Last week, we reported on a groundbreaking campaign ad run by Benjamin Thomas Wolf and his team. Wolf is currently in the running for a seat in Congress, hoping to represent the 5th District of Illinois. Wolf is competing against the current congressional face of the 5th District and fellow Democratic Party member Representative Mike Quigley.

The primary elections will take place this month, on March 20. Wolf and his campaign team have been working tirelessly to win over voters in his district. But his most recent campaign ad went viral throughout the nation.

The ad was simple, yet powerful. It was a photograph of Wolf sitting in an armchair in front of a painting of the American flag. Wolf wears professional attire and a calmly defiant expression. He vaguely resembles the iconic Mad Men protagonist Don Draper. The difference is that he isn’t holding a glass of liquor. Instead, in his hand is a joint, complete with wisps of smoke wafting over his head.

Now known as the Cannabis Candidate, Benjamin Thomas Wolf has made this photograph and his openly pro-legalization stance central to his campaign.

We caught up with him over the phone to discuss his background, his politics and his love of cannabis.

A Focused Background

Benjamin Thomas Wolf was born and raised in Kent, Ohio. Both of his parents were public school teachers. They instilled in Wolf and his siblings the value of education and hard work. Wolf remembers sitting at the table doing his homework next to his parents who were grading papers.

“We watched them work night and day,” Wolf says. “I credit my parents for most of my early success in life.”

But while he had always been a good student, a class trip to Washington, DC when he was in 8th grade proved revelatory.

“It was magic for me,” he tells us. “I remember it like it was yesterday—standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, looking out at the reflecting pool, seeing the Washington Monument, the Capitol, the White House, the Jefferson Memorial…I stood there transfixed. I just remember saying to my friends, ‘I feel really good here. I want to live here one day.”

“Everything in my life was to get back to Washington, DC,” he says. “Everything.”

From that point on, Wolf set out to achieve his goal with a laser focus. He volunteered every summer at various agencies, courts and sheriff departments.

“I worked through high school and college because I knew that any government agency would want someone who was mature, had good leadership skills and was a complete person,” he says.

Wolf attended college at Kent State University. There, he studied political science and criminal justice. He also joined an ROTC program, where he learned military tactics.

During his senior year, he was accepted to an internship on Capitol Hill. It was called the Washington Program in National Issues. It was an internship that changed his life.

Benjamin Thomas Wolf: FBI

Wolf tells us about the most eventful day of his internship. When he was leaving the building to go home for the day, he bumped into a woman who was also leaving.

“She looked me up and down and asked me what I wanted to do with my life,” he remembers. “I said, ‘Well, Ma’am, I want to serve my country one day.’ She said, ‘Good’, handed me a business card, and told me to see her the next week.”

The woman worked for the FBI. When Wolf went to see her the following week, she gave him the disappointing news that at 22 years old, he was too young to be a special agent. But she quickly made up for it by handing him an application for a classified job.

“She couldn’t tell me what it was,” he says. “It was like something out of a movie.”

He turned in the application and consented to a background check. When he graduated, he drove himself to Los Angeles for a well-deserved break. He lived with his uncle and spent his days surfing and enjoying the sunshine. Then he got a phone call from his father. The FBI had been asking his family and friends about him.

“My dad asked, ‘What did you do?’” Wolf laughs.

Eventually, Wolf received a conditional letter of employment from the Bureau. He completed his training at Quantico and was assigned to a covert unit that investigated espionage, counterintelligence and terrorists.

Early Career

He tells us that his first big case was the Robert Hanssen investigation. It was his team that surveilled and trapped the spy for Soviet and Russian intelligence agencies.

He was also one of the first responders at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and was among the first 20 agents to volunteer to go to Iraq at the beginning of the war.

In 2003, Wolf was transferred to the State Department as a special agent and a diplomat. In this position, he investigated kidnapping, fraud and trafficking.

Additionally, he served in Interpol for two years and worked in Africa for four.

“I was in Algeria for two years and Senegal for two years,” he says. “[I saw] the beauty and romantic aspects of countries that are often neglected.”

Chicago, Cannabis and Congress

Wolf eventually relocated to Chicago to work towards a Ph.D. in International Psychology. It was in Chicago that his political career took off. And it was all thanks to a city-wide ban on Airbnb.

He started a nonprofit to overturn the ban.  During this time, he started to get increasingly concerned about the city officials and management of Chicago. And about the management of the nation as a whole.

“Can we talk about cannabis for a minute?” he suddenly says.

Wolf recounts how he started smoking cannabis two or three years ago in Chicago. He had a asked a friend, who was entrenched in the cannabis community, if he could try it with her. He had never consumed it as a teenager or adult because he didn’t want to risk his future career in the government.

“We sat on the couch and shared a small joint. I only had one hit,” he says. “We just sat on the couch and laughed and talked and it was just such a wonderful, happy experience.”

“The government does a great job of vilifying it.”

While Wolf tells us he uses cannabis “routinely,” it’s not an every-day thing for him. He says he uses a one-hitter “maybe every other evening.”

“I think it makes me a better person,” he says. “It makes me calmer, more creative, more empathetic. I couldn’t be happier to have cannabis in my life.”

Pot and Policy

For Benjamin Thomas Wolf, there was no question that marijuana legalization would be central to his political platform.

“I am proud to be the Cannabis Candidate,” he says. “I knew that I wanted to talk openly about cannabis and I knew that a picture would be powerful.”

He’s talking, of course, about the campaign ad.

“My campaign consultant said, ‘All you have to do is stand in front of an American flag with a beer; it’ll win the campaign for you. I said, ‘we need to evolve further. I want to stand in front of an American flag smoking a joint.’”

He tells us that the photo was taken right in his living room. The painting of the American flag is his own.

He goes on to talk about the finer points in his pro-cannabis political stance.

“Number one, cannabis is medicine. Cannabis is medicine for millions of Americans,” he starts. “That is the most important thing to me. Number two, [legalization] is the first step to true criminal justice. And number three, cannabis brings billions of dollars to the states that legalize it. They have billions of dollars for education, for counseling, for drug rehab.”

“With the opioid epidemic, cannabis is really the answer.”

Optimism In The Current Climate

Wolf brings up the Trump administration, Jeff Sessions and the Republican majority House and Senate.

“There’s a silver lining to this presidency,” he says confidently. “People are waking up and organizing. People will vote more. I think in the long run, this is a good thing for us. Trump’s tenure as president will end. There’s no doubt about that. In the meantime, if we win, we will go around the country and help other Democrats win to flip the house. Right now, I think the United States is looking for Democratic leadership.”

“Every day, every hour, every breath I will be fighting this president,” he pledges.

Other Issues

The other issues that Wolf is fighting for are universal healthcare, the environment and gun control.

“Every person in America deserves health care, both medical and mental,” he says. To go along with medical and mental health care, he brings up the hot-button issue of civilians owning assault rifles.

“We released an ad with me holding an AR-15 assault rifle,” he tells us. “I carried this in the Iraq War. It’s not appropriate to sell this weapon to civilians. These are weapons designed to kill tens of people at a time. They have no place in American society. Kids come home and talk about active shooter drills. We have to act quickly as a nation.”

Healthcare and gun control are polarizing issues among Americans. But Benjamin Thomas Wolf is confident that cannabis brings people together.

“It really is the common denominator for this campaign,” he says. “Cannabis is the one platform that truly extends to all people. It is the most popular platform since starting this campaign. Cannabis legalization transcends all age groups and demographics.”

Final Hit: Benjamin Thomas Wolf: The Cannabis Candidate

Benjamin Thomas Wolf calls cannabis a “wonderful substance” and is confident that federal legalization is imminent. His goal for the cannabis-centered campaign, in addition, of course, to win votes, is to help eliminate the stigma that is still attached to consuming the herb.

“I am a more evolved person, a better father and a better public servant because of cannabis,” he says.

He also credits his progressive political stances on yoga (“I’ve done yoga every day for the past 20 years.”) and attending Burning Man, on the recommendation of his yoga teacher.

“It’s the freest a person can be in America,” he says of the experience.

The primary elections in Illinois take place March 20. Wolf’s campaign website includes links to voter registrations and lists of locations where one can cast their ballot.

Wolf emphasizes his faith in voting and the democratic system. And he’s confident that he’s the right candidate to lead his district.

Our conversation ended with these parting words of wisdom from Congressional Candidate Benjamin Thomas Wolf:

“Great leadership isn’t taking people where they want to go,” he says. “But where they need to go.”

The post Exclusive: Cannabis Candidate Benjamin Thomas Wolf On Pot and Policy appeared first on High Times.

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1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.

CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.

2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?

Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.

3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. organic hemp seedsTypically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!

99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.

In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?

The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.

5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?

colorado growing operationWe feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.

6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?

Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.

7. What is the best method of use?

For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.

8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?

There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.

9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?

Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative CBD Oil Extractside effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.

10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?

As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.

When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.

The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.

For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.

THOSE WHO SUSPECT THEY MAY HAVE A DISEASE OR ARE SEEKING HELP FOR A DISEASE SHOULD CONSULT A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.

11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?

In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.

12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?

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Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.

13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?

No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.

We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor thereCannawell.

14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?

Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†

Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.

15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?

We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. mjna message boardWe also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.

16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?

We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.

17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?

CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.

Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.

18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia

There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).

For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.

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