The Wink In Weed: Why Seattle Hempfest Is Still Worth Supporting

By David Rheins

It’s been five years since Washington opened its legal cannabis marketplace, and today adult consumers in the Evergreen state have an abundance of high-quality, legal weed available in an impressive array of product configurations at affordable prices.

Seattle Hempfest, taking place this week along the gorgeous Puget Sound, is the nation’s oldest and largest “Protestival.”  It began as forum and platform for activists, patients and pot smokers to gather together to fight for their rights to toke in peace.  Back then, firing up a joint in public had real potential consequences — and could land you with a fine or even jail time.

My fellow Hempfest Volunteers in their Green T-Shirts

Hempfest Volunteers

Today, Washingtonians don’t have to go to the park to spark up. Pot smoking is legal, accepted and somewhat normalized in the Pacific Northwest. Leading some to ask what is the relevance of Seattle Hempfest?

While more of a party these days than a protestival, Seattle Hempfest is still a must-attend annual gathering of the cannabis tribes.  Our Green Revolution is a broad tent, with a diverse set of communities.  We are advocates, patients, farmers, business professionals, parents, teachers and caregivers, all united under the belief that Federal Prohibition, and the War on Drugs — and Drugs Users — must end. There is something powerful and undeniable about seeing a hundred thousand pot smokers gather together to celebrate community.

There is still much legal reform that needs to happen before cannabis consumption is fully normalized — and it is encouraging to see the momentum behind the STATES ACT and the Marijuana Justice Act as Congress has finally gotten the word that the American public — on both sides of the aisle — are through with prohibition.  The 2018 Farm Bill, with its Hemp Farming provision, will de-schedule industrial hemp and open the way for explosive growth in hemp-based products, including consumer goods, industrial materials, foods, fuels and medicines.

We are in a fight for the control of our legal cannabis industry.  Big Pharma, Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco, Big Agriculture and Big Government Regulators are all fighting to establish their places in our new mainstream marijuana marketplace. We must continue to stay involved now as the new regulations and standards of our emerging industry are crafted. I see Hempfest as a natural venue for showcasing the best and most innovative hemp products. Cannabis consumer rights need to be protected to ensure that the legal products are safe, tested and of the highest quality. Legal cannabis businesses have an opportunity to build an industry based on the highest standards of production, marketing and operations.  We need to be fair and equitable in our hiring and compensation practices, and we need to direct the windfall of new marijuana tax revenues towards improving the health and welfare of local communities, particularly those hit hard from the War On Drugs.

CurvedPapersHempfest512x440As our alternative culture takes centerstage, it is important that we stand together for our shared values.  We are witnessing and influencing the end of an era. The post-WWII, better living thru petrochemicals, conspicuous consumption society is unsustainable — and is quickly being replaced by a global, plant-based lifestyle, renewable energy zeitgeist.

MJBA is proud to once again participate as a media sponsor and exhibitor of Seattle Hempfest.  We’re thrilled to be sharing a booth with Curved Papers, with whom we’ve been touring the country on a Cannafest Destiny Tour.  We’ll be showing off our NORML 100% Hemp rolling papers, and showcasing our latest poster by Michael Guttsen, and doing social media blasts with MJBA Ambassador At Large Jake Dimmock.  Please join us at Booth #323 across from the Hemposium.

Michael O'Malley, David Hynes Michael O'Malley David Rheins

It has never been more important to stand up and be counted.  Please come out to Myrtle Edwards park this weekend, listen to the speakers, dance to the music and support the many food and merchandise vendors.  Be sure to drop a few bucks in the donation bucket:  Seattle Hempfest is an all-volunteer effort, and it depends on the support of its Vendors, Sponsors and Attendees to survive.

 

 

Marijuana Business Association Is Media Sponsor Of First Oklahoma Hempfest

MJBA Founder David Rheins Is Featured Speaker At Historic Hemp Festival

WASHINGTON: The first Oklahoma Hempfest  is shaping up to be enormous. Promoter Scott McKinley has assembled a world-class lineup of major talent for the FREE event, including DJ Snoopadelic (Snoop Dogg), Kokane, GapX The Band, Twista, Ryan Upchurch “The Redneck” and many more, and has now enlisted the support of the Marijuana Business Association, and its founder David Rheins, the cannabis industry’s unofficial business ambassador.

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MJBA Is A Proud Sponsor of Oklahoma Hempfest Sept 7-9th

MJBA, which publishes the popular MJ News Network — The Voice of Legal Cannabis — whose properties include MJ Headline News on Facebook and Marijuana Channel One on YouTube, will serve as media sponsor for Oklahoma Hempfest bringing to bear the resources of its more than 300,000 subscribers to promote the event.  MJ Headline News and MJ Channel One will field reporting teams on site to provide live coverage and conduct exclusive interviews with event speakers, performers and VIPs.  Rheins, a renowned expert in media, marketing and branding, will address the opportunity that awaits Oklahoma’s nascent legal cannabis community.

“The MJBA has been a staple in our industry. It’s Executive Director David Rheins has traveled to each legal market speaking to each community about the new growth and challenges of our emerging market,” McKinley told MJNN. “From his background as President of the trendsetting Spin Magazine, to his groundbreaking work in the digital media space, David definitely understands the dynamics of a developing market and its growing pains. We are very excited to have the MJBA team on board with Oklahoma Hempfest — bringing this knowledge to Oklahoma is paramount.”

I’m thrilled to be a part of this historic hemp festival,” said David Rheins. “MJBA has long been a supporter of Seattle Hempfest, and it is an honor to open yet another legal cannabis marketplace. Oklahoma has passed medical marijuana, and it looks like the voters will demand adult-use cannabis as well this November. Scott and his team have brilliantly created this free event as a rallying point, and Oklahoma Hempfest will be a ground zero mobilization point for the legalization and cannabis communities just prior to the important elections.”

The Wink In Weed: Back East We Are Winning The War

By David Rheins

I’m back from a week on the East Coast, part of an ongoing CannaFest Destiny Tour of education, professional community and business development that myself and Curved Papers founder Michael O’Malley have been on for the past eighteen months or more.  On this last leg, MJBA and Curved Papers made stops in New York City and Boston, hosting meetups, sitting down with cannabis industry influencers, investors as the legal canna-business shifts into overdrive.

A packed house full of business pioneers filled The Blinc Group for the MJBA  New York February MeetUp

A packed house full of business pioneers filled The Blinc Group for the MJBA New York February MeetUp

With sweeping views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York HQ of The Blinc Group was the site of the February MJBA NY MeetUp, a discussion of “The Business and Science of Vaporization.”  More than 70 industry pioneers – including representatives from CannaGather, HIghNY, Women Grow, NJCS — came out on a beautiful Monday evening to enjoy a presentation from The Blinc Group’s Arnaud Dumas de Rally, who video conference in from Berlin.

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MJBA NY members enjoy rooftop views of the Brooklyn Bridge

I was able to share with the room — packed with a mix of growers, manufacturers, investors and entrepreneurs – the realities of what legalization looks like out West.  I spoke about the amazing diversity of product innovation and retail experience available to legal cannabis consumers, and the challenges of a hyper competitive, over-regulated marketplace.  With New Jersey likely to open its adult-use market as early as this summer, the crowd in New York was electric.  The same excite that we saw in Colorado and Washington in 2012, and in Alaska and Oregon in 2014, was present here in 2018 New York City.  MJBA’s Stu Zakim gave a recap of last month’s successful NJ Cannabis Symposium, and invited MJBA members to enjoy a special discount on tickets on the next NJ Cannabis Symposium event on March 29th, The Finance and Investment Event.

MJBA Members enjoy special discounts at NJCS events

MJBA Members enjoy special discounts at NJCS events

On Wednesday and Thursday, MJBA Communications chief Zakim and I drove up to Boston for the Cannabis Market Strategies New England conference.  An intimate gathering, the event was designed to provide peer-to-peer dispensary and cultivator strategies to help participants master the business challenges of the region’s industry.

Distinguished Speaking Faculty included Michael Dundas, Sira Naturals; Jeffrey Finkle, ARC Angel Fund; Kris Krane, 4Front Ventures; Aimee Burke, Phylos Bioscience; Julia Germaine, Temescal Wellness MA; and Roz McCarthy, Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana.  Both Stu Zakim and I were honored to be featured speakers, representing MJBA. Tim Smale, Remedy ME, served as the master of ceremonies during the two-day conference.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p97Or96tR-s&w=560&h=315]

The folks at the conference are from Maine, and Vermont and Massachusetts.  The industry is still caregiver safe access points and medical marijuana dispensaries.  Cannabis here is a cottage industry, oftentimes described as the “grey market,” and it could be 10 years ago in Washington or Oregon.  The people who make things happen have come out to see what the future portends.  They exchange industry intelligence, swap business cards and sneak outside for a furtive hit with fellow industry colleagues.  “Is this legal here in Massachusetts?” asks one Maine farmer as he takes a toke and passes the dutchie to the left.

“We’re not supposed to be smoking in public,” answers a local.  “But the cops in Boston have better things to do with their time.”

 

 

MJBA Year in Review: 2015

By David Rheins

It is the week between Christmas and New Years, and the end of another whirlwind year for those of us on the front lines of legal cannabis.  Our fledgling industry has grown rapidly over its first two years: hundreds of new companies, thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions in new tax revenues have been created in “the fastest growing industry in America.” 

Team MJBA

Team MJBA

That growth has brought with it new challenges for business pioneers ballsy enough to be part of the first wave.  Financial concerns weigh heaviest, as lack of access to commercial capital is literally starving our industry and its players.  You can see it everywhere – retailers unable to stock sufficient inventory, producer/processors who can’t invest in the proper organization, branding or marketing.  Almost everyone in the industry wears too hats and juggles too many balls, all the result of lack of resources.

For too many canna-businesses, there is more opportunity than bandwidth; more projects than people. More regulations and machinations than most managers can keep up with, and so the result here in Washington State most of the businesses we touch are ending this year feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Profit remains elusive, and when it is generated, federal tax law makes it hard to keep. The so-called Green Rush is not yet minting many Pot Barons.

IFP presents at MJBA Denver

IFP presents at MJBA Denver

Banking. Taxation. Pesticides. Testing. Technology. Compliance. As the industry moves from start up to ramp up mode, the needs of MJBA members are evolving. To better serve those needs, MJBA is expanding and refining our member benefits for 2016.  Here is a bit of what we’ve got planned for the new year:

Information. Community. Opportunity.  The Marijuana Business Association will continue to deliver on our mission: to serve as the leading provider of reliable business intelligence, professional community, and credible opportunity for participants in legal cannabis.  Nominated again for the second year in a row as Dope Magazine’s Cannabis Association of the Year, we have enhanced the value of MJBA membership, while keeping our fees reasonable and our programs accessible. Business membership starts at just $250.

MJBA Women's Alliance Recruitment Poster by Michael Guttsen

MJBA Women’s Alliance Recruitment Poster by Michael Guttsen

MJBA Meetups: We will continue to host regular community-building MJBA Meetups in 2016 across Washington (Bellingham, Seattle, South Sound, Spokane) Oregon, Colorado and New York (we hosted more than 60 Meetups in 2015).  We are tweaking the format for MJBA Meetups in 2016 to provide more in-depth and specialized presentations, seminars and community networking.  MJBA Meetups in 2016 will be members-only events (members have guest privileges), with a small Meetup Fee: $10.  Limited Sponsorship and Vending opportunities are available, and essential for sustaining our grassroots networking efforts. Contact MJBA President Morgan for sponsorship opportunities: morgan@mjba.net.

TwiceBakedinWA speaks to an audience of cannabis entrepreneurs at Portland MJBA Meetup.

TwiceBakedinWA speaks to an audience of cannabis entrepreneurs at Portland MJBA Meetup.

MJBA/Front Runner Seminars:  The best in marketplace data and business intelligence, MJBA Professional Seminars begin with a deep dive into the numbers, courtesy our MJ Research partner Front Runner, powered by TetraTrak.  MJBA and Front Runner enhance the official marketplace data with business intelligence and original insights from industry leaders.  These insights are then disseminated via our MJBA Producer, Processor, Retailer and VIP Panels, featured presentations, and white papers.

Industry Thought Leaders Speak at MJBA/Front Runner Seminars

Industry Thought Leaders Speak at MJBA/Front Runner Seminars

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. Our first MJBA Professional Seminar of 2016, “Striking Oil: Concentrates, Edibles and Topicals,” will take place on January 21st, 1-6PM, at the Red Lion in Tacoma, WA, and focus on the non-flower cannabis segment.  Reserve your spot today: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/striking-oil-the-business-of-edibles-topicals-and-concentrates-tickets-20114229201?

Edibles, Topicals and Concentrates are fastest growing segments in WA

Edibles, Topicals and Concentrates are fastest growing segments in WA

MJBA/Canna-Ventures Marketing Course:  Brand building and marketing will be key for those companies looking to create differentiation in an increasingly commoditized marketplace.  MJBA has teamed up with CannaVentures to present a series of interactive branding workshops. The first one will take place on February 11th, 2016.  A limited number of canna-marketers will first complete an interactive tool, results from which will be used to create tailored materials for the brand workshop.

Marijuana Channel One: Our MJChannel One in YouTube s home to our original video content. Wink in Weed, TwicebakedinWA, HigherGroundTV, live MJ Events, canna-business interviews and more.  Subscribe FREE:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDF8neLZdOw&w=560&h=315]

In the coming days, we’ll be announcing some big news, so please stay tuned.  Here are some hints at what’s coming down the pike:

MJBA Women’s Alliance:  Featured in major press outlets like Newsweek, National Geographic, and Marijuana Ventures, The MJBA Women’s Alliance is spinning out as its own organization, with separate membership program and its own proprietary APP.  Stay tuned for details.

MJBA Women's Alliance  featured in Nat Geo

MJBA Women’s Alliance featured in Nat Geo

MJBA.net: We’re busy working on our new Member and Network portal, which will put key industry information, resources and contacts at your fingertip. Watch for our re-launch in Q1.

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.

Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) Founder to Provide Valuable Guidance for WeedHire & Cannabis Industry

NEW JERSEY:  WeedHire today announced that it has selected David Rheins as a member of its Cannabis Industry Advisory Board.

David Rheins is founder of the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA). The MJBA a.k.a. “Chamber of Commerce of Cannabis”­ provides intelligence, ethical business practices and networking for participants in the legal marijuana, mmj and hemp industries.

A proven business leader with 25+ years’ experience building and operating best-of-breed media and marketing organizations, Mr. Rheins has an impressive track record in growing new business and revenues for Internet, media, and advertising sales organizations including Rolling Stone, SPIN, iVillage, Corbis, Time Warner and America Online.

“We are privileged to bring Mr. Rheins on board to assist us in navigating the direction of both WeedHire as well as employment within the legal marijuana industry.” Stated David Bernstein CEO of WeedHire. “This partnership makes sense as we share the same ideals as the MJBA which is to establish integrity and legitimacy, create common market standards, provide market intelligence, and develop best ethical business practices for participants in the emerging legal marijuana industry – including commercial hemp, medical marijuana and recreational marijuana for adults. David’s commitment to the betterment of the industry is un-parallel in his work within the MJBA.” Bernstein added.

“The legal cannabis industry is acting as a giant economic engine that will provide thousands of high-paying new jobs for a diverse workforce. It is my honor to join with Weedhire.com to help create the innovative technology and business programs needed to support this emerging marketplace.” Stated David Rheins, Founder & CEO of the MJBA.

WeedHire.com was launched in May 2014 as the premier marijuana jobs site for the legal cannabis industry

Marijuana Lovers Toke Up In Celebration Of Legal Pot Anniversary

WASHINGTON: Crowds of people bundled in winter coats celebrated the anniversary of marijuana legalization in Washington state Friday by sparking up at a city-sanctioned party under Seattle’s Space Needle.

While marijuana proponents were busy celebrating legal pot, U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan raised concerns about the city apparently sanctioning the pot-smoking event. [Read more…]

Marijuana Lovers Toke Up In Celebration Of Legal Pot Anniversary

WASHINGTON: Crowds of people bundled in winter coats celebrated the anniversary of marijuana legalization in Washington state Friday by sparking up at a city-sanctioned party under Seattle’s Space Needle.

While marijuana proponents were busy celebrating legal pot, U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan raised concerns about the city apparently sanctioning the pot-smoking event. [Read more…]