The Wink In Weed: Marijuana Goes Prime Time

By David Rheins

WASHINGTON: This is the year that marijuana goes mainstream.  Mass media is learning to love marijuana in a big way.  You can’t attend a cannabis event in Seattle, or Denver, or Portland these days without bumping into a documentary film crew or budding filmmaker shopping a cannabis concept.

CableTV has been crazy about cannabis since Showtime debuted its seminal stoner series Weeds in 2005, earning the channel’s highest ratings. Similar successes followed for weed-themed “documentaries” from CNBC, VICE, and CNN.  And then Sanjay Gupta opened the flood gates when he reversed his longtime opposition to medical marijuana and called for its immediate rescheduling. That pronouncement by the face of corporate medicine — CNN’s chief medical correspondent was once President Obama’s pick for Surgeon General — had a massive impact on national consciousness.

Today, it is common to see national magazines talking about cannabis.  And not just Rolling Stone, but old school journals like Time, Newsweek, and National Geographic have devoted entire issues to our beloved plant.  This is the golden age of marijuana, and cannabis types are polishing their acts and going Hollywood. High Times editor Rick Cusick recently joined up with Whoopi Goldberg in a commercial effort to create a pot-infused PMS products.  Top professional athletes like former NBA All-Star “Uncle Spliffy” Cliff Robinson are joining longtime stoner celebrities Tommy Chong and Willie Nelson in creating their own line of legal cannabis products.

Uncle Spliffy Cliff Robinson at MJBA Portland

Uncle Spliffy Cliff Robinson at MJBA Portland

At the April meetup of the Marijuana Business Association in Portland last week, Cliff Robinson told the assembled group of professionals that he had received a huge amount of interest from both media and investors alike since his keynote speech at the Cannabis Collaborative Conference in February.  The topic of sports cannabis and the power of sports celebrities will move the marijuana discussion even further into mainstream consciousness. Designer marijuana for athletes is attracting media attention from Spain, Germany, Italy and from around the globe, Uncle Spliffy’s Marc Belsher told MJNN. “Sports Cannabis is an international phenomenon,” he said.

Team Uncle Spliffy at MJBA Portland

Team Uncle Spliffy

Following Team Uncle Spliffy on stage in Portland was Kerri Accardi, a New York filmmaker whose AK Ventures is making history with a prime time television series, “Hmm Did You Know.”  Designed to educate mass America on the healing benefits of medical marijuana, “Medical Cannabis: The Healing Power Of Knowledge” will be a half-hour news magazine series featuring prominent voices from the cannabis industry, including Nurse Heather Manus, activist/entrepreneur John Davis and Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, along with product placement and sponsorship messages. Initial markets will include Seattle, San Francisco, Miami and Denver, with new markets expected to be released shortly.

“We created the series to inform and educate mainstream TV viewers on cannabis, cannabis healing, and the emerging cannabis industry as a whole,” Accardi told MJNN. “We will featured various topics and interviews with patients and industry notables, topical discussions, politics, investigative journalism, health and sports medicine. We are creating herstory.”

AK Ventures Kerri Accardi takes medical cannabis prime time.

AK Ventures Kerri Accardi takes medical cannabis prime time.

 

 

The Wink In Weed: Leap Day Cannabis Industry Report

By David Rheins

Happy Leap Day.  The last two weeks of February have been such a whirlwind of hyperactivity for myself and Team MJBA that I need the extra day to tell you all about it.

On February 17th, MJBA Seattle presented, “Managing Your 502 Business,” a two-hour business boot camp designed to provide Washington’s licensed cannabis companies with “must have” information and best practices.  Sponsored by NWMJ Law, the professional education seminar featured presentations from top industry authorities, including Act Resources, Dani Espinda; Mosaic Insurance’s Norm Ives; business coach Debbie Whitlock and NWMJ Law’s Anne Van Leynseele.

The entire event was recorded, and can be viewed on MJChannelOne:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68iRB9vebNQ&w=420&h=315]

The very next day, Team MJBA packed up our tent and made our way down to Seattle’s Pier 91 for CannaCon.  The three-day event, February 18th, 19th and 20th, has become a keystone event for MJBA/MJBA Women’s Alliance, one where we participate as exhibitor, and media sponsor.  This year, both Morgan and I were featured speakers,  I had the honor to moderate 10 panels, and conduct a host of 1:1 taped interviews with CannaCon speakers, exhibitors and other industry leaders (special thank you to Darin Bruce and his AV team).

BDS CEO Roy Bingham delivered a keynote at CannaCon

BDS CEO Roy Bingham delivered a keynote at CannaCon

This was MJBA’s fourth CannaCon and I could not help but be struck by both how large and professional the industry and “the business of cannabis” show has become.   Everyone who is anyone in cannabis was present: Washington’s top cannabis regulators came out to participate as panelists, including WSLCB Director Rick Garza, WSDH’s Kristi Weeks, and the WSDA’s Steve Fuller.  This year’s panelists include a very diverse representation from the broad tent of our cannabis community, including long-time activists like Cat Jeter, Kristin Flor, Don E Wirtshafter and Vivian McPeak; legendary growers like Ed Rosenthal, Kyle Kushman and Farmer Tom Lauerman; media personalities like Katherine Grimm and Cheryl Shuman, and a host of power women in cannabis, including Eden Lab’s AC Braddock, Seattle Hempfest’s Sharon Whitson, Washington’s Finest Cannabis founder Crystal Oliver, Cannabis Basic’s Ah Warner, Kush Creams’ Megan Schwarting, and Washington Bud Company’s Shawn DeNae.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_ewkwNh5kc&w=420&h=315]

On Thursday, February 25th, MJBA Spokane held its February Meetup at a new venue, The Black Diamond.  Jon Legualt, Belladonna Growhouse, was our host and a featured presenter. He shared the stage with Washington’s Finest Crystal Oliver, who updated the group on what’s happening with Spokane’s Clean Air regulations and how they are impacting Eastern Washington producer/processors, and Kevin Oliver, executive director of Washington NORML, who gave the group a report from the legislative fronts in Olympia and Washington D.C.  Front Runner ceo Brian Yauger unveiled his latest offering, MJTicker.com, a real-time business intelligence portal designed especially for participants in the legal cannabis industry.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hy5YgjDTntE&w=420&h=315]

And finally, to close out the month, MJBA New York is hosting a Leap Year Happy Hour at Manhattan’s swanky Gansevoort Hotel. Hosted by MJBA NY’s Stu Zakim and Paul Abramson, the evening of information, community and opportunity takes place at the ultra-hip hotel, located at 420 Park Avenue!

Coming up next: MJBA Portland hosts a special Meetup: “Game On: The Business of Cannabis and Sports,” Wednesday, March 2nd at the On Deck Sports bar.  Sponsored by CannaGuard Security, the event will feature opening remarks by NBA All-Star turned cannabis entrepreneur Cliff Robinson, who’ll debut his new “Uncle Spliffy” brand.  Then an industry panel will discuss the many business opportunites that exist at the intersection of sports and cannabis.  VIP Panelists include Uncle Spliffy’s Linda Miller, Siverback Advisory Groups’ Marc Belsher, and Fore-Twenty Golf’s Matt Enos.

Reserve your spot for this historic discussion here:

 

MJBA Portland Hosts “Game On: The Business of Sports and Cannabis” Panel 3/2/16

OREGON: At last month’s Cannabis Collaborative Conference in Portland, NBA All-Star Cliff Robinson announced the creation of his cannabis brand, “Uncle Spliffy.”  The announcement garnered a tremendous among of media attention, and served to highlight the many intersections between sports and cannabis.

On Wednesday, March 2nd, 6-8:30PM at On Deck Sports Bar in Portland, Oregon, the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) will host a panel discussion, “Game On: The Business of Sports and Cannabis.”  Sponsored by CannaGuard Security,  the professional education event will explore the many business opportunities that are manifesting around the intersection of sports and cannabis, including celebrity endorsements; cannabis as a performance enhancement; cannabis as part of a natural, healthy lifestyle; and medical marijuana as sports medicine.

NBA All-Star Cliff Robinson will kick off “Game On: The Business of Sports and Cannabis”  by debuting his “Uncle Spliffy” cannabis brand. Then MJBA Founder David Rheins will moderate a VIP Panel discussion featuring Uncle Spliffy’s Linda MillerMatt Enos, Fore Twenty Golf, Marc Belsher, Silverback Advisory Group; and College football coach turned cannabis technologist Brian Yauger, Front Runner as we discuss exciting business opportunities that are manifesting at the intersection of sports and cannabis.

MJBA Professional Education Seminars are well known for bringing together top players in from the cannabis industry, for the sharing of reliable, actionable business intelligence.

 

Wink-In-Weed: Cannabis Collaboration, Fun and Games

By David Rheins

This week’s column is dedicated to the importance of collaboration, fun and games in the cannabis industry.  Now for me, marijuana has always been experiential –  a mind expanding, humor producing, cosmic giggling good time. Long before it was medicine or big business, pot was fun.  Our cannabis counter-culture has morphed into legal industry, and our local community is evolving into broader coalitions: disparate factions all working together towards a common goal of raising the awareness and acceptance of the political, medical and commercial possibilities that the end of prohibition brings.

Moderating the ancillary businesses panel at CCC

Moderating the ancillary businesses panel at CCC

At canna-gatherings great and small, collaboration is taking center stage. So much so that CCC (formerly Cannabis Creative Conference) changed the name of last week’s trade show in Portland to ‘Cannabis Collaborative Conference.”  There,  at the Portland Expo Center, straight-laced regulators from the OLCC joined former-NBA basketball stars turned pot-entrepreneurs, wonky economists and well-heeled canna-technologists in emphasizing the possibilities that are possible for the new industry if we can only learn to work together cooperatively.

NBA Star Cliff Robinson, aka "Uncle Spliffy" delivers keynote at CCC 2016 in Portland, February 4, 2016.

NBA Star Cliff Robinson, aka “Uncle Spliffy” delivers keynote at CCC 2016 in Portland, February 4, 2016.

Working and playing together. Participating at cannabis industry events — as speaker, panelist, exhibitor or attendee —  while certainly not all ‘fun and games’, does mean being a part of a small, tight-knit collegial community.  One tends to see a lot of the same faces on the cannabis trade show circuit.  As a rule, most of us truly like being with each other, commonly greet each other with hugs and kisses, and frequently sneak off together to share a toke and a smile.

Farmer Tom Lauerman and friends

Farmer Tom Lauerman and friends

Cannabis is a community sacrament that leads to shared activities. Cannabis is a business and social lubricant, and an enhancement to our favorite activities. Forget Coca-Cola, things go better with cannabis: nature, sports, sex, music, video, and games.

Speaking of fun and games, imagine my delight when I arrived back in Seattle to find two separate packages on my doorstop: both cannabis games!   Now that pot is legal to purchase and consume for adults in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and DC, a consumer demand is quickly developing for “things to enjoy while legally high.”  One new product seeking to fill that need is ‘Cannabis The Card Game’, from Weed Games. Cannabis TCG is a fill-in-the blank Q&A card game designed to be fun and educational.   “After consuming Cannabis, lab mice are known to begin______.”  teases one card.

Now that pot is legal in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and DC, a burgeoning cannabis consumer demand is developing for things to enjoy while legally high!

Now that pot is legal in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and DC, a burgeoning cannabis consumer demand is developing for things to enjoy while legally high!

To play ‘Cannabis The Card Game’, you’ll need your own legal cannabis, rolling papers (included with the game)/ blunt wraps, a bong/pipe or vaporizer, munchies, a grinder or all of the above!  Add paper and pen if you are attempting to keep score (completely unnecessary).

In a separate package I uncover another addition to the canna-games category, ‘Roll a Bong’, a board game dedicated to the community of marijuana smokers, who enjoy smoking while playing board games.  Billed as a “rolling and smoking game for the whole joint,” all players are encourage to contribute weed to the “Community Dish” at the start of the game.

‘Roll a Bong’, a board game dedicated to the community of marijuana smokers, who enjoy smoking while playing board games.

‘Roll a Bong’, a board game dedicated to the community of marijuana smokers, who enjoy smoking while playing board games.

Things to do in Oregon when you’re stoned: Both of these pot-smoker games would find an ideal home at Portland’s NW Cannabis Club, which I had the pleasure of visiting last Tuesday before the CCC show.  The members-only private club offers daily, monthly and annual memberships (beginning at $10/visit). Membership entitles you access to the expansive club room, the dab bar, where you are welcome to use their dab rigs, and a very cool landscaped outdoor patio area, complete with fire pit and local art installations.

The members-only private club offers daily, monthly and annual memberships (beginning at $10/visit).

The members-only private club offers daily, monthly and annual memberships (beginning at $10/visit).

MMJ activist Don Skakie has found a second home at the club, traveling regularly from his home in Renton, Washington since most of his local mmj farmer’s markets have shut down.  He summed it up his love of community for me while we were enjoying the crisp February night air, “Some people collect antiques, but for me this is a hobby. Whenever I can, I like to get together with my cannabis family and just hang out.”