Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Weed and Psychedelics Journalist Madison Margolin

Madison Margolin is a writer and editor known for her extensive coverage of plant medicine and its intersection with religion, though she half-jokingly tells you her catchphrase is “Jews and Drugs.”

Madison also co-founded the print and online publication DoubleBlind, which focuses on psychedelics and its global development, and is a regular contributor to outlets such as Rolling Stone, VICE, Playboy, High Times and more.

I would argue that Madison is one of the best cannabis reporters out there, and her nuanced approach to storytelling is the crème de la infused crème.

Take this 2017 feature she wrote for Merry Jane, for example, while I was editing the pub. It begins with an article on California wildfires threatening legacy growers in the Emerald Triangle before moving on to a broader examination of appellations, terroir, and how artisan growers can protect their botanical intellectual property. Madison has a gift for combining quirkiness and seriousness in a way that makes editors drool and other writers envious.

Madison is a dear friend, and we’ve collaborated on a variety of stories in the past—we’ve often swapped editor and writer roles. Before we delve into her heady 420 shots, I’d like to briefly mention one of her birthday celebrations a few years ago. All of her friends, including a host of old-school cannabis activists and “magical Jews,” came to LA’s Canter’s Deli’s Kibitz room for a nap. Before I knew it, an Eaze shipment showed up with an excess of weed for everyone to smoke between bites of their knishes. Will there be more “Jews and Drugs” than that? If only it was an annual tradition…

In her Cash Only interview, Madison explains the benefits of CBG (an overlooked cannabinoid), highlights some really cool POC-owned craft shops, and describes what it takes for a party to be super stoned and still have a good time. Exquisite shots of a real head!

What is your current favorite strain and what is your favorite way to consume it?

Madison Margoline: Anything high in CBD, ideally a hybrid and not sativa dominant, although I like Blue Dream. I prefer a tobacco-dominant spliff (occasionally I like it when that tobacco is menthol).

I’m always impressed by the Humboldt breeders, the likes of Huckleberry Hill Farms, Moonmade Farms, Briceland Forest Farms, etc. I’m not that much of a “stonehead” where I pay particular attention to what I’m smoking as it’s not a super heavy sativa. This makes me anxious at worst and overly vigilant at best, although I’m open to changing that narrative. As long as it’s a good enough spliff, I don’t really care about the flower because the tobacco cuts it off. I am not a consumption nerd, but an occasional smoker.

However, I prefer to support the small outdoor growers in the Emerald Triangle, the Mama and Pops. Even though the weed from an indoor grow is “better” or stronger, I still prefer outdoor weed. I love the outdoor growing lifestyle and what it entails, especially the sun-ripened, eco-friendly, sustainable and regenerative aspects. I like people who treat each individual plant with care, energetically, holistically, etc. This is preferred to the impersonal, mass-produced indoor weed found elsewhere.

Do you have a current favorite cannabis product?

This CBG tincture from Artemisia Negra, a local queer POC craft company based in the Hudson Valley. The brand is owned by this really cool herbalist. She’s great. I came across the brand at a farmers market in Kingston, and they source their hemp from Deer Creek Herbs, another small, regenerative operation in the Hudson Valley/Catskills area – so everything is made from that regenerative, local ecosystem.

I’ve found that CBG makes me a little more focused and alert than other cannabinoids. I took it before starting work for the day, and it helped! CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and can keep you relaxed, but CBG makes you more alert. It’s very subtle of course, but I love the way it makes me feel.

What activity do you enjoy doing after you’ve smoked?

To be honest, I don’t smoke that much weed these days. When I do, it’s definitely at night and usually a few hits from a spliff. Then when I’m there for the night, I make myself comfortable. When I’m on the road, I like to dance.

When I’m not around people who are very close to me, I can get socially awkward if I’m too stoned. When I’m at a party, I want music with a good, meditative vibe – maybe something trance-like. I like to get high at parties where you can get into the groove, stay on the dance floor, and not have to socialize too much. In other words, I don’t like getting high at house parties where everyone is chatting and talking non-stop. I want an atmosphere where I can lose myself without having to focus on my small talk skills.

Can you recommend anything to watch while stoned?

I recommend watching something full-length, meaning a movie that lasts the length of the high, and ideally something funny, like Annie Hall or something. I tend to get a little mental when I’m high, so keeping it light and humorous helps and allows me to focus on something other than my thoughts.

Can you recommend anything to listen to after quitting smoking?

The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty Album. i just love it so much It reminds me that America isn’t terrible and at the same time it’s fun to move to. Also, the lyrics feel emotional to me.

Can you recommend something to read while you’re high?

The last time I really freaked out while reading while baking was when I hit the chapter on “unity” in a book by Aryeh Kaplan called Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide. This book describes a psychedelic experience through meditation.

Who’s in your dream blunt rotation?

I feel so fortunate to have gotten high with people who are already in my dream blunt rotation – people like Mark McCloud and John Entwhistle for example. My father and his friend Gene Schoenfeld too. Old school hippies and activists from the 90’s. I’m thankful for the legendary people I’ve already smoked with!

Also, Ilana Glazer is on my Smoke Sesh bucket list. Cazzie David too. She’s a smoker and less stressful than her father, I would imagine. Meet me for a smoke session, Ilana and Cassie!

For more information on Madison Margolin, visit her website here.

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