Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cannacon Kicks It a Fourth Consecutive Year in Seattle


By Jeff Cole

Smith Cove’s Pier 91 event center will host over three-hundred businesses gathered here in the Emerald City to connect with suppliers, colleagues and enthusiastic consumers. Cannacon presents a broad collection of Seminars featuring expert speakers on topics from growing to marketing.

The trade show attracts exhibitors from around the world; there will be symposia, budtender certification classes, networking events, live glassblowing, cooking shows, and more! But remember; this is a non-smoking and non-consuming event dedicated to business development, so there is no designated area to consume. Furthermore, Washington pot laws require cannabis products to be sold in licensed retail locations only, and giveaways are not permitted either, so the crowd at Cannacon stays pretty sober.

But Cannacon isn’t all business. Doors open at 9:45 a.m. with seminars starting at 10:00 and live press conferences scheduled for 4:20 each day on Facebook. Exhibitors and VIPs will get a chance to take a cannabis-infused tour of Seattle after-hours with one of the event’s sponsors, the Canna-bus. (Click here to learn about Seattle Bliss cannabis-friendly tours)

Seminar topics include Horticulture, Business and Law, with renowned speakers addressing important issues within each discipline. There’s even a gathering of great minds scheduled just before the close of events Saturday with the publisher of Northwest Leaf and several others speaking about their experience as media in the cannabis-legal northwest.

For seminar schedules, exhibitor listings or tickets, go to the event website at Cannacon.org.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Alternative Facts Hearken Back to Nineteen Eighty-Four

By Jeff Cole

Of course Nineteen Eighty-Four has recently topped the Amazon best-seller list[1].  The new President’s list of Executive Orders issued in the opening weekend of his term begs an Orwellian comparison.  Nearly every Order places a noble protection in peril – health care, the environment, global trade – or hearkens back to pre-war, isolationist America’s tariffs and resulting abysmal exports.  The introduction of “alternative facts” to our vernacular, thereby hearkening of Orwell’s “newspeak” and sure to gain Merriam-Webster’s attention, adds yet another mysterious wet spot to the bed we all have to lie in for the next four years.

At the end of World War II, basically from 1945 to 1948, author George Orwell witnessed political forces at work to produce self-affirming newspaper articles and editorials across Europe, with shiny new History books on the horizon to educate the next generation.  He records several real events from personal experience in his book, In Front of Your Nose, in which a news report didn’t match his eye-witness account; or another political author had written a too-forgiving account because of that paper’s affiliations; or a group of government employees altering their service based on the behaviors witnessed in, or allowed by, their political leaders[2].

Perhaps the goal is to make us weary of fact-checking – to just accept the lies as truth.  One can summarize from In Front of Your Nose, that Orwell would define the role of a journalist as a noble responsibility mistakenly bestowed upon any fool in control of the English language.  Today’s political spin doctors rely on a gullible public to whom they feed a regular diet of “alternate facts” and a consistent stream of straight-faced falsehoods, in order that that gullible public will believe everything their elected leaders say.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston, the central character, works a job that requires him to re-write history by altering the texts of news articles from the past.  Today’s journalists seeking to inform the public will need an extra measure of not only courage, but tenacity over the next four years to continue to debunk the gushing deluge of falsehoods so proudly delivered by the President and those surrounding him as “alternative facts”.

For any American who still hasn’t read Orwell’s opus and swan song, Nineteen Eighty-Four, the time has indeed come.



[2] “Freedom of the Park”, essay by George Orwell, London Tribune, December 7, 1945.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cannabis Packaging Should Be More Earth-Friendly



Article by Draeko

Having danced and partied in the woods with hippies, having meditated with yogis or having engaged in deep conversations with those “average folk” who fall in between, it has been my takeaway that the cannabis movement has always, in essence, been about appreciation for life and living, for the planet. Yes. After partaking, people do find some increase in their communal spirits. It has been my experience that they also tend to become acutely sensitive to their local and global environment.

For approximately two years now, cannabis has been legal in Washington State and Colorado. Both industries are now thriving respectively with considerable profit margins. As I, among the millions of liberated partakers, walked into my first store, purchased my first pre-roll (they used to call them joints when I was growing up), I was in awe of the very creative names, and the amount of product. Everything was neatly in place, organized, and pharmaceutically clean, a virtual assembly line of energetic or relaxed connections. I didn’t notice it until I’d gotten home, opened the pre-roll, enjoyed my tote, and went to toss its container.

It didn’t go into the recycle bin. It didn’t go into the food waste bin. This meant that the container went into the garbage bin. This meant a land-fill somewhere. Right? On my next few trips back to the store, I noticed that every container I could make out was petroleum-based. Where was the earth-friendly packaging? Wasn’t one of the primary arguments for again legalizing industrial hemp and recreational marijuana (different cannabis strains) in the US its ecological benefits? Where was that “connection to Gaia”? As the dreadlocked budtender sold me my doobie, I couldn’t help but wonder: Now how did this happen?

Many months later at Vela (a blog which has often featured speakers and other events), I sat and listened as Liquor and Cannabis Board Director, Rick Garza explained Marijuana Legalization, Implementing I-502 in Washington State. As explained, it became apparent the many reasons why there were some controversial decisions to make legalization possible, an article within itself. My question to Mr. Garza, however, involved whether there was some measure to make the wrappings into more eco-friendly materials. Apparently, there was so much going into ensuring the Feds that wrappings weren’t enticing to minors that the environmental aspect was reluctantly kept from the process. Basically, it was really just a case of walking on eggshells (eagle eggs) to get that still-tentative Federal approval.So now I know the ‘Why’. What I’d like to know now is the ‘When’. When I asked Mr. Garza, he returned with, “What do you see?” In retrospect, I would have liked to have responded with a hemp solution as a biodegradable possibility, using the product to contain the product.

Perhaps, now that Washington and Colorado have proven the packaging secure, it is time to work on securing the future of the planet's ecology, and stop contributing to the Great Garbage Belt.

That would certainly improve the common high.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

420 (Cannabis) and Deep House


Article by Draeko

Billowing upwards, expanding outward from the cracks between the floorboards, wafting ghost-like from its restricted and confidential confines, the 420 culture is now being allowed its due from the sidelines of the illegal fringe. And that’s a good thing. For a good many of us old enough, the Deep House scene in general, that 420 ethos has always been there. In the heartbeat behind the rhythms to which we bobbed our heads, patted our feet, or shook our hips, 420 kept Deep House relevant. It was that unifying moment on every clock, when we knew, either firsthand or from a high probability rate that somewhere, someone was sparking it up. If it was 420 after hours, most likely it was us.

Through that blue haze hovering above at our private parties and discreetly-planned events, the aroma of the fog like some mind-calming mist on the moors, we danced happily and forbidden, baring our souls to its influence. Even so, it was a secret life a second identity. Now, however, the light has come. The dawn of a new day is shining through that morning dew on the grass. The Deep House scene now has some real relevance, both to the old and new school alike.

It has been astoundingly good. Never before have the beats at the Re-bar on a Sunday night, or the Contour during its afterhours, ever sounded so unabashedly, so unashamedly good. With recreational cannabis having become legal, Deep House DJs, the ones I’ve personally spoken with, now feel that their soulful output resonates stronger to an even more receptive audience. Without that paranoia factor of being busted for possession and/or usage, there is an even more renewed focus to simply groove and vibe. By default, the 420 culture and Deep House genre already constitutes a marriage made in heaven. Now, the vibe is government-sanctioned.

As a DJ myself, (Draeko Set) one always adamantly involved in his technique and the theatrical presentation of my sets, I can say (albeit anecdotally) that the mixing style, the chord matching, the beat-matching, all of them, became even sultrier, the phrasing richer in my productions. I not only began really experiencing what I was feeling behind those decks, but I began sensing, without even having to look at them, the vibe of the dancers. There are a few DJs I’ve spoken with, over the past two years, who have mentioned the same feelings.

I am in the process of relocating to California (another state that has just gone legal with recreational 420), I will seek out the Deep House scene there, examining it alongside the Seattle experience.
I suspect the DJs there will tell me the same thing the DJs here have told me. 420 has opened them up. They’re playing better, feeling the crowd more, and laying down some profoundly relevant tracks. It is my goal, once I’ve settled into my new digs, to bring their experience to you. 

Until then, partake, enjoy. And by all means… please inhale.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How to become a Washington Medical Marijuana Patient

Article by Nichole Choice

The Evergreen state of Washington is home to approximately 138,056 medical marijuana patients, according to ProCon.org.  What were the steps these individuals took to obtain patient status, and what are the real benefits to getting authorized?

First, you must be a resident of the state of Washington with valid proof of residence.  You must be age 21 or older, and you must have been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition.  An official list of the current qualifying conditions can be found on the Washington State Department of Health official website.

Next, obtain your medical records describing your condition from your primary care physician.  You will need to bring them to your evaluation with a certified medical marijuana physician.

Now here’s where things get interesting:  upon certification, you have the option to register with the state patient authorization database.  During the summer of 2016, the state of Washington merged the medicinal field with the recreational market.  So, upon authorization, should one choose to register with the state, the patient receives a tax break, and can possess three times the amount non-registered patients are allowed.  Registrants also receive legal insurance for protection against arrest, as well as a recognition identification card.  

In light of the new law, known as the Cannabis Patient Protection Act, the benefits for obtaining MMJ patient status, as well as registering in the database for the state of Washington, are abundant.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Post-Election Legalized States 2016

Article by Nichole Choice

2016 may have been a very difficult year for many, but it has been a very good year for cannabis on the ballots across the United States.  During this historic election year, three more states approved medical marijuana -- Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota -- bringing the sum total of MMJ states to more than half of the terrain:  28 states plus Washington D.C.

With each state governing their own individual MMJ policies, what are some of the legal similarities and differences per state?  The answer is: plenty!  And it’s important to stay current, as initiatives can and are repealed, which is not always a bad thing.  

For example, with demand for medicinal marijuana on the rise, it is encouraging to hear about the state of Montana who voted, after a long fought battle, to repeal their previous MMJ initiative, one that limited physicians to a mere three patients.  Additionally, the Independent Record reports of the Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative of 2016 that it “adds post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of eligible conditions”.

Overall, legal variances from state to state can include the acceptance of patients from out of state, as well as the very allowance of the presence of dispensaries anywhere at all.

Though the state initiatives vary wildly, the main consistency amongst them is the requirement to participate in some form of a registry.


National Conference of State Legislatures provides an excellent state-by-state checklist [as does NORML].   

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

California Legalizes Recreational Cannabis

Article by Nichole Choice

On November 8, 2016, the date of a remarkably historic U.S. election, the People of the State of California voted Yes on Proposition 64 in favor of Marijuana Legalization.  This makes California the final Left Coast state to legalize it!

Previous California law restricted access to the plant to medicinal purposes only, but with the passage of Proposition 64, the law states that recreational cannabis consumption is legal for persons age 21 and over.  This Proposition has no impact upon Federal law.

Prior to the 2016 election, many in the cannabis community were divided on the topic of California Proposition 64, with a surprising number of opponents.  Why would some Californians, particularly those involved in the green industry, oppose this Proposition, and in contrast, what are the presumed benefits for the State of California, as well as, for that matter, the entire Left Coast?


The Downside

The anti-Proposition 64 individuals in the California cannabis community, including those in the medical field, have concern that such a law will create excessive rules and state regulations.  Farmers say they don’t want “the Man” meddling around in their business.  Many feel the system as a medicinal force was working just fine.  Dispensaries worry about loss of business if the liquor store next door, for example, starts selling recreationally.

A huge misconception with regard to the passage of Proposition 64 is that it would mean the cessation of the medicinal route, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  To the contrary, many medicinal dispensaries are remaining just that:  medicinal, with no recreational access.


The Upside

Let’s look on the bright side, since Proposition 64 is in fact a reality as determined by California voters 56.75% to 43.25%.  What might be the benefits the majority of California voters saw prior to casting their vote?  It all seems to come down to the mighty dollar bill.

Many Californians in favor of Proposition 64 frequently liken the Green Rush to the Gold Rush of years 1848 to 1855, believing this rapidly growing industry will create a massive boost to the state’s economy.  Are they right about that?  Well, just ask the state of Colorado...  

According to Entrepreneur Magazine: “More than 18,000 people in Colorado now have full-time jobs because of the legalized marijuana industry, which has generated a $2.39 billion impact on the Rocky Mountain State’s economy.”

It seems Proposition 64 proponents are right, because according to Business Insider, “California's looking at an additional $1.5 billion flooding into the marijuana market.”  Author Ben Gilbert emphasizes the weight of this surplus by pointing out that California is the sixth largest economy on the globe by saying, “only outpaced by the US (as a whole), China, Japan, Germany, and the UK. The Golden State's economic output for 2015 came in at $2.46 trillion.  Let's be clear: We're talking about a single US state economy compared with those of entire countries.”  

So looking at the big picture, what does all of this mean for California’s fellow Left Coast states of Washington, Alaska, and Oregon who have already legalized it?  Importantly, it means a strong alliance, influence, and statement to the rest of the country.  Every state in the U.S. watched closely to see what decision California would make with regard to Proposition 64.  California is perceived as a leader and trendsetter for the rest of the country.  With the entire Left Coast now aligned and legalized, this is sure to set an example for other states, and we’ll likely see a green carpet rolling out as more and more states legalize it.