When Green Candy Press offered us a chance to review Matt Mernagh’s Marijuana Smoker’s Guidebook: The Easy Way to Identify and Enjoy Marijuana Strains, we welcomed the opportunity.
The Guidebook is a 217-page love letter to the many different strains of indicas and sativas that were available for Mr. Mernagh to sample. There are roughly 150 different buds featured, the majority of which were grown either by Mernagh himself or other patients. The author wisely acknowledges the fact that it is a rather subjective endeavor to chronicle the characteristics and effects of such an inconsistent subject as organic plant matter – how it is grown and by whom is almost as significant as the type of weed itself – and offers up some basic advice on how to become a savvy cannabis consumer since “every cannabis strain affects people differently.” (Mernagh, 15)
An excellent addition to any MMJ library, this book is filled with full color photos and enthusiastic and informative descriptions of each strain’s notable qualities. Reading like a veritable dictionary of dankness, it’s enough to turn any casual toker into a cannabis connoisseur.
Mr. Mernagh is a prominent Canadian figure in the movement for the legalization of medical marijuana, winning an historic victory in 2011 against Canada’s marijuana laws. Currently, he is a candidate in the 2014 Toronto Mayoral Election, running opposite infamous incumbent Rob Ford. He’s a prolific journalist and community activist, in addition to being a patient himself. Mr. Mernaugh suffers from both fibromyalgia and scoliosis, as well as a rare brain tumor, and it is his own experiences with cannabis that fuels his passionate advocacy for alternative medicine.
Here’s a short Q + A with Mr. Mernagh, which we conducted via email exchange:
In your words, you “come out of the cannabis closet” in 2002 after the Toronto Compassion Center was raided. Over a decade later, you’re still an activist. Has the fight progressed, or are you still waging the same battles as you were in the beginning? How have you changed (or not) as a result? What are your ultimate goals?
1) It’s getting easier every year. More people are coming out to protests. I can see the slow inchbyinch progress we’re making. We’ve had some great big plays (R v. Mernagh, R v. Allard, Washington and Colorado) that has moved the ball hugely.
1a) I’ve changed not just from being an advocate but as a person who seeks to change. I’ve adopted a pilates routine so I’m in much better shape than ever. I do mindfulness. With the weight of the court off me I can focus on bigger more exciting projects and I don’t get stressed easily.
1c) I really enjoy writing / creating and politicking.
What promoted your desire to run for public office in Toronto? Tell us about your
2) Public office is an extension of my constitutional court challenge. I have a strong desire to better my community. We put together a team of people to see if we could run for office. And the
people support is there. Not speaking about cannabis, but civic issues ensures I don’t get mentally bored.
You must have access to a lot of stellar buds. Do you prefer to maintain your own plants? What is your favorite growing method? Do you have any advice for novice growers? In your experience, are some strains easier to grow than others? What are your favorites to grow and why?
3) Oh for sure I have access to amazing strains. For the second volume the donations are amazeballs because growers love it. Still accepting samples btw.
3a) I love growing cannabis. Love it. Many of the strains in volume one are my own. I’ll have less of my own in the second volume, which is cool. It’s a challenge to maintain my own garden and
right now I don’t have the time, but writing a strain guide I have access I need to great meds!
3b) Love growing marijuana! Fall in love with it. It’s best to choose an easy to grow strain. I learned on the old Skunk #1, Afghani #1, and Hindu Kush. These strains are easy to grow
because they’re stable, can withstand plenty of mistakes. Obviously there are other strains now, but find something very easy to grow. Less is more when it comes to nutrients.
3c) Tough question! I really enjoy growing DNA Genetics LA Confidential. Jordan of the Island God Bud and God Bud crosses are fun. Serious Seeds White Russian and Blue Widow by Dinafem are also personal favs. those breeders produce.
Here at Successful Stoners, we talk a lot about elevating the language surrounding compassionate medicine. The culture of cannabis is marred by the criminalization of patients, and we feel it is very important to reclassify the way in which marijuana and its users are discussed. Terms like potheads and stoners can carry such negative connotations, and yet you do an excellent job of writing to your audience in a colloquial tone. What are your thoughts about the current cannabis vocabulary?
4) Great question! I agree to an extent pothead and stoner are negative words for weed. However, I want to take these terms back! Empower them. Cannabis enthusiast! Words for cannabis reviews are few and far between too. The words we do have like dank are actually kind of negative. I searched out how to expand the cannabis vocabulary. For the book I look too wine terms. For book two I’ve gone one step further…I’m a graduate from Humber School for Writers, which is a very challenging creative writing school. It produces some of Canada’s greatest literary writers. The school keeps track of students who are successful at publishing a book, so I’ve graduated to that second tier. I take time to craft weedy words and photos.
If you could have only one strain for the rest of your life, which would it be?
5) Jean Guy.
Finish this sentence: I am a Successful Stoner because ________________ .
6) I’m successful stoner because my book is available at Urban Outfitters. *grin* I’m politically engaged. Webcaster. In addition to Urban Outfitters, Marijuana Smoker’s Guidebook: The Easy Way to Identify and Enjoy Marijuana Strains is available for purchase through Amazon and iTunes. Volume 2 will be available from Green Candy Press in 2015.
We would like to thank Green Candy Press for sending us this fantastic book and Matt Mernagh for taking the time to answer our questions!