The Wink In Weed: Evolving To Better Serve The Marijuana Marketplace

By David Rheins

Businesses are living organisms that follow a natural lifecycle. From conception as an idea in the mind of the entrepreneur, through each phase of development, the rough edges of each business are honed, shaped and sharpened by market realities. We learn and evolve as we grow: adding employees, encountering and overcoming competitive challenges, exploring opportunities, and servicing our customers. The marketplace is unambiguous about what it wants — voting with money and mindshare – and in that way influences the trajectory of every business participant.

The idea for the creation of the Marijuana Business Association came back in early 2012, before recreational marijuana was legal in either Washington or Colorado. We saw that there was a tremendous support for creating a legitimate cannabis industry among would-be licensees and consumers, but practically no institutional support or infrastructure to help them.  We built our core services in direct response to the common needs and concerns voiced from the literally hundreds of activists, dispensaries, growers, topical-makers, and entrepreneurs we spoke with as we were refining our business plan.

Blue Line Protection Group Inc. said it's opening a new 12,000-square-foot facility in Denver that will be able to house its armored vehicles, count companies' cash, and store cash in vaults. It's scheduled to open in the first quarter of next year, the company said.

Getting and staying informed is one of the biggest challenges for our business members — licensed growers, processors and retailers, and the many ancillary business professionals who support them.  State regulations are dynamic, and ever-changing. Most first generation cannabis businesses are ill-informed, and under resourced.  They have an ongoing need for reliable information about getting licensed and staying compliant, and the technical challenges of their new profession as a grower, or processor or retailer.

The Marijuana Business Association was created to provide participants in the newly legal cannabis industry with three core values: Reliable Business Intelligence, Professional Community and Commercial Opportunity.   Three years ago, MJBA began publishing MJHeadlineNews on Facebook as a social forum for aggregating the day’s most important cannabis news from both the mainstream media and the pot press.  The site immediately generated tremendous response, and attracting a national audience. Today the MJHeadlineNews page boasts 160,000 Likes with robust community engagement.

"Forcing businessmen and businesswomen who are operating legally under Oregon state law to shuttle around gym bags full of cash is an invitation to crime and malfeasance," said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. "It's time to let banks serve these legal businesses without fearing devastating reprisals from the federal government."

Increasingly we’ve seen the mission of our MJNewsNetwork.com as not only disseminating the news from other sources, but also the creation of our own original content.  We’ve now published hundreds of original videos from MJBA events and other industry happenings on our Marijuana Channel One on YouTube. And are in the process of building out our suite of web sites, professional educational programming and publications to deliver even more value.

MJBA Meetups have become a reliable monthly occasion where cannabis professionals can share news, and engage in professional networking in an ideal environment for establishing one’s professional and personal brands. We’ve grown, from monthly meetings in Seattle, to supporting regular MJBA meetups in Spokane, Bellingham, Tacoma, Portland, Denver and New York. Thousands of industry professionals have attended our job fairs, vendor fairs and professional education seminars, and tens of thousands more have watched the 300 original videos we’ve captured from MJBA and other cannabis industry trade events.

As the needs of the marketplace have evolved over the past three years, MJBA has evolved our offerings to map to the changing needs of our membership – partnering with leading business intelligence firm TetraTrak/Front Runner to host Professional Education Seminars for producers, processors and retailers, and hosting business boot camps with NWMJ Law that provide members with access to leading attorneys, CPAs and other business experts.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8rOgEvxQ2Y&w=560&h=315]

Two years ago, we launched the MJBA Women’s Alliance to provide a forum for cannabis businesswomen to build their personal and professional lives.  More than 100 women-owned or operated cannabis businesses have joined in the MJBA Women’s Alliance, participating in our many a Seminars, VIP Speaker Luncheons and Charitable Events. This Spring we decided that the Women’s Alliance had achieved enough scale and momentum to sustain it, and so we have spun it off as a separate new entity: The Cannabis Women’s Alliance — a social purpose corporation with Morgan acting as CEO and Roxanne Taylor as COO.

Team MJBA

MJBA Women’s Alliance

It does my heart proud to see this project take flight on its own. As a parent of a recent High School graduate, I feel the same familiar mix of pride at achieving the significant milestone, and sadness that this precious first chapter of our organizational is ending.

With California, Nevada, Arizona and a dozen or so more States voting for marijuana legalization in November, 2016 represents an inflection point for the legal cannabis industry. Our grand experiment has met with enthusiastic response from eager consumers, and a begrudging realization among politicians that end of prohibition is inevitable so they might as well have a part in crafting what comes next.  I remain excited about what comes next for the industry and the MJBA.

Stay tuned to this space…

Wink-in-Weed: Ladies and Gentleman, It’s Show Time!

By David Rheins

February, the coldest and shortest month, arrives next week and that means the beginning of trade show season for those of us in the cannabis industry.

Here at the Marijuana Business Association, we’ll be kicking off the month at the Cannabis Collaborative Conference (formerly known as the Creative Cannabis Conference) in Portland, Oregon on the 3rd and 4th of February. MJBA and MJBA Women’s Alliance are exhibiting at the show, and Morgan and I will both serve as moderators and panelists.

On Wednesday, February 3, I’ll moderate the 2:15 panel entitled, “Sidekicks are Superheros: Ancillary & Supporting Businesses within the Cannabis Marketplace.” I’ll have the pleasure of discussing the topic with panelists Paul Campbell of Leafly, Holly Alberti of Healthy Headie Lifestyle, Brandon Gallagher of Vuber Technologies, and Scott Lott of Click Simply.

On Thursday, February 4th, MJBA Women’s Alliance founder Morgan will be moderating the 2:15 panel, “Launching a Product or Service: The Process of Creating Powerful Brands. James Zachodni of DOPE Magazine, Randall Huft of Innovation Agency, and Devin Manuel of Click Simply.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbYuzBfSu4k&w=560&h=315]

And little later, at 3:15 on Thursday,  Morgan and I will participate as panelist on, “What Happens After CCC?: A Telltale of Five Industry Organizations.” Moderated by Aimee Shuman of 420 Swarm, our fellow panelists will include Bethany Moore of NCIA , Jocelyn Anderson of Women Grow, and Chris Carpenter of OCBC.

Less than two weeks later, Team MJBA will be packing up our tents and setting up camp at CannaCon. Taking place, February 18, 19 and 20 at Pier 91 in Seattle, this is the fourth CannaCon show for MJBA and MJBA Women’s Alliance, and we’ll have a big presence.  Not only are we media sponsors and exhibitors of CannaCon again this year, but both Morgan and I have the honor to serve as moderators and panelists of what has become the most important industry trade show in Washington.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzmXVkvUP2o&w=560&h=315]

If you have anything to do with the legal cannabis industry in Washington or Oregon, you will want to attend both CCC in Portland and CannaCon in Seattle this month. When you do, please stop by the MJBA and MJBA Women’s Alliance booths and say ‘Hi.”

Thursday
10:00:00 AM Keynote: Andrew Schell Keynote: Ben Curren Keynote: Roy Bingham
Designing a Winning Nutrient Regimen What Every Marijuana Retailer Should Know Am I Selling The Products My Customers Really Want?
CULTIVATION TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
11:30:00 AM Advantages of organic soil The Extraction Series: C02 Investing in Cannabis – Where Do I Start?
Tad Hussey Craig Henderson Brett Roper
1:00:00 PM Advanced Indoor Flowering Techniques The Extraction Series: Rosin Tech WA Rules and Regulations
Jaya Palmer Jeff Church Rick Garza-WSLCB
Kristie Weeks-WSDH | Steve Fuller-WSDA
2:30:00 PM Ask Ed & Tom The Extraction Series: Legal Q&A Panel
Ed Rosenthal | Farmer Tom Lauerman Large Scale Production of 99% Pure THC & CBD Aaron Pelley | Chris Crew | Dan Bariault | Don E Wirtshafter
Dr. Jon Thompson
4:00:00 PM Aeroponics & Hydroponic Cultivation Bitcoin Viability Panel Insuring your Cannabis Business Future
Chris Wrenn | Tom O’Dowd
Edgar Ham | Mike Dupree | Robert Stephan
Manny Perez | Caleb Chen | Marshall Hayner
Christopher Walters | Doug Banfelder | Karen Canton
FRIDAY
10:00:00 AM Keynote: Adam Dunn Keynote: Katherine Grimm Keynote: Cheryl Shuman
TBA Kickstarting Your Cannabis Career
From Rags to Riches: How to Succeed in the Cannabis Industry
CULTIVATION TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
11:30:00 AM Panel: Women in Cannabis The Art & Science of Cannabis Topicals Navagating Tax Laws Unique to Cannabis
Crystal Oliver | Morgan Christine
Sharon Whitson | Shawn DeNae
Ah Warner | Megan Schwarting Dani Espinda
1:00:00 PM Harnessing light: A Plant’s Perspective Why is the right packaging important? Panel: Cannabis Policy Reform
Rebecca Knight, PhD Keva Sonderen Cat Jeter | Kristen Flor | TK Ramsey
2:30:00 PM Managing Commercial Cultivation Lighting: Impacting the Grid
How to Build a Cannabis Brand
& Strategic Marketing Plan From the Ground Up!
Shara Ross Shelly Peterson Catherine Zito
4:00:00 PM Optimizing Small Scale Grows Chocolate Loves Cannabis! Panel: Legal Q&A
Jennifer Martin Clair McKenzie Ann van Leynseele | Cindy Flyn | Mitzi Vaughn
SATURDAY
10:00:00 AM Keynote: Don E Wirtshafter Keynote: AC Braddock Keynote: Bruce Barcott
The First Golden Age of Cannabis Medicines The Cannabis Industry: not business as usual Author: Weed The People
Vivian McPeak TECHNOLOGY SETTING INDUSTRY STANDARDS
The Long And Winding Road To Cannabis Liberation
A Comprehensive Budtender Training Course
11:30:00 AM John Davis Commercial Lighting Options Session 1: The Plant
Mission NOT Accomplished Keith Harrington Jerry Whiting
1:00:00 PM Cultivation: Q&A The Benefits of Greenhouse Production Session 2: The Law & Regs
Kyle Kushman Greg Ellis Jerry Whiting
2:30:00 PM Plant Physiology & Nutrient Uptake
Use of Pesticides and Fertilizers
to Produce Marijuana in Washington
Session 3: The Retail Experience
Blair McHenry Erik Johansen WSDA Jerry Whiting
1 continuing education credit
4:00:00 PM Panel: Breeding with the Best
Pesticide Label & Worker Protection
Standard Requirements for Marijuana Growers
Session 4: Resumes & Interviews a Q&A
Adam Dunn | DJ Short | Exotic Genetics
Odie Diesel | Sunycheba
Erik Johansen WSDA Jerry Whiting
1 continuing education credit

 

 

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 Women In Cannabis Who Keep Me Lifted

WASHINGTON:  Last night I attended MJBA Women’s Alliance ‘Power To Influence’ at the Sorrento Hotel in Seattle, WA. Surrounded by lady politicians, business owners, advocates, moms, and grandmas I had my spirits lifted and was reminded why I am sitting here right now plinking on a keyboard about cannabis.

When I joined my first women’s cannabis group, a couple of years ago, I didn’t have my face on my blog, any kind of social media around it, and was nervous to come out publicly as a cannabis blogger and user. It was then that I attended a party with Washington Bud Company’s, Shawn Denae, and expressed my concerns about having my face attached to marijuana. She gave me a look I’ll never forget and told me that they are all putting themselves way out there so if I mean what I’m doing, then go for it. The very next day I updated my blog to include a picture of myself and never looked back. I’m not sure she even knows she did that for me and I am forever grateful that she did.

But this is what I’m talking about. When I hang around these women in cannabis I am spoken to candidly while still feeling supported and I am reminded that I am not alone on this path. I have a whole tribe of powerful women in my camp who want to see me succeed and celebrate with me.

Women At Work: No Old-Boys Network In New Field, Medical Marijuana Pioneers Say

ILLINOIS:  It’s an industry, they say, that’s too new to have a glass ceiling. And for many women, that’s a good reason to get into the booming legal marijuana business.

“There is no such thing as an old boys’ network in a new industry,” says Wendy Berger Shapiro, co-founder of a group called Illinois Women in Cannabis.

Berger Shapiro started the professional networking group with attorney Dina Rollman last August to “get women at the starting line at the same time as the men,” Rollman says. “So they’re not playing catchup, and they’re leading the industry, shoulder-to-shoulder with the men.”

With Illinois having legalized medical marijuana, seriously ill people who qualify could be able to obtain legal weed as soon as this fall, some predict.

Mother’s High Tea With Cannabis Maven Susan Squibb

COLORADO:  Women are rewriting the social rules regarding marijuana use, and driving innovation in the emerging legal cannabis industry.  To celebrate and pay tribute to them, Denver-based 4 & 20 Blackbird Productions and organizers Cannabis Maven Susan Squibb and Christie Lunsford will play host to  the 3rd Biennial Mother’s High Tea, a networking event for women and mothers in cannabis.

MJNewsNetwork asked Susan Squibb about the event, and much more.

Q: What is Mother’s High Tea?

Mother’s High Tea is a tea party around Mother’s Day for the inspirational pioneering women and mothers of cannabis legalization and our fast growing community. It’s based in Denver, Colorado.  The first Mother’s High Tea, in 2011 began as a community event.   The original event inspiration was my mother who was active in the nonprofit community serving women and children’s needs. When she passed away from ovarian cancer, I created this event within my own community in homage to her positive influence and gather the busy cannabis business women together for an inspiring tea party around Mother’s Day.  The next Mother’s High Tea doubled as the launch of Women’s CannaBusiness Network, a project of National Cannabis Industry Association. This women’s group, 2 years later developed into Women Grow. Mother’s High Tea is a trailblazing cannabis event!

Q: Who will be speaking?

Cannabis business women, AC Braddock CEO of Washington based Eden Labs and Kristi Kelly, Principal of Good Meds Network in Metro Denver are speaking at this year’s event. Our keynote speaker is Republican Senator Beth Martinez Humenik from Adams County, Colorado. Diane Fornbacher, publisher of Ladybud Magazine will inspire with poetry and cannabis educator and consultant, Christie Lunsford, is sharing MC duties with me. It’s an exciting lineup of accomplished women, I’m eager to hear what Senator Humenik will say!

Q: Who should attend?

This event is for women and mothers in cannabis business and legal reform. It’s a networking event with a speaker program and event activities.   Mothers can bring their children, if they like. Due to compliance issues for public cannabis events, we have a limited capacity for minors, so children need to be preregistered to attend. Those arrangements can be made when tickets are purchased. Men are welcome to attend too!

Q: The event was produced by 4 & 20 Blackbirds Productions —your event production company — tell us about that.

Mother’s High Tea, as a non-consumption event, has been the only 4 & 20 Blackbirds event so far. I have plans to organize other cannabis events, more on the cultural side, but the laws in Denver are strict and not conducive to public events with allowed consumption. Here in the Denver area, people in marijuana “speakeasies” can get tickets for public consumption by police, and events have been cancelled or moved under pressure from officials. It’s unstable and still largely underground right now. The private use only aspect of the Colorado legalization law is not based on actual behavior. Cannabis culture is social and needs to also be legalized. Ideally, I want to be able to get a marijuana event permit, just like a permit is needed to sell alcohol at an event.

Q: You wear a lot of hats — Cannabis Maven, Operations Director of Steep Hill Labs, SAFER activist, event planner — how do you manage to balance it all? 

I don’t wear all my hats at the same time! But life can get hectic, juggling it all. Meditation is an important balance. I can do a lot because I am deeply motivated to make positive change for this plant. This is my inspiration for my legal reform work.  I feel really blessed to have many opportunities to describe and impact cannabis laws, expand the legal marketplace and increase consumer safety. I think of great ideas to manifest, look for good projects to work on, and support worthwhile businesses that add value to the scene and develop business and social infrastructure.

Q: The event is open to well-dressed men and well-behaved children…what is your thinking?

Yes, this is primarily a lady’s event. We don’t exclude men, especially men that recognize the importance of the event and want to lend support to the women of this community!  We do ask the men to dress nice! Cannabis business is usually a casually dressed environment, lots of t shirt and jeans. We want to everyone looking sharp for the ladies!  Mothers can bring their children the Mother’s High Tea. We design the event with kids in mind. We have a letter writing table for encouraging political engagement, a craft table to decorate teapot ornaments, tea time word searches, and a fun photo booth. Many cannabis businesses in Colorado are run by families. This public event is an opportunity for them to bring their children, or parents,  to a cannabis event that is appropriate and safe and stylish.

Q: Who are your sponsors?

We have over 35 business sponsors for the event representing a wide range of businesses within the cannabis industry. MJBA Women’s Alliance has been an enthusiastic sponsor of Mother’s High Tea and special thanks to our lunch, photo booth and platinum sponsors: Mary Medicinal’s, Julie’s Natural Edibles, MiNDFUL, Steep Hill, The Farm, Ideal 420 Soil, and Northern Lights Cannabis Co.

Here’s all the sponsors! Mary Medicinals, Julie’s Natural Edibles, MiNDFUL, Steep Hill, The Farm, Ideal 420 Soil, Northern Lights, McAllister Law Office, Dixie, Good Meds Network, Canyon Cultivation, Miller Soil, Live Green, CannaMart, Surna, MJ Freeway, Denver Relief, Lauren Davis Law, The ArcView Group, The Clinic,  Better Baked, Vicente/Sederberg, CMT Laboratories, Cloverleaf University, 420 Investor, SSDP and DPA, BMB Builders, 3D Cannabis Center,  The Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, Ladybud Magazine, Buds and Blossoms, Cannabis Camera, 4 & 20 Blackbirds, Women Grow, MJBA Women’s Alliance, Wildwood Apothecary, and Sara C’s it Social Media.

Q: Women Grow, MJBA Women’s Alliance, Ladybud, why do you think women in the cannabis have taken such a visible leadership role in shaping a post-prohibition world.  

Women have been involved in cannabis reform for a long time. The change in the laws has made it a more comfortable space for women to openly come forward as advocates for legal reform, and executives in cannabis business.  Also, women are important thought leaders for the future we are creating right now. We have a social norm we believe that moms look out for our safety and if mom says something is ok to do, then it’s safe and ok.  The opinions of moms and women will shape what appropriate social use is like in a society of legalized marijuana. Women play an important role in removing stigmas that surround marijuana.  Also, the needs of women consumers will have a big impact on market development, so businesses need to be forecasting for women consumers.

Q: Feel free to add anything else you feel would be relevant to MJ News Network readers.

Anyone who believes cannabis laws should change can have a big impact by simply talking about your support within your social circles. Fear of what others think or fear of being stereotyped as a lazy pothead, unfit mother whatever has stifled public conversations supporting legalization. These everyday conversations aren’t about personal consumption or someone wanting to get high. There are many convincing arguments for legalization- medical research and patient access, social justice issues and the racial disparity of prisoners serving time for nonviolent marijuana offenses, or the missed tax revenue for what currently is the biggest cash crop in the US. We can all contribute to the groundswell of support for legal reform by telling our neighbors and community members our support and in doing so, we reflect the normalcy of the people wanting legal reform in the US. There is a lot of work that still needs to happen, let’s use this current momentum to have a big impact on restoring this useful plant into modern life.

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.

Meet The Women Behind “The Power of Politics”

WASHINGTON: In preparation for tomorrow evening’s historic gathering, MJNewsNetwork sat down with the Washington power women behind the “Power of Politics” – ladies from both sides of the political aisle, representing recreational and medical marijuana business owners – to ask them about tomorrow’s historic event.  Organized by the MJBA Women’s Alliance, and sponsored by Eden Labs, Washington Bud Company and Cannabis Basics, the exclusive evening of information, inspiration and activation takes place on Wednesday, March 25th, 6PM at the Palace Ballroom in Seattle.

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.

AC Braddock, CEO of Eden Labs

 

AC Braddock, CEO of Eden Labs, Presenting Sponsor of “Power of Politics” and National Sponsor of MJBA:

We have an opportunity as a state to create two separate and hugely successful industries: Adult Use (Recreational) and Medical Treatment.   Currently Medical is in a legal grey area which does no one any good.  This needs to be changed immediately and legislated in such a way as to compliment and support both industries.  Washington has a long history of Best Practices and some of the most successful companies on the planet.    We can lead the nation in research, consumer protection, sustainability, social responsibility while supporting our historic micro business culture and big industry.  We are a state of innovators and activists…a powerful combination when we work together for change.

Why should women in the cannabis industry become politically engaged? 

Legislators are very busy people who are multi tasking as best they can to represent your voice.  They need factual information, real-life perspectives, problem solving suggestions and a personal connection to effectively legislate on your behalf. No one wants to make a bad decision, making them entirely open to advisement and suggestion. It is profoundly important to listen to their perspective and questions and then offer your assistance.  Your voice is truly the future of the industry.

And lastly, who should come to this event and why?

Women are the largest growing sector in the Cannabis industry not only as a market, but also as business entrepreneurs and medical practitioners who bring a set of sensibilities that are ESSENTIAL for the paradigm shifts happening in the business world.  There is nothing to hold you back and we are here to support and promote you.  Be the very best and most powerful you can be…we are.

 

 we are allowed to attend, but NOT allowed to testify. However, we can send written comments that will be delivered to the Planning Commission via sally.evans@snoco.org.

Shawn DeNae, President of Washington Bud Company

 

Shawn DeNae, President of Washington Bud Company, Mistress of Ceremonies and MJBA National Sponsor

This is the first time in the history of mankind that women are poised to lead an industry and this ancient yet infant industry is it! The atmosphere is not only favorable but supportive; blame it on the Age of Aquarius, [Facebook COO] Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In or the female nature of the plant we love.

Why should women in the cannabis industry become politically engaged? 

Now is the time the important foundation of legal cannabis is being planned and women are helping guide that conversation.   Direct communication with our lawmakers is vital and that is why the MJBA Women’s Alliance chose to have this event now.  We do not have the luxury of decades to become part of each other’s circles of influence.  We need to know our lawmakers and they need to know the pioneering women, the entrepreneurial women and the legacy women of cannabis.  We must build trust so we can cross the bridge to legitimacy in every corner of politics beginning at the local level.

Who should come to this event and why?

Join us in the relaxed atmosphere of the lovely Palace Ballroom while we get a glimpse into what inspired these politically placed women to step up and take charge.  They can be our mentors to being more effective at creating change toward a future we are proud to pass along.

I’m excited to be Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening and have some really juicy questions lined up! You’ll want to be there; bring your story and come make “herstory” with us!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=210Y9i4uEWc]

Expected speakers will include Republican Senator Ann Rivers, author of the market consolidating SB 5052; Democratic Senator Jeanne-Kohl-Welles, author of SB 6083 calling for home grow for all adults 21+; Bellingham City Councilwoman Pinky Vargas, Mayor of Sultan Carolyn Eslick; Seattle City Councilwoman Jean Godden, along with the MJBA Women’s Alliance’s cadre of  business leaders, including Cannabis Basic’s founder Ah Warner – who helped to write the HABA bill, which would allow for the legal sale of  “topicals” — salves and lotions made with low-levels of THC, and Joy Beckerman, President at WA State Chapter of the Hemp Industries Association, a leading activist helping to legalize industrial hemp in the state.will explore how Washington’s medical and recreational laws are changing, and how those changes will impact operators of the state’s cannabis businesses.

 

 

 

Senators Ann Rivers, Jeanne-Kohl Wells Keynote “The Power of Politics” on Wednesday, March 25th in Seattle

WASHINGTON: The legal landscape for marijuana businesses in Washington is about to change radically as a result of new legislation under consideration in Olympia designed to bring the state’s unregulated MMJ system together with its nascent I-502 recreational pot industry. The authors of two leading marijuana bills are veteran women lawmakers – and to sell these changes through to the cannabusiness community – both will be featured speakers at “The Power of Politics,” a gathering of the important female cannabis executives. Organized by the MJBA Women’s Alliance, and sponsored by Eden Labs, Washington Bud Company and Cannabis Basics, the exclusive evening of information, inspiration and activation takes place on Wednesday, March 25th, 6PM at the Palace Ballroom in Seattle.

Republican Senator Ann Rivers, author of the market consolidating SB 5052, and Democratic Senator Jeanne-Kohl-Welles, author of SB 6083 calling for home grow for all adults 21+, will explore how Washington’s medical and recreational laws are changing, and how those changes will impact operators of the state’s cannabis businesses.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that women are poised to lead an industry,” mistress of ceremonies and Washington Bud Company founder Shawn DeNae told MJNN in an exclusive conversation.  “Blame it on the Age of Aquarius, on [Facebook COO]  Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In’ or the female nature of the plant we love! Now is the time the important foundation of legal cannabis is being planned and women are helping guide that conversation.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=210Y9i4uEWc&w=560&h=315]

Joining Senators Kohl-Welles and Rivers, will be Bellingham City Councilwoman Pinky Vargas, Mayor of Sultan Carolyn Eslick and Seattle City Councilwoman Jean Godden, along with the MJBA Women’s Alliance’s cadre of  business leaders, including Cannabis Basic’s founder Ah Warner – who helped to write the HABA bill, which would allow for the legal sale of  “topicals” — salves and lotions made with low-levels of THC, and Joy Beckerman, President at WA State Chapter of the Hemp Industries Association, a leading activist helping to legalize industrial hemp in the state.

“Direct communication with our lawmakers is vital and that is why the MJBA Women’s Alliance chose to have this event now,” DeNae explained. “ We do not have the luxury of decades to become part of each other’s circles of influence.  We need to know our lawmakers and they need to know the pioneering women, the entrepreneurial women and the legacy women of cannabis.  We must build trust so we can cross the bridge to legitimacy in every corner of politics beginning at the local level.”

MJBA Women’s Alliance’s “The Power of Politics” takes place on Wednesday, March 25th at 6PM at the Palace Ballroom in downtown Seattle. Tix are available online via EventBrite: