By Benjie Cooper
YouTube: Lucid’s Vlog
When Bobby West, a.k.a. Uncle Stoner got out of the United States military after serving for more than a decade in the Navy and Army Reserve; he was left with debilitating PTSD. After using a number of other remedies that didn’t bring relief, he tried using cannabis to treat his condition.
After finally finding comfort and healing in the cannabis plant, West became a vocal advocate for its medicinal use around the world. Working with CannaBroadcasting, Smokers Guide TV, and HighWitness, he has helped spread news, education, and personal stories from patients, industry leaders, and others whose lives have been changed by cannabis.
Recently, West held a private weekend event called the Squash-Off which included a variety of vendors, food, live music, a fresh rosin competition, and an auction to benefit Autism Awareness.
A photo van, food trucks, live artists, and seating for attendees were set up outside at the entrance of the venue while an intimate assortment of booths lined the interior.
At one point, Kid Frost, Medi Mike, Stoner Rob, and other canna-lebrities gathered around a table to score a list of competitors’ entries from the day’s competition. After judges made their initial observations on appearance and aroma, the flowers were then squashed in a rosin press and returned to be dabbed and rated on flavor and effect.
Live music emanated from the stage throughout the event with sets from Marlon Asher, Mendo Dope, Fortunate Youth, and others.
Later in the evening, I sat down with West to talk about the event, the state of cannabis today, and where he is looking to go next.
“Each part of the competition, I try and immerse the audience into it,” he said. “They can sit there and hear what the judges say when they smell the flower; if they like the terpene profile, if they don’t. Then the audience can ask them questions or usually if they don’t, I ask them questions. Kinda interact. Get that knowledge back out there. And then when they look under the trichomes, usually we’ll have it up on-screen so the audience can see what the judge is looking at. So if they say it was pulled early or some of the heads were busted, you obviously know. And then they can ask; ‘why is that good?’ ‘Why is that bad?’ But all of it’s just to get everybody involved and bring back that knowledge.”
“And all my judges have at least ten to fifteen years experience, even more,” he said, talking about some of the personalities from the cannabis world that have participated in his events in the past. “I’ve had somewhere I’ve had Mila, Frenchy, Giddy Up, Danny Danko from High Times; all them guys have been judges on this competition. Because they see how it gives back out and it gives them a chance to be able to show their skills and what their knowledge is that they’ve learned throughout these years and give back to people. You know, that’s what it’s all about is giving back the knowledge of this plant.”
I mentioned that I liked the idea of squashing cannabis flowers for the competition, and how I thought that was a good way of getting a taste of the true flavor of the plant.
“For my judges,” he said. “They start first from it being a flower, judging it from all the way there, looking in the scope all the way to when it’s squashed. And then they can see what it looks like squashed and processed.”
“I don’t like to call it processed,” he clarified. “Because all it is is heat and pressure. And you get some…I mean, you saw some of the squashes. They were, I mean beautiful.”
“Some of them came out like better than some of the extracts you see in there,” he said, motioning in the direction of the Squash-Off venue. “BHO or CO2.”
I noted the progression of rosin technology over the past couple of years and the how the quality of the final product has improved over time.
“I like the Sasquatch,” he said. “They sponsor a lot of our stuff. Rosin Tech has sponsored us. We try all these different presses and stuff. Like in Boson, we had like six or seven different companies of presses because different people, different price points.”
I asked him to talk a bit about the autism aspect of the day’s events.
“Well, they’re learning now, especially these families and the doctors. They’re realizing that you know, these kids, they’re not normal, and having fits and not being able to communicate or be themselves. With their parents, their family…they’ve learned that with THC and CBD they’re seeing a total change in these kids. It changes them.”
“It gives the parents their child back, or that family their family member back,” he said. “They see a huge, huge improvement in how they relate with other people when they use cannabis than if they weren’t on it. Besides autism, seizures, I mean there’s so many things. Seizures, it’s been helping immensely with seizures.”
I noted how beneficial THC, CBD, and the rest of the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are for brain health.
“And they’re gonna be able to break it down; different strains act different for different people. And so they’ll be able to sit there and say ‘Okay, this one here is specifically for this person and this person’s DNA. This will do the best for him.’ Because right now it’s still kind of, it’s not an exact science. They just know that cannabis, CBD, and THC is changing these kids’ lives.”
“Once they nail it down to exactly each strain that’s gonna help each patient out,” he continued. “I mean, it’s gonna be amazing the changes that people will see. The problem is though; we’ll still have people like Jeff Sessions out there believing that this is a bad drug and is bad for this world. It’s the best thing that’s ever been put on this planet. It’s been put on this planet for a reason, and it’s to heal us as a human race, our body, minds, and souls. That’s what I believe.”
I commented that this is where education comes into play and how I feel that Sessions is willfully ignoring all of the factual information about cannabis that is readily available in the modern world.
“He don’t care, his mind’s set,” said West. “He’s old school, he believes in the reefer madness and the BS. And ‘cuz also, he has his pockets in the big pharmacy companies. Pharmaceutical companies are not liking this because they’ve seen a lot of decrease in a lot of different medications; especially you know, the opiates.”
“The opiate game is crazy,” he remarked. “These drug companies were making millions of dollars off of these people. All these little ‘pill mills’ they call them, in Florida and stuff. You just go in there and say you have this problem—Boom! Next thing, you have Oxycontin and stuff. It’s ridiculous. And we’re seeing the decrease in drug use and opiates and stuff because of cannabis.”
“Even the football players are starting to stand up for it,” he continued. “Because they’re given that throughout their career and stuff. And even when they’re uninjured, if they still popped on it—opiates, they didn’t care, as long as they could still perform. But cannabis? Oh, no! But they’re learning. I was able to interview Ricky Williams, and a few other football players and all of them are believing in it seeing how it’s changing their body and helping their body out. Because their body’s been destroyed, wrecked for all these years they’ve been out there.”
I commented on how nice it was to see that education was helping unravel the propaganda that had been so tightly wound around the cannabis plant over the past eighty years.
“It has changed immensely,” he concurred. “Especially (from) when I first got in over twenty years ago. We were the black sheep. I had an aunt, was staying with her one time and planted a plant and she found it and kicked me out.”
“And about fifteen years later,” West continued. “I go to a family reunion. Kinda worried about running into her but she came up crying, gave me a hug, and she goes, ‘Oh my god, I see everything you’re doing, thank you!’ And she goes ‘I actually have some friends who are using cannabis, and it’s changed their lives!’ And she was really strict.”
“But now it’s opening the eyes of people that really wanna learn the true knowledge of this plant,” he said. “Of what it truly can do for our body, our minds, our spirits, and this planet. You know, it’s great. Things are changing.”
I asked what his plans were for the future.
“Oh we got a few more Squash-Offs planned for this year,” he said. “Our biggest one will be at the Boston Freedom Rally. In the twenty-eight years of having a Freedom Rally in Boston, they never had a competition there. We were asked to have the first-ever educational, interactive cannabis competition at the Boston Freedom Rally. We did that last year, they’ve already invited me back to this year’s.”
“So we’ll have another big old Boston Freedom rally—Squash-Off there,” he continued. “We got Washington D.C. we’re planning, Hawaii, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Oregon. And maybe one or two other places. A lot of people are reaching out to me because they enjoy it. Everybody that comes to it, they have fun. Because they get to see, they get the immersion; they’re part of the process of this plant being judged. They get the knowledge from these experts and that we have.”
I commented how awesome I thought it was to get to see the extract from the flower you were just smelling made right in front of you.
“Yeah. Oh, it’s amazing,” West smiled. “When you see it start oozing out. Just smelling it, seeing it there and all of a sudden, beautiful rosin coming out. We have some amazing, great squashes each time. This one—each time we do a Cup, it seems like the flower increases to higher and higher and better quality. This is one of the best quality ones we’ve had.”
I told West how during the competition, Mike had given me a couple of tastes from the samples being judged and commented how incredible the flavor was.
“Incredible, natural,” he said. “It’s the best way to go. And these M1 presses or these presses nowadays are so portable and affordable. You can just have one at your house. I mean I saw one, it was lunchbox size—you could actually carry it like a lunchbox. It had a built-in press in there, a pump and everything. So you just put it on. And it had a built-in e-nail to it too so you press, take it off, and dab. I saw it at the Indo Expo last week.”
It was a one-stop shop for dabbing we agreed.
“So you know, this industry is changing from when I got in twenty years ago,” said West. “The science is behind it; the engineering is behind it. Everybody’s behind it, so you’re just seeing leaps and bounds as far as processing ways, science, to different smoking apparatuses, different extraction apparatuses.”
“Things are changing. I mean I saw today—I knew it could be done, but I didn’t,” he started. “A gentleman took a flower and pressed it all the way down until it was white THC-A. It was Guava; then he had the rosin. He re-pressed it again at low heat to get all the terps out. He did that, and then he re-pressed it again, got a little bit more, and then pressed the final one low and slow. When it came out? All white…white THC crystals. Just right there on the press, heat, and pressure.”
I commented how I had never seen that before.
“Yeah, so you don’t need the labs and all that stuff,” he said. “You can make THC crystals from rosin presses.”
“So yeah, it’s amazing,” said West. “This plant, it’s just saying ‘Please explore me more and more. I have so many ways you can get my good wholeness out of me.’”
I mentioned that due to prohibition putting cannabis research eighty years behind, independent studies have filled in the gaps left by government programs which have never yielded much of anything useful.
“Irvin Rosenfeld and Elvie,” he said. “Two medical cannabis patients since 1982, they’ve been getting a can of 300 joints every month from the federal government.”
I noted that even still, cannabis is Schedule 1. But I commented that a lot of legalization bills from the 2017 legislative season got a lot of new sponsors this year after Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo.
“I think the best thing for us was to do that,” he remarked. “Because so many people are standing up. Look at Oregon; they’re like ‘Nope, we made over nineteen-billion dollars, hundreds of thousands of people got jobs with us in this.’ They’re like, ‘Nope; we’re not gonna do it.’ It’s a money-maker, it brings economy.”
“I think our economy would have been in the toilet even when Obama was in,” said West. “Because of all these cannabis events and stuff and the money it brings into each town from hotels, restaurants, travel. It’s a money-maker, and that’s why I say it heals. There’s monetarily, physically, mentally, spiritually.”
I commented how I thought that it was possible that we would see cannabis legalized on a federal level within the next couple of years.
“Well, it’s just like alcohol back in the day,” he said. “You know, prohibition and stuff how it was. That’s how it’s gonna be, then all of the sudden it’s gonna be like, you’ll have it at the stores and stuff.”
I mentionedhow Sessions and Trump appear to be at odds over the issue of states’ cannabis rights as the two of them have reportedly been heard arguing about it in the White House.
“Oh that’s great, that’s good news then,” he laughed. “Should dab ’em out and let ’em talk afterward.”