The news: Rapper B-Real (of Cypress Hill fame) probably just won the Ice Bucket Challenge. California is going through a severe drought right now, so instead of wasting a bucketful of water, B-Real decided to do it with something else he just happened to have handy — what looks like a couple ounces of weed.
"I know we're going through a drought with water and all that stuff, so we're going to do it a little different, but I accept the challenge," B-Real says in the video for YouTube channel HustlaSubs, before another man showers him in ganja. "Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Woody Harrelson — you've got 24 hours to accept."
All three are well-known marijuana connoisseurs, so here's to that. (Though one might wonder how much water was used to grow B-Real water substitute.)
ALSA: The Ice Bucket Challenge was organized by the ALS Association to raise funds for ALS, an uncommon and fatal disease affecting just 22,600 to 30,000 Americans at any one time. Thanks to publicity and awareness raised by the challenge, donations to ALSA have hit an astonishing $88.5 million in just the past few weeks, around 34 times the amount the organization received over a similar time period in 2013. So this slightly silly viral craze is nonetheless doing immense good, drawing attention to an under-recognized neurodegenerative disease which is rare enough that little funding for a cure or treatment has been secured.
Marijuana: B-Real is a prominent weed activist who helped organize the Cypress Hill Smokeout in 2012, a medical marijuana-themed music festival with a pro-legalization message, so his personal twist on the challenge isn't just all fun. B-Real regularly advocates for decriminalization and legalization of marijuana use, and studies have demonstrated that the synthetic weed alternative Sativex may help slow the progression of ALS in mice.
The Hill's Andrew Gargano notes that cannabis offers ALS patients symptomatic relief, and that many ALS patients have already turning to self-medication, at which point they or their suppliers are often harassed by state or federal agents. Marijuana and ALS advocates are unlikely allies in the fight for more humane medical and criminal drug policies.
California drought: Finally, B-Real has a point about saving water: After several years of ravaging drought, the state of California only has 12 to 18 months of water left, a situation the L.A. Times reports will get even worse, as 2014 is expected to be one of the hottest and driest years on record. But the amount of water going into the challenge is insubstantial compared to leaky faucets, watering lawns and swimming pools, so you probably shouldn't sweat it.