Cleveland Cannabis Influencers Gather At MJBA To Celebrate Opening Of Ohio Medical Marijuana Program

By Michelle Blank

There was a new energy and excitement in the air this past Thursday night as the Cleveland Chapter of the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) held its January Meetup, hosted by Steve Baden at the law offices of Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis.

TraceyDwyerBloomThe meeting of Cleveland-area professionals fell on the night after the official start of Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program, with four dispensaries opening their doors to the public. The Forest of Sandusky and Cresco Labs CY+ made the official first two sales with Ohio Valley Natural Relief LLC and The Botanist following closely behind.

To the gathered MJBA attendees – lawyers, healthcare professionals, patients, advocates and entrepreneurs — there was a newfound excitement that Ohio’s mmj program, created when House Bill 523 was passed in 2016 and signed into law by Governor John Kasich, is finally becoming reality after more than two years of delay.

janmeetup2clevelandThe official total sales for the first day totaled $75,000, with 8.7 pounds of legal cannabis being sold. To date, 3,575 patients have legally registered with the State as Medical Marijuana Patients, with those numbers expecting to grow daily.

mjbacleveland3The packed room had representatives from Buckeye Relief, a Level 1 Cultivator; Herbology Dispensary, The Clubhouse Dispensary; The Cleveland School of Cannabis; Dr. Solomon Zarraa, with Compassionate Cleveland; Michael Bush, National Cannabis Insurance, and many other industry professionals who came together to network, share information and build community.

Alicia Reaves, co-founder of Midwest CannaWomen, kicked off the meeting with a passionate speech about her organization and why she decided to form her group to help women become more involved in the State’s Medical Marijuana Industry. “I started Midwest CannaWomen because I have been in the industry since May 2017, and I have attended events and networked… and I never see myself. There is a lack of women – especially minority women – in CEO or even supervisory positions in the Cannabis Industry. I want to provide opportunities and resources for all women, so that they may have a place in the industry.” She is definitely becoming a voice to be heard!

MJBAClevelandSpeakerTracey Dwyer, Regional Patient Outreach Director of Bloom Medicinals, then took the floor to educate participants on her company’s Dispensaries located here in Ohio and throughout the United States. “What makes Bloom Medicinals an exceptional dispensary experience is our commitment to clinical excellence, superior product, and above all – deep compassionate care for our patients.”   Ms. Dwyer also fielded many questions and spurred conversations amongst the crowd on various topics including the State’s 21 Qualifying Medical Conditions and Ohio’s daily dosage of 2.8 Grams – dubbed what is now known as an “Ohio Tenth”.

cleveland4As is customary at MJBA events, the crowd lingered well after the speakers wrapped up to network, with business cards being exchanged and industry relationships being formed.

What a great way to start 2019. Ohio – I think we are officially going somewhere!!

MJBA Cleveland hosts meetings bi-monthly. For more information on how to become a member, please visit mjba.net

 

 

 

Cleveland’s Cannabis Pioneers Turn Out For MJBA Professional Meetup

By Michelle Blank
The room was packed this past Thursday as professionals in Ohio’s nascent legal cannabis industry turned out for September Meetup of the Cleveland Chapter of the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA).  The networking and informational event, hosted by attorney Steve Baden and held at the law firm Meyers Roman, Friedberg & Lewis, brought together a diverse crowd of CBD business owners, attorneys, a cannabis insurance company, a cannabis staffing agency, doctors and nurses,  several of my fellow staffers from Cleveland School of Cannabis, and a few others just looking to get involved in the industry and become more informed.
MJBA Cleveland September Meetup

MJBA Cleveland September Meetup

Nick Ciofani, Deputy Chief of Staff from Congressman David Joyce‘s office, started things off with an update from the 14th District of Ohio.  An informative brief was then given by Theresa Daniello from TDCANN Institute on the status of her meeting with the State.
MJBA Cleveland Meetup

MJBA Cleveland Meetup

Arleen Crider, Nurse Herbalist, educator and clinical informatics specialist discussed the endocannabinoid system and the importance of educating medical professionals on plant-based medicine.  The meeting was wrapped up by special guest Jeremy Miller, organizer of Viva Las Hempfest, the licensed Hemp festival scheduled for early November, who shared his journey in the cannabis industry. 
Arleen Crider explains the endocannabinoid system

Theresa Daniello from TDCANN Institute 

With Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program becoming operational, the attendees were heard discussing the benefits and importance of having a forum for participants in the legal cannabis industry to come together and share news and community.  The MJBA meeting provided all of those who attended with powerful information, and invaluable networking.  Having an organization like the MJBA is instrumental for Ohio’s Professional Cannabis Community to keep abreast of not only our State’s progress, but other States’ growth and progression as well.

Since 2013, The Voice of Legal Cannabis.

Since 2013, The Voice of Legal Cannabis.

If you would like to get involved with the MJBA Cleveland, please email us: info@mjba.net
      

The Wink In Weed: The Midwest Leg Of ‘Cannafest Destiny’ Tours The Heartland

By David Rheins

So much attention is spent on the great progress that is being made on the East Coast, that we sometimes forget to acknowledge the truly historic changes that are transforming the country’s heartland.  As wise approach this Independence Day, those of us in the marijuana reform movement and legal cannabis industry have much to celebrate.  Roll fireworks, spark legal sparklers.

I grew up in the conservative Midwest dreaming of more.  Weaned on the music and poetry of Bob Dylan and John Lennon, rock & roll and marijuana sustained me during my formative years in the Indiana of the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, Midwesterners had little hope that legalization would ever really come to our bible belt.  Hell, you couldn’t even buy beer on Sundays, or buy a lottery ticket in the Hoosier state.

As soon as I could, I fled the flatlands of Indiana– first for the Central African Republic as a Peace Corp volunteer, and later to the libertine coastal towns of New York City and Seattle. In New York, I learned the business of media and marketing. At Rolling Stone Magazine, and SPIN and AOL Time Warner, I received a first-class education on building pop culture brands and established a network of lifetime friends and colleagues.

Since Colorado and Washington first voted to legalize recreational marijuana use in late 2012, the legal cannabis market has grown from $1.5 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion last year, according to industry estimates. That kind of velocity gets the attention of investors, many of whom focus on tech.

MJBA has provided a safe place for professionals in legal cannabis to build the industry and establish best practices.

In Seattle, I found my people in a culture of bountiful marijuana and progressive politics.  The Pacific Northwest was where the hippies washed up.  In the cool forests and high-tech valleys of the Puget Sound, I found a society that had socialized, if not yet fully legalized, the use of cannabis. The PNW was rich in cannabis culture, and with extensive plant expertise, and established community, but no real business infrastructure. With legalization, and the complexities of compliance that come with it, we established the Marijuana Business Association to meet the many needs of those early business pioneers. We were privileged to be able to help establish one of the first legal cannabis markets, and a build a very vibrant community of cannabis business professionals that has allowed us to take that knowledge and expertise across the country as new markets opened.

Now, five years after those first market places began, we have established legal cannabis communities on both Coasts, and even in the Midwest.  Public opinion is firmly on our side, and even Congress has come around – with several bills currently circulating with bi-partisan support that will further unravel the age of prohibition.  By every indication, the country is moving towards legalizing marijuana for both medical and commercial use. The Senate, led by Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, has passed the 2018 Farm Bill which includes Hemp farming provisions that De-schedule Hemp and allow American hemp farmers to take advantage of a booming global market (insert link). We are about to embark on the hemp century, and that portends great things for the Midwest.

What a great time then to steer the CannaFest Destiny Tour – the educational tour that Curved Papers and the MJBA have been on for the last two years – to Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

Curved Papers is a national sponsor of The Marijuana Business Association.

Curved Papers is a national sponsor of The Marijuana Business Association.

We began our trip in Michigan, the land of a thousand dispensaries.  Second largest medical cannabis market in the country — with more than 300,000 patients — Michiganders will vote on full legalization in November, and the local cannabis activists are feeling confident in success.

But for now, Michigan and the High Times Cannabis Cup was all about Medical Marijuana.  For starters, you had to be 18+, and possess a medical card to get in. We arrive at the racetrack in the pouring rain.  Navigating the muddy parking lot, we are greeted with long lines and quickly learn that there is a strict, if indecipherable, wristband hierarchy in play.  Super VIPs have replaced VIPs.  And If you ain’t Super VIP, you are only slightly above the great unwashed.  A strict canna-class system is in full evidence:  High Times hogs ride around on ATVs, vested security guards checks wristbands to ensure to unauthorized entrance into meager VIP – with its tubs of free Flynt Water Bottles water, a free t-shirt, and a place to get sit down and medicate – and slightly better Super VIP tented areas.

michael with mjba button

High Times Michigan was held at the Auto City Raceway in Clio, a former dirt track turned asphalt flea market for weed smokers, er I mean, patients.  The venue was packed, despite the rain, and the track was lined with every flavor of entrepreneurs eager to serve a hungry crowd. Corn dogs and infused coffee, dabs (called wax in Michigan), edibles and local flower, lots of flower were available in an endless circle of booths and trailers.  Just don’t look for alcohol.  Despite the permanent venue advertising that lined the track, there was no booze available at the track.  Instead, we found the nicest crowd you ever saw – a blissed out army of stoned zombies gathered together for a day of smoking marijuana and singing songs in the Midwest muck. We had a blast.

After two days in at the laidback track, we made our way southward to Cleveland, Ohio.  The vibe changed drastically once we crossed the border into the Buckeye State. Despite passing into law two years ago, medical marijuana remains legal, but unavailable.  Through corruption and incompetence, the state has hemmed, hawed and delayed the process so that the mandated September launch will be pushed back for who knows how long. As a result, the members of the cannabis community – advocates, educators, patients and healthcare professionals – are justifiably frustrated.

2018-Generic-Badge-RWBThis was the setting for the inaugural meetup of the MJBA Cleveland chapter.  Sponsored by MaryJane Staffing Agency and hosted at the offices of Meyers Roman, the event was attended by a small but passionate crowd of lawyers, entrepreneurs, educators and advocates, and covered in the Cannabis Business Times.

Attorney Steven Baden gave the attendees an overview of where the state stood with the rollout of its medical marijuana program (he expects delays to last until the first of the year), and MaryJane President Michelle Blank outlined the hundreds of new jobs and career opportunities for participants in Ohio’s legal cannabis system.  Entrepreneur Michael O’Malley shared his story of innovation, and opportunity for product marketers in the lucrative ancillary arena.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhQZhfvZATg]

Back to the beginning of my personal quest, Indiana is also the last frontier for legal cannabis. But even in Pence’s Indiana, there are rays of freedom breaking through.   The current Governor has signed the law legalizing CBD, and a few brave politicians are standing up for legalization.  At the First Church of Cannabis in Indianapolis, Grand Poohbah Bill Levin is awaiting a judge’s decision that could legalize Cannabis as a religious sacrament.

But for now, there is no cannabis in sight as the Cannafest Destiny Tour participated in the Church’s weekly Wednesday services.  Before the services, we receive a call to remind those of us from legal states that we cannot bring our weed onto church grounds.

But inside the classic Indiana Church building, a warm congregation (made even warmer as the air conditioning was on the fritz on the hot and humid Hoosier evening) welcomed us.  In addition to an inspiring sermon by Grand Poohbah Levin, we are treated to testimony from Indiana NORML Chairman Neil Smith, and members of the congregation. Curved Papers founder Michael O’Malley delivered an inspiring talk about the birth of a cannabis brand, and I was able to tell my personal story.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfGnKHeZpIM]
As we left Indiana, the congregants of the First Church of Cannabis are on pins and needles. (as we publish this, the Judge has pushed back the date to render her decision until July 9th).  Levin, ever the advocate for LOVE, told me that he is confident that history is on his side.

Stay tuned to these pages…

MJBA Launches Ohio Chapter June 12th, Interest High As September 8th Deadline Approaches

OHIO: The Marijuana Business Association (MJBA), a leading national trade association for participants in the legal cannabis industry and publishers of the MJ News Network, will host its debut meetup in Cleveland, Ohio, as part of the midwest leg of it national “CannaFest Destiny” educational tour that includes stops in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

The professional networking event will be held at the law offices of Meyers, Roman on June 12th, 6:30-9PM.  Featured speakers will include Michael O’Malley, founder of Curved Papers; Michelle Blank, President and Robin Ann Morris, Founder & CEO of the MaryJane Agency; Steven Baden, Attorney-At-Law, Meyers, Roman; and MJBA founder David Rheins.

2018-Generic-Badge-RWB

Medical marijuana became legal under House Bill 523 on September 8th, 2016. Under the bill, administered by The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, people with certain medical conditions, upon the recommendation of an Ohio-licensed physician certified by the State Medical Board, will be able to purchase and use medical marijuana. It’s taken the state two full years to roll out the program, keeping patients and caregivers, along with would-be participants in the legal mmj industry, waiting and frustrated.

Ohio's Medical Marijuana Control Program

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program

Interest in legal cannabis, one of the fastest growing segments in our economy and a major engine for both job creation and tax revenue generation, has never been higher.  Michelle Blank, President and Robin Ann Morris, Founder & CEO of the MaryJane Agency, decided to organize the Cleveland meetup because they wanted to create a Business Forum for leaders in Ohio’s Cannabis community to gather and collaborate in a professional environment.  “We are so excited to be affiliated with bringing MJBA to  Ohio and feel this is a great avenue for Principals in this area to learn from each other and grow their businesses,” Ms. Blank said.

Screenshot 2018-06-02 09.47.42

Steven L. Baden, Attorney at Law featured presenter, and venue host for the group’s inaugural meetup commented, “Being involved with helping MMJ businesses take root and thrive in Ohio fits perfectly with MJBA’s mission and is why I’m part of getting MJBA established in Ohio.”

The MJBA was instrumental in the establishment of Curved Papers,” Michael O’Malley told MJ News Network. “We joined as business members in Denver in January 2015, where we introduced Curved Papers to Colorado’s cannabis industry leadership, and we are honored to be able to participate in the launch of the MJBA Cleveland and MJBA Ohio communities.  We’ve grown and prospered through our association with the MJBA, and are proud to serve as National Sponsors, traveling across the country on this “Cannafest Destiny” tour.

NORML-MJBA-CURVED

“As a native midwesterner, born and raised in Indiana,  I’m thrilled to be able to come back home and help Ohio’s nascent cannabis business community,” said David Rheins, MJBA founder and executive director. “We look forward to helping to shape common market standards, providing market intelligence, and developing best ethical business practices for all participants in the emerging legal marijuana industries.”

Attendance at the June 12th MJBA Cleveland event is FREE to MJBA Members and qualified industry professionals and caregivers.  Space is limited, so please RSVP to reserve your spot here.