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Wired: The Mechanics of Hostage Rescue

Coming out for subscribers now and on newstands very soon: a cool look at the mechanics of rescuing hostages. When Wired asked me to do this piece for an entire package on 'how complicated things are done', I thought it had pretty long odds of ever seeing the light of day. I mean, getting special forces operators to talk shop isn't easy. But, you never know until you ask. And the worst response I ever got was "no." (And now I have U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command Public Affairs in my rolodex. Which is nice.)
In other news, experimental startup 48HR Magazine published an excerpt of my interview with Shit My Dad Says author Justin Halpern. Support bold journalism by buying 48HR Mag Issue Zero online for $10. It's very good, and I get paid according to the mag's overall sales. Plus CBS has threatened to sue us for allegedly infringing on its "48 Hours Mystery" trademark. So the mag won't be available for long. (Lastly, the full Justin Halpern interview is at Gelf Magazine - with expert illustration from Conor Buckley.
I'm very busy covering the gold rush on legal dope in California for a new East Bay Express column. It's called 'Legalization Nation' and it's a 'Most Popular' read every day, plus it's getting syndicated across California. Make sure to check it out.
Some new stuff should be out in San Francisco Magazine this week, so buy one of those too.
Coming up: some killer stories on Synthetic Biology; the Geopolitics of World Cup 2010, Green Day: Rock Band, Slavoj Zizek's new book Living in the End Times and much, much more. I'm going to be in L.A. for E3 in early June, and NYC for my birthday in late June. Hope to see ya'll there. Thanks for listening.

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Some awards, some news ...

First: The awards. The Chronicle took a Scripps Howard award for Breaking News for its ‘Wine Country Fires’, to which GreenStatecontributedseveral stories.

Also, GreenState reporter Spencer Silva is a finalist for a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for In-Depth Reporting (Large) and Interactive. Winners will be announced and finalists honored at this year's Region 11 Spring Conference April 27-28, 2018 in Universal City, California.

Next up: I’m wrapping things up with GreenState this week and handing the baton to The Chronicle. In the last 18 months, we accomplished our goals of creating a future-forward cannabis media brand. I'll miss working next to so many talented people in one room. But it’s time to move on to new challenges.

Readers can follow my work by subscribing to my email list at, and/or following meTwitter and Facebook.

Publishers can reach me for assignments and pitches at

Advertisers can book…

The Medical Marijuana Guidebook By David Downs Is Selling Briskly

Hi, guys. Long time no chat, but it's because I've been pretty busy. As of today, you can be the first to get a signed copy of my new book The Medical Marijuana Guidebook, which is for sale direct at as well as through Amazon and my publisher Whitman. Here's what some key folks are saying about the book:

"The medical marijuana landscape in the US can be extremely difficult to navigate. The Medical Marijuana Guidebook is essential for those who want to maximize the benefits of the marijuana plant. David Downs provides a comprehensive look at the plant, its use and the laws that surround it." —Amanda Reiman PhD MSW | Manager, Marijuana Law and Policy, Drug Policy Alliance
"David Downs does a great job of summarizing the most useful things to know about medical cannabis, both for the cannabis-experienced, as well as cannabis-naive patient."—Frank H. Lucido MD, Berkeley, California
"An excellent introductory manual for those seeking to n…

Marijuana, Luxury, and a New Column for 7X7

I'm starting to track the intersection of cannabis and Bay Area luxury/power/money in a new column for 7X7 Magazine.

We're still working on the name for it. First it was "High Society". Currently it's "Cannabis Insider". I'm not in love with either. But we're definitely keeping the pseudonym: Herb Caine.

Read: "Cannabis Insider: Pitching Pot in the Twitter Building", in 7X7.