Artists use Ukraine president’s candy wrappers for critical portrait

KIEV (Reuters) – As Ukraine heads in a presidential election on Sunday, two artists have created an unflattering portrait of incumbent Petro Poroshenko using sweet wrappers and bullet casings.

Ukrainian artist Dariya Marchenko works on a portrait of Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko named ‘The Face of Corruption’ which is made of wrappers from more than 20 kilograms of Roshen candies and empty shell cartridges brought from the frontline of a military conflict in the east of the country, in Kiev, Ukraine March 27, 2019. Picture taken March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

From Poroshenko’s perspective probably the best thing about the piece is that the artists had to use 20 kilograms (44 lb) of candies made by a confectionary firm that he owns.

Titled ‘Face of Corruption’, the collage by Daria Marchenko and Daniel Green is full of hidden meanings.

    Speaking to Reuters in her apartment in Kiev, Marchenko explained that the candy wrappers symbolize empty promises made to Ukrainians since Poroshenko came to power following the ousting of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich five years ago.

Sat at a table covered with colorful wrappers, she described the Ukrainian people as being like a child craving democracy.

“This child was shown a candy in the form of democracy, in the form of a new future, of something bright, non-totalitarian and honest,” she said.

“And in the end, the child was not given this candy. That is why we can see candy wrappers on the face of Petro Oleksiyovych (Poroshenko). We cannot not see candies, we can see empty wrappers, just wrappers.”

    The portrait’s background is made of bullet casings collected from Ukraine’s volatile east and are arranged in a pattern to resemble chocolate bars, in a nod to Poroshenko’s background in the confectionery business and his nickname “the Chocolate King”.

    Close-up, the chocolate bars also resemble coffins which symbolize the lost souls of Ukrainians, Marchenko said.

    “In the background we can see the country at war, the country full of coffins while the president lives in sweetness under any circumstances,” she said.

According to an opinion poll published on Thursday, comic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a political novice who plays a fictional president in a popular TV series, has maintained a strong lead in Ukraine’s presidential election race. [nL8N21F3RH]

The poll by KIIS research body, the final survey for the election’s first round, showed support for Zelenskiy at 20.9 percent, with Poroshenko second on 13.7 percent and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko third on 9.7 percent.

Thirty-nine candidates have registered for the election. If no candidate wins 50 percent of the votes cast in Sunday’s poll, the top two will face each other in a run-off on April 21.

The portrait of Poroshenko is the third in a series of artworks by Marchenko and Green.

Their 2015 ‘Face of War’ depicted Russian President Vladimir Putin and was made of bullet casings, while a 2017 portrait of U.S. President Donald Trump was made of coins and titled ‘Face of Money’.

Reporting by Margaryta Chornokondratenko; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Wana Gummie? Wana Brands CEO on Why People Like Candy Edibles.

The edibles game can be a screwy one for the legal cannabis industry, with a roulette of changing regulations and constantly evolving market demand. New government rules on dosing and packaging can end a company overnight; if those don’t do it, then ever-changing extraction technology and consumer habits just might, with new forms of consumption popping up more often than expected. That’s not even counting the financing and expansion issues faced by American cannabis brands now that our neighbors to the north have legalized the plant federally.

Despite all of these obstacles, Colorado-based pot companies continue to thrive nationally, and Boulder’s Wana Brands is no exception. The infused-products company, known for its gummies, has branched out with vaporizing, CBD and capsule products on its way to becoming one of the state’s largest cannabis brands, with continued expansion into other states. To learn more about surviving in such a tough market, we caught up with Wana founder and CEO Nancy Whiteman.

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Westword: How did you get involved in legal cannabis?

Marijuana Deals Near You

Nancy Whiteman: I always say that I need to have a better origin story, but I got into the cannabis industry because of opportunity. At the time, I owned a marketing consultancy, and I was looking for a business that wasn’t contingent specifically on my billable hours. I was looking for a product-based business when I started chatting with a neighbor. He mentioned that he was launching a cannabis beverage company, so we decided to share a kitchen.

My neighbor and I have since parted ways and no longer share a kitchen, but Wana continued to grow into the company it is today. And what began as a search for the perfect widget to produce infused products has grown into deep respect and love for the plant. We regularly receive correspondence from our customers about the difference that Wana products have made in their lives. That feedback kept me going in the early days when the business was very challenging.

With so many options available nowadays for edibles consumers, why do you think people still like gummies and candy so much?

When we first started, people were experimenting with everything from infused pizza to barbecue sauce. But ultimately, I think we found that people don’t really want to consume major amounts of food that has THC in it. They just want something small, simple and enjoyable to eat, and then get a delicious pizza without THC! Enter gummies. Additionally, many consumers already take gummies for various vitamins and medicines, from vitamin C to melatonin, so people are used to them as a delivery method. Gummies are easy, convenient and discreet — and Wana gummies are delicious, so it makes eating them a treat.

Wana released Game Day Gummies, blue and orange infused candy, in honor of the Denver Broncos.

Wana released Game Day Gummies, blue and orange infused candy, in honor of the Denver Broncos.

Courtesy of Wana Brands

How far has cannabis extraction and infusion come in the past five or ten years?

Thanks to new cannabis extraction technologies, we are now able to isolate specific cannabinoids [THC, CBD, etc.] and terpenes [compounds in cannabis and other plants that are responsible for aromas and flavors] that allow for development of new and novel products. That sets up the possibility of recombining plant components in specific ways to address various needs and creating specific experiences.

What are some areas of infusion or product development that you are excited to explore more?

The entire cannabis industry has just scratched the surface on how to combine cannabinoids and terpenes to achieve desired effects that go beyond superficial marketing claims and placebo effects. At Wana, we’re very interested in exploring this potential further. These exact combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids will help the industry achieve more precision in its products.

What does Wana Brands have planned for Colorado in the future? What about the rest of the world?

In Colorado, Wana is working on new product development, much of which is too premature to discuss. But we can mention that we’re expanding our new and popular vaporizer line, and we’re looking forward to unveiling other brand extensions. Domestically, Wana is currently in four states — Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and Oregon — and we are currently on-boarding in three more, including Michigan, Illinois and Florida. In 2019, we expect to be in an additional four to six states, including California, and we are in active discussions with potential partners in Canada.

Toke of the Town

On Halloween, Don’t Fear the Reefer. Spiked Candy is a Myth.

Trick or THC-treat? Halloween is right around the corner, a time of year that invokes fear in parents and children alike. All across the United States, as kids slash their way through neighborhoods disguised as Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers collecting treats, parents sit at home in terror, afraid some menacing evildoers will dose their […]

Switzerland: CBD Products Should Not Look like Candy

Newly emerging in Switzerland, opponents of cannabis reform are up in arms about the colorful packaging of CBD products, which they claim entices both children and adolescents to consume cannabis. However, the main point of contention for Swiss lawmakers is not THC-infused edibles and their possible confusion with non-medicated goods. The sticking point for anti-legalization […]

Kids Getting Marijuana Candy During Halloween Is Not an Issue

Anti-marijuana activists are using scare tactics to oppose Florida’s medical marijuana initiative that’ll be on the ballot this November. What scare tactics, you ask? They’re claiming that medical marijuana users will put marijuana candies in kids’ bags as a prank.

Beyond the fact I’ve never known anyone to give away large amounts of (often expensive) marijuana and the fact that the worst thing that would happen to these kids would likely be a case of the munchies, there’s no evidence to support these claims.

“Officials came together today to warn that Florida children who go door to door for candy on Halloween may one day be at risk of receiving edible marijuana products if Amendment 2 comes to pass,” the anti-marijuana group Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot said in a statement. “This scary scenario isn’t the plot of an upcoming horror movie. According to medical and law enforcement officials, it’s a very real scenario playing out in states like California, Washington and Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized.”

Except that scenario is not playing out in those states.

“But unlike other scare tactics, this conspiracy theory actually has some merit,” wrote the Miami New Times. “Just kidding, it’s been debunked repeatedly and has no basis in science.

As usual, the loudest criticisms of legalizing medical marijuana are based on nonsense.

[Photo via Pixabay]

The 420 Times

WonderBrett’s Brain Candy Marijuana Strain Review

The Scoop: Easily distinguished by its unique branding, WonderBrett’s Brain Candy is arguably one of the best-kept secrets in L.A.’s potent marijuana scene. Crossbreeding the heady Sativa-dominant Bubble Gum with a potent Indica-dominant Sugar Cookie, WonderBrett’s (WB) Brain Candy is a strain on the threshold of gaining a lofty a reputation, and perhaps a few awards.

The Result: Available at 420 Central, the Herb Connection, L.A. Confidential, and Purple Lotus, this 50% / 50% hybrid is akin to a mythical unicorn strain. Magically pacifying the consumer when necessary, yet able to spark creativity when called upon. Doing double duty: WonderBrett’s Brain Candy is the perfect wake-n-bake strain, offering a little early morning motivation to help get those procrastinators out the door, and offering a soul soothing respite for those 9-to-5 grinders.

Type: Hybrid 50/50

Genetics: Bubble Gum x Sugar Cookies

Average THC: 23%

Average Price Per ?: $ 55

Strain Profile: Hydroponically cultivated with terpene increasing organic nutrients, WonderBrett’s Brain Candy enjoys consistently high THC test results. Residing squarely in the middle of the Indica v. Sativa spectrum, Brain Candy’s parental lineage provides the consumer a creative and energetic high, while also providing an elevated sense of relaxation.

Appearance: Properly processed, Brain Candy’s meticulously trimmed flower provides more smoke and fewer stems in the stash. Caked in puffy white trichomes and differentiated by slightly smaller nugs, WB’s inspired cross between Bubble Gum & Sugar Cookies provides rock-hard buds for the curious consumer.

Consistency: These flowers, in addition to being dense and tacky with cannabinoid-rich compounds, were methodically maintained during the curative process and jarred when finished. As such, the flower’s consistency is near perfect, like the moment they were first sealed.

Scent: Prying at the seal of your Brain Candy Jar, begging to get out and notify all in the room of her overwhelming presence, this strain’s fragranced-dipped terpenes burst with a twisted bouquet of vanilla-skunk, berry and sweet earth.

Taste: Brain Candy’s smoke seems sugar coated and palatable, earthbound and inspirational. Her overall flavor on the inhale is particularly appetizing, with the exhale maintaining the flowers complex scent profile. When hit out of a freshly cleaned glass piece, this bud is like medicated candy for the hyperactive brain.

Effect: Capturing both sides of the medicinal spectrum, this 50-50 hybrid is perfect for the working man on the go. Its crossbred genetics allow individuals to focus when necessary and relax when possible. Placing this judiciously intoxicating strain on just about every patient’s must-have list.

Verdict: Brain Candy is a connoisseur’s smoke that doubles as a mighty fine medicine. From a medicinal standpoint, Brain Candy works well in mitigating debilitating headaches, chronic depression, overwhelming stress, and those nagging aches and pains caused by the simple activities of daily living.



Colorado Could Ban the Word “Candy” From Edible Packaging

Colorado officials could ban the word “candy” from packages containing marijuana edibles.

Draft rules for edibles in the state where recreational pot is legal could include that and more. One proposal would include a stop sign on all edible packaging. The red sign would inform consumers they’re looking at a THC product.

Parents’ group Smart Colorado, concerned that children will mistake edibles for snacks and candy, has pushed for the labeling rules.

The group said this in a statement:

Smart Colorado applauds the leadership of Colorado state legislators and the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in proposing a regulatory framework that includes marking all commercial marijuana products, including both recreational and medical, while aligning markings with the labeling, packaging and education efforts. The universal symbol of a red stop sign combined with the words THC provides the public a visible way of identifying marijuana while signaling risks are involved.

The Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce is opposed to the proposed rules. It says they’re too strict. In April the group wrote this:

Already, every recreational edible product is sealed in a childproof container, has a warning label, and provides specific, tested dosage information. The cannabis industry has willingly supported and complied with each of these steps as we work together for continued public education and safety.

We’ve lived with legal, adult-only products for a very long time in America. We are comfortable with a mature level of responsibility being placed on the consumers of all such products.

We ask media and lawmakers to please stop making marijuana the exception.

The parents’ group wants the rules implemented “as soon as possible.”

The 420 Times

Cop Appears to Eat Pot Candy During Raid

Bombshell video obtained by OC Weekly shows what appears to be cops behaving badly during a pot shop raid in Santa Ana.

It’s not the first time police on a marijuana dispensary raid were videotaped taking out surveillance cameras only to miss one.

But this time the camera captured some amazing shit.

For one thing, one of the Santa Ana police officers is seen picking up something and popping it into his mouth. Another cop asks, “What flavor?”

A female cop jokes that she’d like to kick marijuana activist and wheelchair-bound amputee Marla James in her “nub.”

The cops also throw darts. So much fun, these raids.

After the story was published with video included, the Santa Ana Police Department said it would investigate.

OC Weekly also found out that a judge a few of the cops were talking about on-camera was the same one who signed the search warrant for the raid.

One of the officers offers a story about hanging out with Judge John Fish when he was an Orange County deputy district attorney specializing in narcotics cases:

He’s the fucker that pulled into a gas station on our way to the Staples Center and goes, ‘Let’s buy some beers and drink ’em out of a red cup.’ I go, ‘That’s not going to be obvious.’ There we are at an am/pm getting styrofoam cups and pouring our beers into them. That fucking blew me away.

The judge’s office had no comment.

The 420 Times

Nintendo Mobile Dev Wants to Topple Candy Crush

Nintendo’s first mobile game has the potential to attract 100 million users per day, according to a key executive at DeNA, the third-party publisher enlisted to help develop the new range of smartphone games.

Shintaro Asako, the chief executive at DeNA West, believes Nintendo’s IP has the gravitas to reach unprecedented numbers of smartphone players. While Candy Crush Saga peaked in 2014 at 93 million daily active users, Asako thinks DeNA can top that.

“I’ve wanted to create something globally successful, not only for kids, but for mid-aged people and beyond,” Asako told Venturebeat.

“The game should attract a huge range of people. We wanted to get a huge audience like Candy Crush, like 100 million users. We wanted to create something with that kind of DAU [daily active user] base.”

On Tuesday Nintendo revealed it has bought a ten percent stake in DeNA, as part of a wider plan to begin releasing new games on mobile. The first of these custom-made, bespoke titles is expected to be released before the end of 2015. Nintendo also announced that it is separately working on a new traditional games console, which is internally named the Nintendo NX.

Asako did not explicitly state that the new Nintendo mobile games would be free-to-play, but the 100 million target is not reasonably possible without such a business strategy.

“I think with the strong IPs Nintendo has, and the strong game operation expertise we have, I don’t think we’re dreaming [about reaching] 100 million DAU,” he said.

“Mobile gaming is our core business, and we definitely wanted to be the No. 1 mobile gaming company in the world. We’ve wanted to be a dominant player,” Asako added.

“We were originally focused on the feature phone space and then shifted over to smartphones, and now [we have] a lot of initiative in both the domestic and international markets. But we really want to be leading player.”

He added that careful consideration was necessary to deliver choice to customers without jeopardizing Nintendo’s commitment to quality.

“For this, I think the solution is not coming out with 10 or 20 games right away. We should pick the right game. We should actually create a smartphone-specific game that requires day-to-day social interaction. It’s not just porting a Wii U game out to smartphones. But actually properly design a smartphone game.”

For more on Nintendo’s move into the smartphone market, check out GameSpot’s editor opinion roundup on the subject.


Bag of meth found in 8-year-old California girl’s Halloween candy

(Reuters) – Police in the San Francisco Bay area were seeking clues on Tuesday as to how a plastic bag of methamphetamine turned up in the Halloween candy of an 8-year-old girl.

The girl’s father found a pinkish-colored Ziploc pouch containing a powdery substance while checking his daughter’s trick-or-treat collection on Monday morning and called authorities, police said.

The father told police the bag apparently ended up in the child’s Halloween candy while they were out trick-or-treating on Friday night near their home in the East Bay town of Hercules, California, about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Testing of the substance, measuring one-tenth of a gram, revealed it to be crystal methamphetamine, “a small amount but enough to do damage to an 8-year-old girl had she gotten into it on her own,” said detective Connie Van Putten, a spokeswoman for the Hercules Police Department.

She said detectives were re-interviewing the father and daughter on Tuesday to determine precisely which homes they visited on Halloween and were trying to see if fingerprints could be lifted from the plastic bag that carried the meth.

The father told police he and his daughter were trick-or-treating in a well-lit, 10-block area of town called the Promenade, consisting of quaint Victorian homes with picket fences, which is a popular gathering spot on Halloween.

Van Putten said the case appears to be an isolated incident, and detectives have no immediate evidence that the girl was singled out as a target.

“We are leaning toward it being an accident, but we are not ruling out an intentional act,” she said. “Whoever it was may have intended to put it in somebody’s candy but not hers.”

A tenth of a gram of meth, while a relative small amount, is enough to bring felony charges for possession of a controlled substance, she said.

Van Putten said the case is a reminder for parents to look after their children’s Halloween activities.

“You don’t want to keep your children in bubble wrap, but you do need to be aware … and go through children’s candy to make sure none of the packaging has been tampered with, and that there’s no needles, razor blades or anything foreign,” she said.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Marijuana Candy Is a Halloween Mirage

You have to wonder if Halloween marijuana candy is a myth.

Because after years of trying, begging even, we have yet to get just one of these treats after declaring, “Trick or treat!”

And still, law enforcement officials from coast to coast have returned to their annual ritual of warning parents to check their kids’ Halloween candy bags for weed and edibles (not for their own afterhours enjoyment, but to protect the children).

A Denver police campaign to warn people about pot candy this Halloween season. The department warns:

Denver parents have an interesting predicament this year, in the fact that recreational marijuana is legal. We advise that you should thoroughly check your children’s candy, and not just for homemade, opened, or suspicious items, but also for any marijuana edibles that look eerily close to mainstream candies kids eat every day.

Of course, the effort has been met with widespread derision in the Mile High City. Once commentor on the department’s Facebook page called the campaign “ridiculous fear mongering.”

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, without citing one example of marijuana candy making it into a child’s hands, had warnings of its own:

Children might mistake them as Halloween goodies, but these treats are not what they seem.  Parents are advised to carefully check their children’s trick?or?treat bags for candies infused with marijuana.

The California Highway Patrol, pitchforks in-hand, joined the crowd this week too, suggesting that someone could slip you drugs that would effect your driving:

Don’t go into a house to get candy or eat unwrapped candy and food.

We’re looking forward this scourge of cannabis candy. But like all the ghosts we see this time of year, it’s just not real.

The 420 Times

Pot cookies are okay in Washington state, just not pot candy

Thumbnail image for brownies-wikimediacommons.jpg
For adults only.

In a move so that defies common sense so much that it is baffling, recreational and medical pot stores in Washington can sell cannabis brownies and cookies but can’t sell candy or lollipops because the latter might be appealing to kids.

Adults apparently don’t ever eat candy in Washington, ever. Movie theaters must be stocked with kale chips.

The new edibles rules were released by the state Liquor Control Board earlier this week. All edibles products have to be approved by the board and all applications have to send in photos of their products and packaging for approval. In other words, someone is getting paid by taxpayer dollars to look at photos of food.

All edibles have to clearly indicate that they contain marijuana on the label and have to be tested for potency. Manufacturing facilities will also undergo inspections.

So far, only one pot edible maker has been approved by Washington officials though there is a backlog of more than 250 businesses undergoing approval currently.

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Toke of the Town

Gaming’s future is free-to-play and microtransactions, says Candy Crush dev

According to Candy Crush developer King, the future of gaming will be all about free-to-play and microtransaction-based business models.

“The microtransaction is so strong and it’s definitely a much better model,” King Games Guru Tommy Palm told IGN. “I think all companies have to transition over to that.”

Palm acknowledged that “hardcore gamers” are “not happy about” the free-to-play/microtransaction model right now, but he says they’ll come around.

“If you asked them about the long term, ‘Do you want to continue playing your favorite game for years to come?’ And the answer will be yes.”

Palm is talking about the “games as a service” model, whereby a game is more of a platform through which new content is delivered on a regular basis.

Also in the interview, Palm said developers must make sure they are not “milking” consumers through “greedy” monetization practices.

“I think for companies it is very important to find a good balance. Free-to-play games are difficult to do, and you really need to be good at making it feel balanced to the gamers. So it’s not too greedy,” he said.

Palm pointed out that King has adopted the practice of designing its games, like Candy Crush Saga, so that they never force players to pay. This isn’t just an idea, it’s reality, as Palm mentioned that more than half of the players who reached the final level in Candy Crush did not pay to get there.

More than 93 million people play Candy Crush Saga every day. Finally, Palm cited Blizzard Entertainment’s game Hearthstone as a free-to-play title done right.

“It’s a great example of a F2P game that is made really well; it’s well balanced, and I don’t think many people are complaining about that business model,” he said. “It’s easy to see if there’s concept that is close to your heart. It works out really well.”

For more about the ongoing debate around the free-to-play model, check out our new editorial featuring comments from various GameSpot editors.

Gamespot’s Site Mashup

VIDEO: Candy Crush Saga Making New Game-Inspired Treats!

It’s highly addictive, and on any given day there’s about 43 million people using it. Nope, not anything illegal, but most people who play Candy Crush Saga will admit it’s like crack. The bright-colored, bubbly video game has celebs like Keke Palmer “feeling punished,” Olivia Wilde “losing friends” and Rashida Jones “losing sleep.” According to experts, game creators at King are raking in almost $900,000 a day from players! But now there’s a new, less expensive edition of Candy Crush coming out. And this one you can eat.

Read more… “VIDEO: Candy Crush Saga Making New Game-Inspired Treats!”