Ah Warner: 25 Years On The Forefront Of Hemp & Cannabis Culture And Commerce

By David Rheins

WASHINGTON:  “It’s been a crazy twenty-five years,” Cannabis Basics founder Ah Warner tells me via Zoom this Sunday afternoon.  “The word that I really relate to in this journey is tenacity. I am tenacious, and without that I would not be around.”

Tenacious is an understatement.  Since 1994, Ah has been a true pioneer on the forefront of hemp and cannabis culture and commerce.  Her Cannabis Creations, established in 1994, predates the legendary Dr. Bronner by 5 years, selling hemp products “back when people still thought hemp was marijuana – I guess some people still do,” she told me.

Inspired by Jack Herer’s seminal book “The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy”, which she calls the Bible of Hemp, Ah’s journey began with a love of all things hemp, migrated to a passion for medical marijuana, and then in 2012 when Washington State legalized adult-use, Ah felt the recreational market left inadequate place for her hemp-centric and low THC body products, so she went mainstream.  She now vends her Hemp Basics line all over the country; while her Cannabis Basics products, which contain small amounts of THC, are sold in grocery stores and specialty retail only in Washington State.

Cannabis Basics is allowed by law to sell on mainstream retail shelves due to the landmark CHABA (Cannabis Health and Beauty Aids) law that Ah Warner along with activist Keri Boiter and then State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles passed in Washington in 2015. When I asked her what had changed in the five years since that CHABA legislation was passed, Ah explained “The law that is five years old now still only exists here in Washington State. No other state has replicated this.  No other state has said ‘if you have a little bit of marijuana in your product, and it is non-intoxicating and a topical it can be sold in grocery stores.’   What that means for me is that I have two lines – one is hemp seed oil and CBD, called Hemp Basics that is sold all over the country. And then my CHABA line, Cannabis Basics, which has the marijuana in it, sold here in Washington State in grocery stores. Now people don’t have to go to pot shops to get full-spectrum topicals. And that has changed a lot for people, especially the older generation who don’t want to go into a pot shop for a topical.”

 

By taking her hemp and cannabis brands mainstream, Ah has unlocked a whole new marketplace.  It has been necessary to “pivot, pivot, pivot” Ah notes, as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the shutdown of her core buyers — massage therapists, and boutique retailers, resulting in a 50% loss of business.

But, always the innovator, Ah discovered a need in the marketplace, and has created a new product line to address it.  She believing that in the age of COVID-19 everyone that wears a mask is a hero, but notes that wearing a mask poses it’s own challenges.  “Unfortunately, masks are uncomfortable and may cause irritation, redness, and inflammation around the nose and mouth,” she noted. “Many masks are made from synthetic materials and dyes, and when combined with sweat and hot breath, can clog pores and create havoc on our sensitive facial skin. This new phenomenon is called maskne.”

“I really wanted to create something that would be helpful and comforting to our frontline workers and dedicated mask wearers in these challenging and stressful times so I formulated the Masked Hero Face Rescue System, harnessing the best that cannabis has to offer. The product blends organic hempseed oil, hemp hydrosols and cannabis extractions and infusions, with many other powerful botanicals, like tea tree, neroli and witch hazel. This skin care system is a three-step process: a cleanser to bathe and detoxify, a toner to balance and tighten and lastly, a moisturizer to nourish, hydrate and protect your face.”

What’s next for the energetic entrepreneur?  Ah will be introducing a new online retail store (Ah’s Cannabis Couch) and a new YouTube channel.  To learn more, watch the entire video interview, presented exclusively on Marijuana Channel One, part of the MJNews Network.

Striking Oil: The Business of Edibles, Topicals and Concentrates Is Jan 21st In Tacoma, WA

The Marijuana Business Association and Front Runnerpowered by TetraTrak, have announced their first Professional Seminar of 2016: “Striking Oil: The Business of Concentrates, Edibles, and Topicals.”

The half-day MJBA Professional Seminar takes place on Thursday, January 21st, 2016,1PM-6PM, at the Red Lion Hotel in Tacoma, WA. Hosted by The Marijuana Business Association and business intelligence firm Front Runner, “Striking Oil” will provide I-502 Producers, Processors, Retailers, and industry professionals with an in-depth look at Washington’s emerging marketplace for cannabis concentrates, oils, edibles and topicals.

The legal cannabis marketplace has evolved well beyond the bud, and today Edibles, Topicals, Concentrates and Oils represent the fastest-growing segments for Washington’s legal cannabis industry.  MJBA and Front Runner will kick off the afternoon with a detailed parsing of the LCB sales numbers to date, with forward-looking analysis from Front Runner CEO Brian Yauger.

CannaSol Farms founder Jeremy Moberg will deliver the keynote address, providing his prospective as one of the state’s leading Producer/Processors, and an outspoken advocate for naturally-grown cannabis. He will focus his remarks on the needs for Washington producer/processors to self-regulate.

Exciting new cannabis-infused products and concentrates bring with them a host of new business challenges for our emerging industry, including how to create best practices and common standards for Contaminants/PesticidesDosing and Packaging, and Lab Testing/Quality Assurance.  To provide their insights into these pressing issues and others, MJBA has assembled subject matter experts from Washington’s top cannabis companies to serve as our VIP Panelists.

Leading subject matter experts from Db3 (Zoots) , Mirth Provisions (Legal) , Eden Labs, Cannabis Basics, Avitas, Kush Creams, Mary’s Medicinals, The Goodship, Ethos Extracts, Robotanical, Spot, Integrity Labs, Landrace Labs, Dama, Amoebic Extracts, (and many others) will lead discussions on Edibles; Topicals, Concentrates and Lab Standards.

Industry Thought Leaders Speak at MJBA/Front Runner Seminars

Industry Thought Leaders Speak at MJBA/Front Runner Seminars

Tickets are $99 in advance/$125 Day of Show. MJBA Members and Front Runner Subscribers receive special discount!

Reserve your tickets here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/striking-oil-the-business-of-edibles-topicals-and-concentrates-tickets-20114229201?

“Striking Oil” VIP Sponsors include Robotanical, Eden Labs, Cannabis Basics, PayQwick, Avitas and Great Pacific Packaging. .

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Everyone uses cash because banks, which are federally regulated, aren't keen on the idea of getting into business in an industry that is still federally illegal.

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Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles Leaving State House Aims For King County Council

WASHINGTON: Washington State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, a long-time backer of marijuana legal reform, will not seek re-election as a democratic State Senator in the next election, choosing instead to set her sites on a District 4 Seat on the King County Council.

Cannabis Basics' CEO Ah Warner hosted a fundraiser for Democratic Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, a long-time marijuana reform advocate

Cannabis Basics’ CEO Ah Warner hosted a fundraiser for Democratic Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, a long-time marijuana reform advocate

The veteran politician, named “Advocate of the Year” at this year’s Hempfest, is busy raising money for her campaign, appearing at fundraisers this month hosted by prominent cannabis industry leaders, including travel journalist and national NORML Board member Rick Steves and Ah Warner, CEO of Cannabis Basics.

Thurs. Sept 24 6-9PM, Sorrento Hotel

Thurs. Sept 24 6-9PM, Sorrento Hotel

She will also be appearing with 4 other prominent Washington women politicians — Kent City’s Gwen Allen-Carston; Spokane’s Karen Stratton; Cat Jeter Pierce County;and Heather Holderich, Firecrest City — at the “Power to Influence,” a women-only cannabis industry event presented by the Marijuana Business Association’s Women’s Alliance, and sponsored by a power trio of leading women-run cannabis brands: Washington Bud Company, Eden Labs, and NWMJLaw.

Jeanne Kohl-Welles is running for King County Council

Jeanne Kohl-Welles is running for King County Council

MJNewsNetwork’s TwiceBakedinWA attended Ah Warner’s industry reception on Tuesday, September 22nd, and had a chance to ask Ms. Kohl-Welles about the future of legal cannabis legislation, how Washington’s new marijuana laws turn underage pot smokers into felons, and why the Democrat was running for King County Council.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb7HiM8-SUw&w=560&h=315]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c31sz3vIA8A&w=560&h=315]

 

Seattle’s Cannabis Basics Issued Historic Cannabis Trademark

WASHINGTON: Seattle-based activist and entrepreneur Ah Warner informs MJNewsNetwork.com that she has just received historic news from the United States Patent and Trademark Office granting trademark protection for her Cannabis Basics company logo—prominently featuring a cannabis leaf watermark with four hands inside.

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“By working closely with the USPTO Examiners, we were able to demonstrate how my client’s line of health and beauty goods differs from substances deemed illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act,” said Attorney Andrew Olmsted of The Olmsted Law Group, PLLC, “After many discussions and briefs to the Examiners, we were able to persuade them how the majority of Cannabis Basics’ unique products are not prohibited by the CSA and how trademark protection was warranted.”

Cannabis Basics’ trademark protection suggests a future where cannabis companies with legal products will be able to protect their intellectual property like other businesses. This protection is an indication of a positive change in popular opinion of Cannabis, and a step towards a public better educated on the non-recreational benefits of Cannabis and its byproducts.

Ms. Warner started her hemp company in 1995.  “With in introduction of Medical Marijuana I discovered new science on human’s cannabinoid receptor system which lead to adding THC and other cannabinoids to produce a far superior product, ” said Warner. “Even my 85-year-old dad uses it for his inflammation, pain and skin issues.”

This latest success comes on the heels of another very big victory for Ms. Warner, who co-authored Washington State’s Cannabis Health and Beauty Aids (“CHABA”) legislation. CHABA defines products, oftentimes topically applied, with less than .3% THC, non-intoxicating and not meant for human or animal consumption, and is the first such legislation in the United States defining these niche cannabis products

The CHABA legislation defines products like Cannabis Basics’ line as not marijuana, even though the products have therapeutic amounts of THC. This action effectively removes CHABAs from the Washington Controlled Substances Act, allowing Cannabis Basics to sell its products in mainstream stores within Washington State, virtually anywhere health conscious consumers shop.

“This bill is about promoting small businesses and allowing entrepreneurs to find new ways to drive our economy, without legal recourse, as we [in Washington State] continue to be pioneers in the marijuana legalization process,” said the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 5493, Washington Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles.

What started out as stand-alone companion bills SB5493 and HB173 with bipartisan support, passed as an amendment of a much bigger adult marijuana use tax bill, HB2136 this was signed into law on June 30th by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and went into effect July 1st.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUjkne2AP94&w=560&h=315]

Cannabis Freedom March In Seattle Is Saturday May 9th

WASHINGTON: Medical marijuana is undergoing a sea change in Washington State after Governor Inslee signed SB 5052 into law, officially putting the state’s unregulated mmj dispensary system under the oversight of the LCB (Liquor and Cannabis Board) and integrating it into the I-502 recreational marijuana regulatory scheme.

Hundreds of cannabis activists and community supporters are expected to gather in Seattle this Saturday for the Cannabis Freedom March to raise awareness for Patient Rights and to demand Global Legalization of Cannabis. The March will begin on Saturday, May 9th at 11 AM at Volunteer Park and wind up at Westlake at 7PM.  A bevy of local activists and cannabis industry leaders are scheduled to speak including Solstice’s Alex Cooley, Washington Bud Company’s Shawn DeNae, MJBA Women’s Alliance’s Morgan, CCSE’s John Davis, Hempfest’s Vivian McPeak, Tim Pate, Delta 9’s Stephanie Heart, and HIA’s Joy Beckerman.

 

The Social And Political Responsibility Of The Legal Cannabis Industry

By David Rheins

This week nearly 100 women gathered at a restaurant in downtown Seattle to listen to local politicians and activists discuss their role in shaping Washington’s emerging legal marijuana industry.  The “Power of Politics” was organized by the Marijuana Business Association’s Women’s Alliance for its many women-run cannabis businesses, including sponsors Eden Labs, Washington Bud Company and Cannabis Basics.

Laughter, tears, passion, and personal herstories – there is something undeniably powerful about a gathering of women who turn out to talk about politics. The energy and determined strength that emerges when the community focuses on an issue of concern is palpable, and when those 100 women represent nearly as many legal cannabis businesses – the energy they create can transform the political and cultural landscape.

For while ostensibly the vote and the voice of every woman – and every man – are equal in importance to our representatives in government, those in the know will attest that the opinions of business owners speak loudest of all to politicians. For small and entrepreneurial businesses represent jobs, and jobs represent votes and tax revenues, and those are the things that elect and re-elect politicians.

The Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) believes that as the first generation of cannabis business owners and operators we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to positively shape the emerging marketplace and our local communities.  The new industry that we are building already represents millions of dollars of tax revenues and thousands of jobs and will only get bigger. As the first crop of business operators in the country’s fastest growing industry, we speak with loud voices.

After 75 years of prohibition and propaganda have demonized cannabis and its consumers, industry participants must be involved in the political process – as individuals through our political donations, votes and vocalizations, and as business leaders in the manner in which we conduct our trade.

The MJBA does not endorse any individual political party or politician, we see it our role to host the forums for cannabis businesses to gather, parse, discuss, distill and build consensus around relevant policy issues.  We facilitate discussion and of dissemination of relevant business intelligence and market data through our media properties like MJNewsNetwork and Marijuana Channel One, and professional education events like the MJBA Women’s Alliance “Power of Politics.”

The first legal cannabis businesses and the people who operate them are inherently political.  Each day we open our doors for business – planting, processing and selling the plant, or otherwise supporting the cannabis economy – we effect social change.  Every participant in the new legal cannabis economy is a revolutionary, changing public perceptions at every consumer touchpoint.  Each new brand identity that we create makes a political and cultural statement.

Post-prohibition culture is beginning to emerge one legal state at a time. The tone and ethos of that culture is being set by the first crop of legal cannabis brands. It is being shaped by the company cultures that we create, and in how we compensate and treat our employees. We are establishing our social values in the quality and purity of the products that we build and market, and in the manner in which we treat our customers.  Our success and sustainability as an industry will be dependent upon how we conduct ourselves as ethical businesses respectfully serving the needs of our local communities.

WA Senator Kohl-Welles Aims To Ease Regulation On Cannabis Health And Beauty Aid Products

WASHINGTON:  Cannabis health and beauty aid products would not be subject to the same regulations as marijuana concentrate or marijuana infused products, under Senate Bill 5493,introduced today by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle.

“This bill is about promoting small businesses and allowing entrepreneurs to find new ways to drive our economy, without legal recourse, as we continue to be pioneers in the marijuana legalization process,” said Kohl-Welles. “And topicals can be very soothing on sore muscles.”

Cannabis health and beauty products are not intended to be mood-altering and have no psycho-active effects. Examples of these products, according to Kohl-Welles, are body lotion, soaps, and salves—none of which is ingested. Under Kohl-Welles’ proposal, cannabis health and beauty products would not be able to contain a THC level higher than 0.3 percent, they would not be allowed for human consumption and they would not be able to cross the blood-brain barrier which leads to intoxication.

“This is 20 years in the making,” said Ah Warner, owner and operator of Cannabis Basics, a small business in Magnolia dedicated to creating cannabis health and beauty products since 1995. “My products enhance personal health and wellness by providing the highest quality hemp and cannabis flower topical therapy products. These products are regenerative and can help repair skin, heal wounds and reduce scar tissue.”

Medical Cannabis Lobby Day In Olympia Brings Out Local Business Owners

By TwiceBakedinWA

WASHINGTON: While attending the 2015 Medical Cannabis Lobby Day in Olympia, Washington, I had the chance to talk with Ah Warner CEO of Cannabis Basics, a  Seattle-based company that makes cannabis topicals.

Ah was in the State Capital representing Americans for Safe Access and lobbying for the big medical marijuana bills that will potentially pass this legislative session. She was also there drumming up support for SB5493, a new topical bill that would allow for the sale of cannabis health and beauty aids in any store in the state without need for a special license.

SB5493 distinguishes cannabis health and beauty products from marijuana which means that products that are made with less than .3% THC will be able to be made and sold everywhere.

The passage of this bill would vastly affect her cannabis topical business who is currently only available to distribute to medical marijuana shops.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDWBYFFgDy4&w=560&h=315]

 

 

Washington Celebrates Hot Pot Products For The High Holidays

WASHINGTON: Live from the GreenPole, Higher Ground hit the Hot Pot Product Bazaar for the High Holidays! Check out the greatest gifts on Earth for cannabis connoisseurs!

And if you’re lucky, Sativa Santa will pay you a visit this year! (Make sure to leave him milk and cookies…) Thanks to the wonderful sponsors and MJBA (Marijuana Business Association)!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pHecNBpk0M&w=560&h=315]

The Home Of Fertile Hempseed Oil And Premium Cannabis Flower Topical Therapy

WASHINGTON: Aimee Warner: Cannabis Basics

She is a woman on a mission and we are not saying this as a light play on words. If there is anywhere you wouldn’t find her, it would sitting contently on the sidelines. Instead, she is in the Senator’s office, nose-deep in industry research, and years ahead of the competition in terms of experience. This ravenously passionate soul would belong to none other than Ah (Aimee) Warner, founder and CEO of Cannabis Basics. If you think we’ve spoiled the story and given you all the details of our interview with her, you will be sorely disappointed. We dare you to not read on- the only one who will be at a loss is you. The green rush is a movement and Ah is the one tinkering with the gears of the engine.

What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?

Well, it all started 20 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child, Darienne Zoa, and I walked into the Fremont Hemp Company and like I like to say ‘My world has never been the same.’ I saw the possibilities, the multiple possibilities that were there and I began building my own company. When I started out, my company had several different lines, but the line that beat the competition was my body care line, which became the foundation of Cannabis Basics.

About 3 years ago, some friends of mine asked me to help them open a medical dispensary here in Washington and I found myself once again immersed into, not only the culture, but the science of cannabis and realized that there was every reason to add cannabinoids to my already award winning hemp products and here we are now!

What skills from your previous experiences helped you in what you are doing now?

The science of what I do is something that I have really learned along the way; it wasn’t a skill set that I had, it was from the research that I’ve done and from trial and error. 20 years of trial and error working with the cannabis plant. In terms of previous experience, I’m actually a certified draftsman and project manager, so I think both of those skills, mainly the project managing, helps me to stay on task and keep things moving forward in a pretty organized fashion. Also, being a former military personnel in the U.S. Air Force, in the supply unit, then implementing the skills I acquired really works to keep my business going in an efficient and organized manner.

Right now, where are you guiding your passion and energy towards?

Well, there are a couple of things going on right now. I reopened my hemp line, my hemp-only line because the line of products that have cannabinoids can’t leave the state of Washington because of its THC content. The ironic thing about cannabis being legalized is that it really has brought life back into my hemp company, which is great! Currently, we have 6 hemp-only products that we are selling across the country unrestricted because they don’t have the cannabinoids in them.

Aside from that, all my remaining time and effort is going towards working with legislators and decision makers here in the state of Washington that are going to help me to define cannabis topical so that it can be regulated separately from other cannabis products that have intoxicating effects, which mine do not. That means working with Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who has been there for medical marijuana and hemp from the very beginning, and doing a fundraiser for her! She was the first supporter, so I am really proud to be working with her.