate considerable notoriety.
“Cannabis cocktails are relatively recent phenomena,” said Elise McDonough, author of the “Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook.” Her book, released on April 20, includes recipes for drinks like the Jamaican Me Crazy (a piña colada with cannabis) and a Bonghitters’ Mota Mojito, made with cannabis-infused rum, mint and lime.
But she recalled a 2006 case in which drinks with names like Toka-Cola and Bong’s Root Beer were seized.
That wasn’t the case when 100 guests gathered in a Los Angeles loft for a party celebrating April 20, which has emerged as a national holiday for marijuana users.
“I’m not aware of anything recent,” said Casey Rettig, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco division.
During dinner, the host offered a selection of innovative cocktails: one featured moonshine and a shiso leaf dipped in marijuana-laced sesame oil, and another was a Gibson infused with cannabis smoke.
Such drinks have even shown up on some store shelves — sort of, as novelties for law-abiding citizens. A brewery called Nectar Ales in Paso Robles, Calif., produces a hemp ale with “herb-accented flavor.” And Alaska Distillery in Wasilla sells a spirit called Purgatory vodka made from hemp.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has not detected a rise in marijuana-infused alcoholic beverages.
More recently, marijuana-tinged beverages like the potsicle (vodka and marijuana-spiked fruit punch, shaken with ice) have been served at the Cannabis Cup, an annual contest that was started in Amsterdam in 1987 and now takes place in Denver, Detroit, San Francisco and other cities where marijuana dispensaries have been allowed. Attendees must be older than 18 and need a valid state ID and doctor’s note to enter “medication” areas.
Mixed drinks with marijuana as an ingredient are illegal, but that apparently doesn’t stop their fans.
In a study conducted in 2006, Jon Gettman, who teaches criminal justice at Shenandoah University, ranked Tennessee second in the nation for cannabis production, just behind California. Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Georgia all made it into the top ten.
But while nearly every state has seen its Eradication/Suppression Program allocation shrink in recent years, Kentucky still received a whopping $1,433,000 in cannabis eradication funding in 2017 alone. Tennessee and Georgia each received $600,000 in federal dollars toward cannabis eradication.
So some farmers turned to cannabis.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, about 25 percent of eradication in the state takes place on public land. And the vast majority of the cannabis eradicated comes from the eastern part of the state, where some of the poorest counties are located.
Cannabis eradication efforts have done little to rid the US of these plants—and in fact, have unfolded alongside a national push toward legalization. Still, according to the DEA, when other law enforcement agencies need training, they come to Kentucky and Tennessee in Appalachia.
The region’s large swaths of public land, isolated rural communities, and a long history of moonshining have made Appalachia a tough nut to crack for law enforcement. Yet at the same time, the region’s conservative politics and resistance to legalization has meant that several Appalachian states—namely Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia—receive more federal money to stamp out cannabis cultivation than any anywhere else except California, through what’s known as the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.
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States with some of the strictest cannabis laws in the country are part of Appalachia, namely in the south. Yet despite decades of federal funding, domestic cannabis cultivation has proven difficult to root out.
In the years before Lamar Alexander signed Executive Order 51, cannabis cultivation was on the upswing in parts of Appalachia, a trend that began in the 1970’s, according to Professor Brent Paterline, who heads the University of Northern Georgia’s Criminal Justice department. He said the growth of illicit market cannabis in Appalachia has its roots in another illicit industry: moonshining.
In parts of Appalachia, government officials are spending serious money to root out cannabis grows, but they’re up against geography, culture, and history—including the history of moonshine.