The Wink In Weed: Lessons Learned At Seattle Hempfest

By David Rheins

I’m just back from another epic Seattle Hempfest.  The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful regions on the planet, and its volcanic mountains, vibrant cities and evergreen forests never cease to inspire wonder.  I cherish my PNW canna-family, and am humbled at how rich and meaningful have been our shared experiences, as we workers in weed have toiled to reform marijuana law, and establish a legal cannabis industry.

Jake The Professor and Don Skakie talk Washington Homegrow

Jake The Professor and Don Skakie talk Washington Homegrow

It is a treat to spend time with legends: Farmer Tom Lauerman, Jake The Professor, Grandma Cat Jeter, Kevin and Crystal Oliver, AC Braddock and Fritz Chess, David Tran, Vivian McPeak, Joy Beckerman, Nurse Heather Manus, Ah Warner and so many others.  This year we were honored to have USVI Senator Positive Nelson, who was traveling with a video crew from 420MEDIA,  visit with us.  I first met Terence, who is universally known as ‘Positive’, at a High Tea at Seattle’s Green Labs Farms a few years back, when as moderator I had the privilege of introducing the pro-pot and “positive living” politician to the cannabis community.  Look for great things from the Senator and USVI (pot tourism anyone?) soon.

The canna family gathers every year at Hempfest

The canna family gathers every year at Hempfest

Seattle Hempfest for me has always seemed like the ‘State Fair of Weed.’  Tens of thousands of people — of every age, shape and size — streaming through a labyrinth of vendor booths, food trucks and tents, smoking weed, hanging out and listening to advocates preach to the choir, and bands sing about “Mary Jane.”  This year was no different, a little smaller — a couple fewer stages due to lack of sponsorship support — and smokier, as a result of raging fires in Canada and Eastern Washington.

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Eden Labs’ Fritz Chess, Flower Girls Queen MJ, and MJBA Ambassador At Large Jake The Professor

At the Curved Papers/MJBA booth, and at a series of industry parties, I had the opportunity to reconnect to my industry friends and colleagues. What I heard was a consistent narrative: these are make or break times for Washington licensees.  Competition is fierce and getting fiercer.  Wholesale prices are brutally low for producers, and while sales remain strong at retail and gross revenues are high, profits are elusive and unfair taxes still eat up most of the profits.  For licensees the choice is straightforward: differentiate or die.

Much of our conversation revolved around the mainstreaming of cannabis — and the impact that the $4B USD investment that Constellation Brands just made with Canopy Growth would have on the mom & pops. The game has gone from grassroots to international overnight, and for the smaller players there is tremendous pressure to scale.  Undercapitalized businesses are putting their licenses up for sale, or looking for partnerships and mergers.

 

DOPE celebrated its 7th Anniversary with a “Golden Ticket” Party

Cannafest Destiny.  The West Coast is the fertile birthplace of the legal cannabis industry.  While NORML, established in 1970, can rightfully claim authorship of the political legalization and reform movement, the business — and more importantly the community — started in California, Oregon, Washington (and British Columbia).   The legitimate markets that we have created out West have blazed bright, sparks have now inspired entrepreneurs, activists, investors and politicians across the country — from Maine to Maryland, Michigan to Oklahoma. Our duty and opportunity is now to export the incredible experience and knowledge to these new emerging markets.

In a weird wrinkle of federal prohibition, Legal Cannabis has become international, before it has become a national industry!  Our neighbors to the north are rapidly ramping up their legal cannabis industry, and positioning themselves globally with distribution deals in emerging European, Caribbean and South American markets. Public Canadian companies are gobbling up American brands, and deals are now measured in the billions.

Jeremy MIller is organizing Viva Las Hempfest!

Jeremy Miller is organizing Viva Las Hempfest!

No where can we witness the mainstreaming of marijuana better than Las Vegas.  Neon billboards on strip.  24/7 retailers with drive thru.  Las Vegas, once upon a time among the harshest places in America to be caught with a seed or a stem (an infraction that could land you 20 years in the hoosegow) now actively planning the opening of consumption lounges and canna-friendly hotels.  No peace, love and tie dye hippie culture here.  Just the business of entertainment.  It is fitting then that the next stop for the Cannafest Destiny tour will be Las Vegas Hempfest on November 3&4th — Viva Las Hempfest! Hope to see you there!

Denver’s Sixth Annual Mother’s High Tea – Tea Along the Silk Road Is May 11th

COLORADO:  The Sixth Annual Mother’s High Tea – Tea Along the Silk Road, featuring an inspiring speaker program, activities, nonprofit education and tea menu, takes place at Denver’s McNichols Building on Friday May 11, 2018.

Organized by “Cannabis Maven” Susan Squibb, the public, non-consumption event celebrates mothers, business women and advocates in the cannabis community.

Speakers: This year’s keynote speaker is Representative Leslie Herod of House District 8 in Northeast Denver, along with Judge Shelli Williams Hayes, a retired Judge of Cook County, Illinois for 18 years, and current Chief Compliance Officer for American Standard Hemp Company, in Grand Junction, Colorado; Cindy Sovine, political consultant and CEO of Utopia All Natural Wellness Spa & Lounge in Denver, and Samantha Walsh, hemp policy expert and CEO of Tetra Public Affairs, based in Denver.

Sixth Annual Mother's High Tea- Tea Along the Silk Road is a fundraiser for Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition

Sixth Annual Mother’s High Tea- Tea Along the Silk Road is a fundraiser for Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition

Tea Along the Silk Road comes to life with tea buffets and catering inspired by the legendary teas and culinary regions along the Chinese Silk Road. A Chinese cultural partnership with international non profit, Confucius Institute, will feature authentic party décor, a gongfu tea demonstration, calligraphy activities, and paper crafts for guests of all ages.

Non- profits: A portion of ticket sales go toward featured nonprofit organization, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. CCJRC is a network of organizations, faith communities, and individuals working to eliminate the overuse of the criminal justice system in Colorado.

Educational tables: Certifiably Green Denver offers free sustainability advising services to Denver’s business community and Center for Health, Work & Environment at Colorado School of Public Health leads safety training classes.

Tickets: Reserved seats, VIP tables, and general admission tickets available through AXS website. Lovely gift bags from event sponsors for all guests.

Presenting Sponsor: Eden Labs, a global company, based in Seattle, WA, engineers and manufactures commercial extraction equipment for botanical industries since 1994.

Five Major Types of Extraction 2.0 Clarified

By Fritz Chess, Founder/Chief Scientist, Eden Labs

WASHINGTON: I have been asked to respond to a recent article by Dr. Rien Havens in regards to the safety and efficiency of various Cannabis extraction methods. As the founder of Eden Labs, I have worked with all the methods in the article and our company builds extractors for all these solvents and more, for multiple botanicals. In responding, I hope to close a few loops (pun intended) in the issues raised.

For 20 years our goal has been to promote healthy extractions across every industry. Therefore we applaud Dr. Havens for offering some insight into the world of extraction as we can use all of the help we can get in helping the public, as well as governmental and legislative bodies understand the Pro’s and Con’s of differing methodologies for producing and processing any plant, not just Cannabis sativa L. in either of its cultivar’s.

The most controversial part of the article was the section dealing with the alleged toxicity of co2 extracts so I will address that first along with toxicity issues regarding the other methods mentioned.

The most controversial part of the article was the section dealing with the alleged toxicity of co2 extracts so I will address that first along with toxicity issues regarding the other methods mentioned.  It is absolutely true that water combines with co2 to form carbonic acid which can cause oils to turn rancid. This problem occurs frequently in co2 extractions done at very high pressures (over 5000 psi). However, Cannabis is usually extracted between 800-2,000 psi and at these lower pressures, the concern is that moisture will cause low oil yields and pull chlorophyll. Therefore Eden Labs suggests co2 operators reduce the moisture content of their herb below 10%.

As long as this important step is followed, no moisture issues will occur unless the co2 is “wet” when purchased. Most rancid oils have more to do with improper storage. I have been in many botanical extraction facilities (Kava Kava, Sandalwood, Echinacea, Cannabis etc.) and seen containers of extracted oils in open containers sitting on shelves at room temperature. Not good. Note: you’ll notice that Hemp seed oil is always in the refrigerated section of a store. Cannabis oil should be kept refrigerated.

The other toxicity issue was the ability of co2 to pull pesticides and other chemicals out of plant material. This is true as well. It is also true that all the solvents listed as better alternatives would also pull these chemicals. Co2, ethanol, butane, propane and ether are all non-polar solvents. Although they are all at different points on the polarity scale, they all are in the range where oil is soluble in them which means that most, if not all, of these other agricultural chemicals are also soluble in all of the listed solvents. Which brings up a point that should never go unsaid when this issue is raised…all consumable botanical products should be grown organically. That’s the bottom line.

The same pesticides that are in Cannabis products are ubiquitous throughout our food supply. It is hoped by many in the Cannabis industry that we will help lead the way towards a healthier future through better production methods. Any of the protocols listed in Dr. Havens article would be superior to the conventional hexane extraction that is common in the food industry.

Having said that, here are all the contamination issues with the solvents in the article: co2, as mentioned, can have water. Ethanol can have acetone and methanol that form during the fermentation process. Propane and butane can be contaminated with a host of impurities including, but not limited to, pentane, heptane, heavy metals, and what people call “mystery oil” which is pipeline lubricant. Steep Hill Labs has documented this. With proper research, all of these solvents can be procured in a pure form so contamination is avoided.

The final issue was the source of co2 and the other solvents. Unfortunately, every solvent in the article is mostly made from petrochemicals. Even ethanol is often synthesized from chemicals derived from crude oil. It is possible to source ethanol and co2 that is produced naturally by fermenting plant sugars. A wonderful addition to our industry would be a cellulosic ethanol plant that takes waste plant fiber from hemp and cannabis production and converts it to ethanol and co2 to be used for extraction.

It should also be noted that co2 and ethanol have the added benefit of being disinfectants. Bacteria, viruses and molds will be killed by these solvents although molds will not necessarily be rendered harmless. Propane and butane  extracts, on the other hand, will actually attract certain types of bacteria that feed on hydrocarbons. For this reason, it is always advisable to double wash these extracts with ethanol to sterilize and to purge the trace amounts of hydrocarbon that become trapped in the thick oil.

As to the notion that co2 is too costly and inefficient, my first thought was that it sounds like he is describing our competitors! Eden Labs has the fastest and most efficient co2 extractors on the market. While it is true that a first stage hydrocarbon extraction is far faster and cheaper than other methods, by the time you figure in the time of the residual solvent purge and the cost of meeting the safety requirements, all the perceived advantages disappear. In addition, it is clearly evident and more cost effective to build out a production facility with the gratitude of local governmental bodies and the medical sector. This is a nascent industry, it has challenges and we feel our responsibility is to offer a path of least resistance and efficacy for our clients.

In conclusion, we have found that on a cost/benefit comparison, ethanol is most efficient at small scale production. On larger scale commercial/industrial production co2 wins, which has been proven by the hops industry.

 

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.

Avitas_Logo (1)

Great Pacific Packaging Vector Logo Horizontal-01

 

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]

 

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.

Washington’s Top Pot Companies Recruit At Seattle Job Fair

WASHINGTON: Washington’s legal marijuana market is heating up. In the first two months of operation, the Evergreen State has generated more than 14 million in recreational marijuana sales, which resulted in more than $3 million in new tax revenues — all that with only a handful of legal pot shops open. Every week the Washington Liquor Control Board issues more recreational licenses for legal growers, producers and processors of pot, and as that production ramps up so does the demand for a wide range of professional services.

The Green Rush is on — cannabis employers are now focusing on hiring and so the Marijuana Business Association hosted a Job Fair to put would-be workers in weed together with new high-paying jobs.

The MJBA Job Fair happened Saturday at the Red Lion Hotel in Bellevue, WA, and was presented by online job board Weedhire.com, and sponsored by a host of leading canna-employers. AOL Jobs talked to some of them to find out what kind of jobs are being created in this new legal industry, and what kinds of experience and training will best prepare job seekers for an exciting new career in the cannabis trade.


Marco Hoffman,
President, Evergreen Herbal

Marco Hoffman is a successful entrepreneur out of California where he co-founded the Venice Cookie Company. He is modeling his smaller Washington operation after best practices learned at VCC. Evergreen Herbal has quickly established itself, and its 4.20 and infused-Quencher lines – at the top of Washington’s most successful medibles category.

MJBA Job Fair 231A.C. Braddock
CEO, Eden Labs

Eden Labs is a leading manufacturer of extraction technology, the innovator of the Hi-Flo Co2 system, the “Coldfinger” distillation systems and a multitude of protocols for the processing of botanicals. The company, which has deep roots in the food, tobacco and coffee industries, has grown quickly in response to the tremendous growth of the cannabis concentrates market. A.C. is a founding member of Women of Weed, Marijuana Business Association, NCIA and the MJBA Women’s Alliance.

Eden Labs does not micro-manage” A.C. tells AOL Jobs. “Employees must be able to work unsupervised, and will be expected to be responsible in achieving designated deadlines and improving the job role as needed.” Like many in the dynamic new industry, Braddock emphasizes the importance of being a team player with excellent communication skills.

Women In Cannabis: Solidarity And High-Potency Sorbet

WASHINGTON: A power luncheon for women in the marijuana business took place Friday in one of Seattle’s highest locations – the top of the Columbia Tower, where dozens of women in the cannabis business gathered to talk shop and exchange recipes.

A.C. Braddock is CEO of Eden Labs, which makes extraction equipment. These days 90 percent of her business is from clients making high-potency marijuana concentrates.

“Pretty much all of our clients are men,” Braddock said, “which is great, I love men, nothing wrong with men, but my interaction with women over the years has become smaller and smaller until this group.”

Braddock said the women entrepreneurs at this lunch really do bring a different vision for legal marijuana in Washington.

Seattle: MJBA Women’s Alliance Gathers For Business Power Luncheon

WASHINGTON: Looking out across the Puget Sound from this high vantage point, you can almost see the future. MJBA Women’s Alliance will host its first Women & Cannabis Business Power Luncheon on the 76th floor of Seattle’s Columbia Tower Club this Friday, May 16th.

More than Fifty prominent professionals will gather at the event, billed as an afternoon of  “cannabis sisterhood and camaraderie.”

Law enforcement veteran Diane Goldstein, the first female lieutenant for the Redondo Beach Police Department, and Executive Board Member for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), will be the VIP Keynote Speaker.

AC Braddock, Kara Bradford & Morgan will host the MJBA Women's Alliance Power Lunch on Friday 5/16 at Seattle's Columbia Tower Club.

AC Braddock, Kara Bradford & Morgan will host the MJBA Women’s Alliance Power Lunch on Friday 5/16 at Seattle’s Columbia Tower Club.

“The mission of the MJBA Cannabis Women’s Alliance is to work collaboratively to enhance the growth and strength of our businesses and the development of the industry,” explained Morgan, president of the Washington Marijuana Business Association and the event’s organizer. “Every day I am more impressed with the quality of work, collaboration and excellence in quality products coming from the women in our Washington cannabis industry”

 

A.C. Braddock, CEO of Eden Labs, who is sponsoring the exclusive event, added, “As a female CEO in an industry that is predominantly male, Eden Labs is honored to be a part of the Women’s Alliance and support the important and groundbreaking work of the women in the Cannabis industry.”

 

Tickets to the exclusive event are $175 for non-members, and $150 for MJBA members, and are available here:

Washington Cannabis Industry Convenes This Weekend For MJBA Vendor Fair Seattle

WASHINGTON: Washington State’s legal marijuana business community will convene this weekend in Seattle for a two-day trade show featuring more than 30 of the state’s top cannabis brands.

MJBA Vendor Fair Seattle, is being produced by the Marijuana Business Association, a national industry trade group based in Seattle, whose mission is the creation of a legitimate, sustainable and profitable legal marijuana industry, and sponsored by Evergreen Herbal, a popular maker of cannabis-infused edibles and beverages.

“This weekend we will mark the historic launch of the legal marijuana market in Washington,” said MJBA CEO David Rheins. [Read more…]