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A Journey Into Space

with Bill “Spaceman” Lee

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Today’s cannabis news often mentions former professional athletes advocating for cannabis law reform, starting their own cannabis businesses, or investing in the cannabis industry. 2019 saw headlines about CBD products being sold in stores like GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe for the very first time; two franchises whose primary consumers are athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Cannabis is not only commonly associated with athletes, it’s becoming mainstream in the athletic community, even though athletes have been consuming it almost secretly amongst themselves for a very long time. This means athletes consuming cannabis is nothing new, but professional athletes openly talking to the press about it is, unless you’re Bill Lee. 

Bill Lee is a baseball legend. He is a left-handed pitcher who played for the Boston Red Sox from 1969-1978 and then the Montreal Expos from 1979-1982. Lee was on the 1973 American League All Star Team. In his career, he pitched 119 winning games, with a lifetime ERA of 3.62 and was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2008 for pitching the most games as a lefty, and for having the 3rd highest win total by a left-handed pitcher. He plays ball to this day, and in 2010, at age 63, he set the record as the oldest pitcher to win a professional baseball game, only before beating his own record again at the age of 65 in 2012.  

Lee is famous for his comments to press as much as his successful career in America’s favorite pastime. At a time when the league was very conservative, Lee was seen as eccentric by being very outspoken about his opinions and ideologies, so much so, the press nicknamed him Spaceman. He was even outspoken enough to admit using cannabis to the press, which got him fined $250 by Bowie Kuhn, the MLB Commissioner at the time. In 1980, he was featured on the cover of High Times, where the cover stated, “What would happen if Bowie Kuhn levied a $250 fine against every player in baseball who smoked dope? Bill Lee says, ‘He’d be a rich man’.”

Their mandatory drug testing, I think, was flawed from the beginning.

This was one of the first times an athlete consuming cannabis was featured on the cover of a magazine, not only admitting to using cannabis himself, but suggesting lots of major league baseball players do too. The catch was, Lee never said he smoked cannabis, although he did smoke it. The story was, he sprinkled raw cannabis on his buckwheat pancakes, and Lee tells us, “When Bowie found out that I didn’t say I smoked it, he sent me a letter and fined me $250 for using it as a condiment, and I still have that letter.”

Looking back on his High Times cover feature, Lee said he never imagined cannabis would become an integrated part of sports in the future, as it’s starting to now. He says, “Only over the history of learning that the Chinese use the seeds back 3000 years ago, and the fact that it has been an integral part of our culture, I’ve found out that shamans and the witchdoctors, and everybody else had always used it. And then I always thought it had good properties. You know, everybody says it’s a gateway drug, but I’ve always found it as the drug that gets you off of everything else. It’s always kept me from drinking too much. I remember when I left Montreal, I bought an ounce of weed and I drove my Volkswagen bus all the way to California. When I got to California, I had no problems. So I’ve always thought that if it’s a gateway drug then it must be a gateway to the golden gateway.” Lee’s life story even took to the big screen in 2016, when he was played by Josh Duhamel, in the movie titled, “Spaceman.”

Lee actually first tried cannabis while attending the University of Southern California, where he roomed with long distance runners who smoked it. He doesn’t feel like their choice to consume influenced his decision to try it, but rather, “It just happened to be coincidental at that time, and the fact that they seemed to be able to run a lot better. I’ve always thought it definitely opens up your alveoli. Those sacks are there so you can relay more oxygen, and they tend to run very well. And you know what? That probably helps you handle the pain and the stress of running, through all the other ingredients in it, including the THC and the CBD. If you get a mixture of 50/50, you know, you could probably run all day. It tends to make you focus. People say you catch people staring off into the distance and everything else, but you know, when your heart is beating perfectly, you’re running, and you get that endorphin high, it seems like you can go forever.”

Another experience Lee had with plant based medicines and athletics, was with mescaline, a psychedelic compound extracted from different mescaline containing cacti. “I used to snort mescaline. I remember I ran six miles in a rainstorm when I got rained out of Minnesota one day. Peter Gammons (a famous American sportswriter) came up to me to interview me before the rain out and I was all wired up. I said, ‘Peter, you’ve got to take off that shirt. That pink line is jumping out at me’. He laughed and added, “I remember running through the rain drops with a smile on my face for six miles in Minnesota. One of the greatest runs of my life.”

This intertwined relationship between plants, cannabis, and sports continued, even when Lee first met his friend, Cheech Marin, one half of the iconic stoner comedy duo, Cheech & Chong. “We first met playing basketball. We used to play basketball on Wednesday nights. We played two nights a week down in Malibu in ’76. We would play pickup basketball, and then we’d go out and smoke a doobie. Then we’d head on home and do it all over again the next day.” Lee said, laughing at the memories. 

He also thought back to the inner baseball culture during his time of play, and how drugs like amphetamines and stimulants were readily available. “There was a bowl in front of everybody. Shoot, everybody was taking greenies and stuff, and I found out those were counterproductive to me. I believe that it forced people to throw too hard and not learn how to pitch. It was basically a drug because we drank too much and everybody would have to take your greenie just to make it back on the field the next day.”

This sounds a lot like the opioid problem we have in the NFL today. Sports teams pushing pills to keep their players on the fields to earn money for the franchise is nothing new. In mid December 2019, the MLB announced removing cannabis from its banned substance list in the minor leagues. It previously did not require mandatory drug testing for cannabis, but the minor leagues did. Lee’s opinion of the current culture of cannabis and drug testing in the MLB today is that, “They’re neanderthals (referring to the people managing the MLB). I mean, they’ve been slow to go to free agency. They’re slow to do this. Their mandatory drug testing, I think, was flawed from the beginning. All these people got kicked out of the game, the McGuire’s and the Canseco’s, and everybody else. But the problem is economics. That’s why we have the problems in our capitalistic system where we don’t take care of the poor. We don’t take care of the incarcerated. We don’t take care of a lot of people that we should and that’s why I’m more of a socialist. And I always will be, like Eugene Debs.”

Everybody says it’s a gateway drug, but I’ve always found it as the drug that gets you off of everything else.

Eugene Debs was an American socialist and five time candidate for President of the United States, representing the Socialist Party of America, in the early 1900’s. Lee himself entered the political arena when he ran as the Liberty Union Party’s candidate for Governor of Vermont, in 2016. He ran on a very left wing campaign, during which, he told TIME Magazine, “I’m an anti-prohibition guy. I think everything should be taxed, legalized.” Although Lee didn’t win the election, Vermont fully legalized recreational cannabis in July of 2018. It had been legalized medically in 2004, but Lee tells us, “Hell, it’s always been legal up here. No one’s cracking down on it. You know, as long as you treat your neighbor nice, we’re kind of a self-governing place. And where I live in the Northeast Kingdom, way up here, no one is going to get bothered. We haven’t been bothered here for 30 years.”

In reference to federal legalization, Lee said, “Everything in Vermont is going to hemp. Everything’s going that way. I think maybe the federal government will start legalizing it a little more, instead of coming down on it, and having this battle between state’s rights and federal rights.” Federal legalization is definitely something we can all hope for, and the future is looking promising with more states legalizing at the turn of every major election. 

Nowadays, when Lee isn’t openly sharing his opinions and views with the world, his hobbies include traveling, making baseball bats, and even making wine. He’s produced his very own brand of wine called Spaceman Wines, and makes his own bats made from wood sourced in Vermont. Even with his hobbies and advocacy for cannabis, no matter how busy he gets, nothing can keep him away from his true love, the game of baseball. To this day, Lee still plays in the Roy Hobbs League, and the Men’s Senior Baseball League. When it comes to his cannabis use, he says he doesn’t smoke as much as he used to. “I don’t think I’m the consumer that I used to be, that’s for sure. I do use CBD oil, a lot of that. Sometimes people give me edibles, and I take a puff every once in a while. It seems like everybody in the world wants to smoke with me”. 

After having the opportunity to learn more about the complexity of Bill “Spaceman” Lee, I believe we can all agree, he’s definitely someone you’d like to spark up more than just a conversation with, because you never quite know how deep into space Lee’s discussion will take you.

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This Week | Nov 19

Featuring Mara Gordon

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GRAM has gone LIVE! Featuring writers, scientists, government officials, plant medicine specialists, celebrities, front line workers, cannabis experts, hemp farmers, researchers, and so much more through fresh video content. COVID 19 has caused us to think outside the box until we can put our magazines into stores again, we bring you GRAM LIVE!


November 19th, 2020

Nancy Moss talk with Mara Gordon for Part 2 – Putting Cannabis In Your Doctor’s Toolbox. If only all physicians had knowledge surrounding the ECS and cannabis the world would work much easier. Mara Gordon is putting in the time and the research and her whole system will soon have a revamping.


GRAM This Week is sponsored by…

ReleafApp – https://releafapp.com/
Frere Cheramie – https://www.frerecheramie.com/
Nugtopia Art – https://nugtopia.net/
Chef Sebastian Carosi – https://www.instagram.com/chef_sebast…
Primal Therapeutics – https://cannabismassagecolorado.com/
Trichom Health Center – https://www.trichomhealthcenter.com/
The Grateful Veteran – https://www.facebook.com/thegratefulv…
Mr Boomers Magic Kitchen – https://www.instagram.com/cannabenoid…
Magical Butter – https://www.magicalbutter.com/
True Terpenes – https://trueterpenes.com/

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This Week | Nov 12

Featuring Mara Gordon

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GRAM has gone LIVE! Featuring writers, scientists, government officials, plant medicine specialists, celebrities, front line workers, cannabis experts, hemp farmers, researchers, and so much more through fresh video content. COVID 19 has caused us to think outside the box until we can put our magazines into stores again, we bring you GRAM LIVE!


November 12th, 2020

Nancy Moss sits down with the one and only, Mara Gordon. They discuss activism and advocacy of cannabis plant medicine. Part 1


GRAM This Week is sponsored by…

ReleafApp – https://releafapp.com/
Frere Cheramie – https://www.frerecheramie.com/
Nugtopia Art – https://nugtopia.net/
Chef Sebastian Carosi – https://www.instagram.com/chef_sebast…
Primal Therapeutics – https://cannabismassagecolorado.com/
Trichom Health Center – https://www.trichomhealthcenter.com/
The Grateful Veteran – https://www.facebook.com/thegratefulv…
Mr Boomers Magic Kitchen – https://www.instagram.com/cannabenoid…
Magical Butter – https://www.magicalbutter.com/
True Terpenes – https://trueterpenes.com/

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This Week | Nov 5

Featuring Dr Janice Knox + Jahan Marcu

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GRAM has gone LIVE! Featuring writers, scientists, government officials, plant medicine specialists, celebrities, front line workers, cannabis experts, hemp farmers, researchers, and so much more through fresh video content. COVID 19 has caused us to think outside the box until we can put our magazines into stores again, we bring you GRAM LIVE!


November 5th, 2020

Our very own, Nurse Jordan Person sits down with the incredible Dr. Janice Knox. Not only is she a Board Certified Anesthesiologist, and Endocannbinologist, or Cannabinoid Medicine Specialist. Listen to her advice to medical cannabis patients and fellow medical practitioners, and learn more about the incredible medical practice she has started with her family of physicians.


We welcome Jahan Marcu. He is the Editor in Chief for the American Journal of Endocannabinoid Medicine and a founding partner of Marcu and Arora. Listen in as our own, Nurse Jordan Person talks with Jahan about what led him to a life of Endocannabinoid science and medicine, how he became the Editor in Chief for the AJEM, and what his future plans are for his new consulting company.


GRAM This Week is sponsored by…

ReleafApp – https://releafapp.com/
Frere Cheramie – https://www.frerecheramie.com/
Nugtopia Art – https://nugtopia.net/
Chef Sebastian Carosi – https://www.instagram.com/chef_sebast…
Primal Therapeutics – https://cannabismassagecolorado.com/
Trichom Health Center – https://www.trichomhealthcenter.com/
The Grateful Veteran – https://www.facebook.com/thegratefulv…
Mr Boomers Magic Kitchen – https://www.instagram.com/cannabenoid…
Magical Butter – https://www.magicalbutter.com/
True Terpenes – https://trueterpenes.com/

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