Seattle Hempfest Threatened With Extinction By Travel Giant Expedia’s Denial Of Access

Last minute denial of service road expected to negatively impact “Protestival”

WASHINGTON: “The Seattle Hempfest is taking place this year but with an extreme burden that will be disruptive to waterfront businesses and locals in the area. Hempfest has made good faith efforts to negotiate solutions, but even the most modest accommodation has been rejected by Expedia and the Port of Seattle,” says Seattle Hempfest director, Vivian McPeak.

“Forty-five days before the event, Expedia informed us via the Port of Seattle that they are not allowing Hempfest access to the road it has used for 25 years to bring supply vehicles, vendors, and staff into the back of the event. Expedia is blocking access because they say Hempfest will interfere with their construction and employee vehicle traffic for a few days,” he continues. “First Expedia took away all of Hempfest’s parking, now they are declining access for its production.

 

Seattle Hempfest

This last-minute denial is costing Seattle Hempfest thousands of dollars in extra fees and is creating a logistical nightmare likely to lead to unnecessary traffic snarls on a major arterial along and near the central waterfront.” Over 100,000 attendees are expected at the August 16, 17, 18 Seattle Special Event, now in its 28th year, and the 25th year at its current venue, Myrtle Edwards and Centennial Parks.

Expedia’s denial of access may jeopardize the future of this historic event. “Expedia purchased the former Amgen facility that is adjacent to Centennial Park and is undergoing a massive development project. Seattle residents have been severely impacted by the recent relocation to the city by giant tech companies, threatening the city’s culture, history, and historic buildings as gentrification and congestion runs rampant across the city,” says McPeak. “Expedia is apparently willing to end Hempfest rather than endure a few days of temporary inconvenience.”

At Expedia’s bidding, the Port of Seattle, which issues a permit for Hempfest to use Centennial Park, is only granting Hempfest use of the north service road Alaska Way West between the hours of 7 PM and 4 AM ―impossible hours to load event equipment such as staging, fencing, scaffolding, portable toilets, tent canopies, and wash stations in and out of the venue. Even the most meager requests, such as a few band parking spots, have been ignored by Expedia.

Organizers believe Expedia is working to end the world-renowned free speech event.  Hempfest supporters have created a MoveOn.org boycott petition.

The Wink In Weed: The Road To Oklahoma Hempfest

By David Rheins 

OKLAHOMA: You know the winds of progress are blowing in your favor when you find yourself making plans to head to Oklahoma City for a cannabis festival.

The Road to Oklahoma Hempfest begins this weekend, as the first of three events heralding in a new era for the Sooner state.   A licensed and approved spinoff of Seattle Hempfest, The event will provide a forum and rallying point for participants in the nascent medical cannabis and industrial hemp communities;  a gathering place for sharing information, conducting education and coordinating efforts for the November elections, where adult-use cannabis is on the ballot.

Tickets are FREE to the historic event, which begins at 9am at the Sheraton Reed Convention center in Midwest city. Featured speakers at the Hemposium include many seminal figures — including Connie Johnson, Oklahoma State Senator and Cannabis Advocate, Seattle Hempfest’s Sharon Whitson and Vivian McPeak, Patrick Saint, Twenty22Many Foundation, and Grandma Cat Jeter. The Marijuana Business Association is proud media sponsor for Oklahoma Hempfest, and MJBA founder/executive director David Rheins is a featured speaker.

The Hemposium programming starts at 9AM and will go until 4PM.

  • Oklahoma Hempfest

Speakers List for “The Road to Hempfest”
Connie Johnson – Oklahoma State Senator and Cannabis Advocate
Terri Leek – CEO/Founder Pure Hemp Collective
Victoria Huggins – Studio 89 Massage – Advance Massage
Patrick Saint – Founder of Twenty22Many Foundation
Cat Jeter – Cannabis Activist centered on children
Vivian McPeak – Director of Seattle Hempfest
Sharon Whitson – Operating manager of Hempfest Central
Chad Bibler – Hemp advocate and social media activist called the Hemp Father
Timothy Edwards – Founder of Cannabis Saves Lives
David Rheins – Founder of Marijuana Business Association
Brandi Bibler – Hemp Advocate
Lenny Vanhorn – Comedian and Cannabis Activist
Rusty Shackelford – Cannabis Activist after injury
Mark Hubbard – Industrial Hemp Expert
Norma Sapp – Oklahoma NORML

Oklahoma native Scott McKinley — CEO of HiTunes and a longtime promoter at Seattle Hempfest, Cavi Gold and many other canna events — and his local partners have tapped into a lifetime of connections and personal contacts to make this historic series of events a reality.  In support from Seattle Hempfest, the team worked tirelessly to muster talent, sponsors, vendors and political support — in the midst of the legal wrangling around medical marijuana — needed to make this first Hempfest possible.  It wasn’t easy, and due to the magnitude and overwhelming response from the public, the organizers decided to move the initial main event date back to June 7th – 9th, 2019.

Why is this Hempfest such a big deal?  Oklahoma represents the bedrock of the conservative Midwest, and is culturally as far from the liberal West Coast as you can get.  When legal cannabis comes to Oklahoma, it has arrived in the front yard of middle America. We are witnessing the mainstreaming of marijuana in real time.

Legally, Oklahoma has never been a canna-friendly place, and even with the new medical cannabis laws passed this summer, and adult-use legalization on the November ballot, the Sooner State maintains some of the harshest penalties for possession, cultivation and sale on the books — especially when it comes to concentrates and hash. The War on Drugs remains very real here, and prohibition continues to ruin lives.

Oklahoma Cannabis Laws, according to NORML:

  • Possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor with a term of imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000
  • The sale of less than 25 pounds is a felony, punishable by incarceration for a period of 2 years-life, as well as a fine of $20,000.
  • Cultivating up to 1,000 plants is a felony, punishable by a maximum $25,000 fine and between 20 years and life imprisonment.
  • Cultivation of marijuana by the owner of land is a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment between 2 years and life and a fine up to 50,000.
  • Converting or attempting to convert marijuana into hashish or concentrates is a felony punishable by a fine no greater than $50,000 and a term of imprisonment no less than 2 and up to remainder of the offender’s life
  • Distributing, dispensing, transporting with intent to distribute, possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, hashish or concentrates is a felony punishable by a fine no greater than $20,000 and a term of imprisonment no less than 2 years and up to the remainder of the offender’s life.

Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Law:

  • Those possessing a state-issued license may possess the following: up to eight ounces of marijuana in their residence; up to one ounce of concentrated marijuana; up to 72 ounces of edible marijuana; up to six mature marijuana plants; up to six seedling plants; and up to three ounces of marijuana on their person. Those who do not possess a license face a fine-only misdemeanor for the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of herbal cannabis.

Demand for legal medical cannabis from the public has been strong, as more than 1,600 people and businesses applied for Oklahoma medical marijuana licenses on the first day that applications were made available, according to ABC News

Tickets to The Road To Oklahoma Hempfest are FREE, and available online.

 

 

 

DJ Snoopadelic and Kokane Headline Oklahoma Hempfest September 7-9th

NEW DATES. OKLAHOMA HEMPFEST RESCHEDULED:  Oklahoma Hempfest Rescheduled; New Dates June 7, 8 & 9th 2019

By Scott McKinley

Who could imagine Oklahoma going for Medical Cannabis?  After the state just claimed the crown for most incarcerations,  the people have truly spoken with this one.

Being an 8-year member of Seattle Hempfest, I know the power of a “Protestival” done right. This will be my third year of sponsoring a stage in Seattle and networking with all the entrepreneurs to make the 3-day event happen, and so naturally I decided it would be a perfect timing idea to bring the official Hempfest to my home state of Oklahoma.  With the teachers all at strike and a good portion of the proceeds going to them, I banked on state question 788 to pass.

I flew in to my home state of Oklahoma to meet with the group who created Rocklahoma to begin the planning. For public and political support, we flew in Seattle City A Attorney Pete Holmes,  Seattle Hempfest’s Vivian McPeak, Patrick Saint from the Twenty22 Many Foundation, and Ashley Heddy the head of traceability training from BiotrackTHC.

We had a panel set up by Senator and gubernatorial candidate Connie Johnson.   We toured the venue Lost Lakes, and fell in love with the layout. It’s the perfect place.  I put all the pieces together and presented the idea.  Along the way, I had many partners and friends say I was wasting my time because Oklahoma would never legalize.  I reached out to Snoop Dogg’s camp, as I had worked with him in the past, and he had the dates — September 7-9 — open.

All the pieces have come together.  We lined up the investors, the venue, the state, and the artists —  all while awaiting the vote.  So you asked for it, Oklahoma, and you will get it:  the first annual Oklahoma Hempfest headlined by DJ Snoopadelic, and the Legendary Kokane — the most featured artist in the world. — with 3 days and 4 stages of artists and speakers.  In the tradition of Seattle Hempfest, this will be a free to the public event and will have speakers in between each artist performing on all stages.  Stay tuned for more details!

Cannabis Ambassador-At-Large: Marching For Freedom In Legal Seattle

By Jake The Professor

Spring has finally arrived in Seattle, and the locals are beginning to come out from their winter roosts.  The Cinco de Mayo Weekend was the unofficial kick off of the summer season, with lots of local festivities, including the Seattle Cannabis Freedom March — very important to many of us in the cannabis community. 

Melissa Hysom, longtime medical cannabis activist and organizer of the Cannabis Freedom March, works tirelessly to organize this yearly iconic event. Activists from across the country travel to the Emerald City each year to march in support of cannabis legalization.

Many people in the cannabis industry aren't aware of the real struggles of how we got to where we are today.

Many people in the cannabis industry aren’t aware of the real struggles of how we got to where we are today.

Outsiders may look at ‘legal’ Seattle wonder why we are still marching. Many aren’t aware of the real struggles that continue today.  I was pleased to have been asked to speak at this year’s event — and had the pleasure of following my very good friends and mentors, Vivian McPeak and John Davis.

I wasn’t nervous, as I speak to smaller groups each day at Diego Pellicer, as part of my role as greeter and spokesperson for the popular cannabis shop in Seattle and as  I lead Seattle Cannabis tour groups with Leila Ali, Tour Director at Kush Tours.

2018 Seattle Cannabis Freedom March Lineup

2018 Seattle Cannabis Freedom March Lineup

People from all over the world come to Jake the Professor to learn about cannabis. I make a point to tell my audience about the medicinal uses for cannabis, and relish the opportunity to demystify some myths they might have about cannabis.

I ask visitors to return to their state and tell their friends about what the hippie in Seattle taught them about Cannabis. 

jake from behind

The Cannabis Freedom March is much the same, but bigger, and more dramatic. This yearly march was lead by some of the youngest activists in our community –Seattle Hempfest Volunteer, Morgan Davis and her friend Alyssa carried the traditional Freedom March banner.  Morgan is the daughter of longtime activist and entrepreneur John Davis, and truly represents the future of our movement and our community.

image2-1

As I took the podium, I wanted my message to be simple and close to my heart.  I spoke about the need for unity in our industry. We sometimes forget that we all share the same struggles. Many of us do the exact same job as our competitors.  Our companies share similar ambitions, goals and visions for a legal, profitable future. With all that shared positivity, there really isn’t any need or space to speak negative about our competition.

This industry is growing at a much faster rate than when John Davis and I began Northwest Patient Resource Center (NWPRC) in 2011. Back then, as it is now, we learned the necessity of working together and not working against one another.  Now is a very sensitive time, we all need to come together as an industry with a unified message. We must stand for quality — quality products prepared by quality individuals.

Jake the Professor Weekend Unlimited-1As entrepreneurs we are driven to create the best products with integrity, with a sense of sustainability and accomplishment. Negative output about our competitors only distract us from being our best. The market will weed (no pun intended) out the companies and individuals who do not adhere to these principles.

I closed my speech by recognizing my mentors: Vivian McPeak, a good friend and Director of Seattle Hempfest, and John Davis — two better friends you could not find. I thanked them for championing my career, and helping me along the way.  

image1-1

I implored my audience not to spend time pointing out the problems of competitors.  The market will seek its own level. Those that offer less than what the market demands will go out of business naturally. They won’t need help from us to bring them down. They are already working hard at that. 

Perhaps the next time we find a crappy product or lousy gram of weed, we don’t write a three page review on Leafly of Facebook. Just scroll up!  You should be too busy creating your own dreams, anyway.  

Just be kind. Play nice with one another. All of us in the cannabis industry share the same struggles: struggles with LCB, struggles with partners, even struggles with employees. This business isn’t for everyone. Some companies will learn this in due time. 

Be patient. ‘Scroll up’ if you don’t like something, and ‘like and share’ if you do.  It brings out your best and puts you back on top! 

Seattle Hempfest and Las Vegas Hemp Festival End Franchise Agreement

WASHINGTONAfter a three year licensing partnership, the Seattle HEMPFEST and the Las Vegas Hemp Festival have come to a mutual agreement to terminate the Las Vegas Hempfest co-branding, according to a news release issued by the Seattle-based non-profit.

Established in 1991, the Seattle Hempfest is the largest annual cannabis related event, drawing an annual attendance of over 100,000. The company owns a federal copyright on the term HEMPFEST, and had contracted with the Las Vegas HEMPFEST to use the name in a licensing agreement in an effort to increase brand awareness and reach. After a three year run both organizations have mutually agreed to part ways, with the Las Vegas HEMPFEST assuming a different event name of Las Vegas Hemp Festival.

“We wish the Vegas event much success, and we support all responsible cannabis reform events and social gatherings”, says Vivian McPeak, the executive director of Seattle’s flagship cannabis culture event. “The two organizations have a differing vision of what a traditional “Hempfest” event should be, so we have amicably dissolved the licensing relationship to allow Las Vegas event to follow its vision unhindered by the contractual agreements,” continued McPeak.

Other HEMPFEST licensed events are still taking place, including the Boise HEMPFEST (4/15/17), the Oregon HEMPFEST (June 23,24,25, Roseburg, Oregon), Alaska HEMPFEST (June 23, 24, 25 Houston, AK)the Austin HEMPFEST (October of 2017), among others.

For information about the Seattle HEMPFEST, HEMPFEST licensing, and other events, go to: http://www.hempfest.org/festival/licensed-events/

The Seattle HEMPFEST is one of the most socially responsible cannabis related events in the world. The Seattle HEMPFEST licensing model includes what the organization considers “community values” components, which include:

Voter registration (Our Voter Reg Crew has registered over 5,000 Washingtonians to vote since 2004). Responsible Messaging that targets policies not personalities, and refrains from personal attacks against anyone. As well as Lost and Found, First Aid services, Water availability, ADA access, neighborhood stakeholder outreach and diplomacy, extensive sanitation and clean-up efforts, an internal trained Safety Patrol, and positive relations with local law enforcement.

The Seattle HEMPFEST is produced by Seattle Events a Non-Profit Corporation, a federal non-profit organization, and the event utilizes as many as 1,000 volunteers annually, and costs $750,000 to produce. Info on the 2017 platform, event history, economic impact study, published media, and community values distinctions can be found here

Set The Truth Free – Cannabis Science Now!

By Vivian McPeak

WASHINGTON: Before cannabis was prohibited in the early 20th century, it was one of the most widely prescribed botanical medicines in the pharmacopeia. Its safety has been supported by the fact that humans have used it therapeutically for thousands of years. Not content with just prohibiting the sale, manufacture, & use of cannabis, the United States government has also prevented scientific research from being conducted on any promising aspects of cannabis for many decades.

Despite prohibitionist restrictions, some science has taken place albeit primarily via the National Institute on Drug Abuse, where research is limited to harmful effects of the drug on the brain and body. Despite this research bias, there is still a large body of work supporting that cannabis has significant therapeutic potential. Research bias in the United States has prevented many people from receiving the benefit of reduced suffering in untreatable disease as well as the potential for actual treatment for a wide range of diseases.

Relief delayed and obstructed?

In America and beyond, there are many children and adults suffering from a host of neurological, autoimmune and degenerative diseases such as autism spectrum, epilepsies, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Conventional medicine and pharmaceutical products have little to offer these patients while cannabis has the potential to provide effective treatment and/or relief. This year the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) said in a new position statement that cannabis “may be useful in treating some illnesses of the brain and nervous system” and called on the federal government to allow research to happen.

Both child and adult athletes often suffer traumatic injuries to the head and brain. Cannabinoids are the only compounds that have been identified as potential neuro-protectant and anti-inflammatory agents. They have shown potential in animal models that mimic traumatic brain injury for preventing further damage and accelerating healing, and even grow new brain cells.

An average of 22 U.S. veterans commit suicide each and every day. Cannabis, as a whole plant medicine, has shown potential in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), pain, and depression, all common disorders veterans experience after discharge. Soldiers suffering from combat related injuries all over the world could benefit from cannabis as medicine.

A Cannabis Use Survey has revealed that anxiety and depression are third in the list of conditions for which patients self-treat with cannabis in Washington State. In fact, one in 10 Americans now takes an antidepressant medication, some of which have shown potential catastrophic side effects. Cannabis is safe and non-toxic, and has promise in treating both anxiety and depression without intolerable side-effects.

America’s baby boomers are aging, and ground breaking research in Israel, where scientific study on cannabis is allowed, indicates that cannabis has great promise in the treatment of dementia. Israel’s ministry of health licensed 10,000 patients to use cannabis medicinally and has sanctioned more than a dozen studies to treat dementia as well as illnesses like Crohn’s disease, PTSD, pain, and even cancer.

Much of American research is focused on cost-prohibitive, potentially addictive, pharmaceutical drugs that have unknown long-term effects. Nearly seven out of 10 Americans were prescribed at least one drug in 2009, and half were given two or more, according to new research from the Mayo Clinic. Prescription medicine has progressed at unprecedented levels, while consumers are trending back toward natural and botanical medicines, such as cannabis.

Sixty percent of the 38,329 people who died of a drug overdose in the U.S. in 2010 died taking prescription drugs. Three out of four of those deaths were caused by opioid analgesics, according to estimates from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates that 15,000 people die every year in this country from overdoses involving opioid or narcotic pain relievers alone, although that number is likely higher.

Cannabis is known to work wonderfully for pain management. Additionally cannabis has never killed a single person from overdose or toxic reaction, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. In the 13 states that passed laws allowing for the use of medical marijuana between 1999 and 2010, 25 percent fewer people die from opioid overdoses annually.

Science lags behind public awareness

In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported, “Nausea, appetite loss, pain, and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting, and all can be mitigated by marijuana.” It is impossible to truly gauge how much needless suffering may have been prevented if scientific study of cannabis would have been allowed these last decades. Scientific prohibition has likely cost many lives, as well as quality of life, by thwarting scientific advancement on several fronts.

In January of 2014 President Obama publicly declared that cannabis is no more dangerous than alcohol. In a historic recent development, Congress has prevented federal intervention in states that have legalized medical cannabis.

A clear majority of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana. Now that things are changing dramatically in public policy, it is time to the set the truth free.

It is now time for the DEA to de-schedule cannabis once and for all so the plant can legitimately join the American Herbal Pharmacopeia with its botanical counterparts. This move would enable clinical trials of locally-accessed products, not just government-grown pot. How has Israel advanced light years ahead of the United States when it comes to cannabis research? How can we miss this opportunity for a homegrown, American-made, sustainable industry that could do public good while revitalizing our stumbling economy?

Hemp is on the way

But that’s not all. In addition to the medicinal research of cannabis that needs to take place there is also the gargantuan economic and environmental potential offered by the domestic production of industrial hemp. Cannabis prohibition has also prevented innovation and advancement in the U.S. industrial hemp industry merely because hemp looks like intoxicating “marijuana.”

The potential that hempcrete, hemp bio-composites, hemp fiber board, hemp seed oil, hemp foods, textiles, paper, and other industrial, environmental and agricultural applications that the cannabis genus offers are almost incalculable. Research and development must take place in the industrial hemp industries as well, particularly so that America can catch up to the other developed countries that possess the varieties that meet current, and in many cases, sophisticated market demands. And hemp is the future in ways we never imagined! There have been amazing discoveries in the last year that hemp cellulose is superior to graphene and ideal for 3D-printing, super-capacitors and nanotechnology.

America is already the largest importer of industrial hemp products in the entire world, importing over $58 million in 2013/2014, and importing 90% of all hemp seed grain and oil being harvested and produced in Canada. Industrial hemp is literally a biospheric sponge, soaking up and converting carbon dioxide, while its long tap roots help maintain moisture and are phenomenal erosion controllers. However, industrial hemp continues to be lumped in with intoxicating “marijuana” by the federal government, impeding research and development, while industrial hemp could potentially produce as many new jobs as The New Deal.

Historic federal legislation was signed into law in early 2014 that allows for research and pilot plots in states where hemp is legal, and subsequent law was passed precluding federal intervention in legal hemp states acting in accordance with the federal research and pilot plot requirements. Yet only two states have thus far taken advantage of this right, and Washington isn’t one of them.

Final note

Finally, with recreational retail outlets opening up in at least four states it is even more important for critical health and safety research to take place concerning cannabis and its use. Public safety demands it.

It is time for the DEA or Congress to de-schedule cannabis entirely (just like alcohol and tobacco, both of which are known killers) and treat it like other botanical medicines by allowing the scientific community to examine the cannabis plant in every way possible. Fear of knowledge is an anathema to the American way, and an impediment to compassionate, informed public health, economic and social policy. How can a government that is afraid of the truth govern in the best interests of its citizenry?

Lastly, as a biotech state with progressive marijuana policies, Washington could benefit from research funding if government obstacles were not in impeding of research.

It is time to let the truth free. We need cannabis science, now!

 

– By Vivian McPeak, Dr. Michelle Sexton, Dr. Michele Ross, Joy Beckerman

Seattle Hempfest Merges Planned Business Show Into its “Protestival”

WASHINGTON: In response to the addition of the Seattle Waterslide on Mercer street, and market demand for a less fragmented cannabis event map & schedule, Seattle Hempfest has decided to merge its Business offer with its already successful Protestival, and new Business Mixer at the Space Needle Skyline Level.

“Business Sponsors & Exhibitors will be featured at our ‘Protestival’, where the larger community & audience will be at its peak, and more private Business discussions will be accommodated at our Business Mixer to provide the best Business experience to our partners,” says Vivian McPeak, Seattle Hempfest’s executive director.

“The new Seattle Waterslide on Mercer street limits access to the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, on the same day of the Hempfest Business event; at the same time, feedback from event participants and the broader cannabis industry shows a demand for a less fragmented event map and schedule, especially given the saturation of cannabis related business expos in our region”, McPeak continued.

“Nobody wants to be isolated in a hard to reach area while everybody else is partying a few blocks away, so we decided to maximize our business partners reach & experience by relocating the Exhibition Hall activities to our existing and successful Protestival, and our new dedicated Business Mixer at the skyline level of the Seattle Space Needle. This should make the whole experience better for businesses and attendees alike: the big trade show with massive audience at the festival, and the dedicated business talks and networking at the Mixer.”

Vending, sponsorship, and volunteer opportunities are still available, and more information can be found at hempfest.org

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.

 

Pot Politics And The Power Of The Purse

Politics is the reflex of the business and industrial world.

Emma Goldman

By David Rheins

All of us working in the legal cannabis industry owe a great debt to the selfless sacrifice of the many political activists who came before us.  Generations have stood up, protested, gotten arrested and worse over these many decades in a struggle to end the federal prohibition of our beloved plant.  Without the efforts of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and the grassroots efforts of groups like Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and Seattle Hempfest, there would be no legal marijuana industry – medical or recreational – in this country, and certainly no Marijuana Business Association (MJBA).

Today, a second phase of the marijuana reform movement is beginning – one propelled by the massive economic and social power of the fastest growing industry in the country, and driven by a new crop of canna-business leaders who are knitting together the fabric of post-prohibition America faster than anyone could have predicted.

The power of the purse magnified by the resonance of digital and social media is normalizing once verboten cannabis use in America. Pot Smoking Presidents, epileptic children and marijuana moms have all contributed to the process. Yesterday’s radical has adopted new rules and morphed into today’s business pioneer. Reflecting this change, NORML has unveiled a business partnership program, Seattle Hempfest has added its own business summit to this year’s venerated music and free speech festival, and even right-wing business magazine Forbes has launched a pot blog.

Prohibition was always political. Pot smokers were – and in many places remain – outlaws.  Yippie! founder Abbie Hoffman once declared that “Every time I smoke pot it is a revolutionary act.”

It wasn’t until the 1990s that medical cannabis and patient’s rights began carrying the heavy water for the reform movement.  Compassion for dying AIDS patients drove the establishment of those first California MMJ regulations, and today children with seizure disorders and soldiers with PTSD continue to sway public opinion.  With nearly half of the United States having some form of medical marijuana law on the books and poll after poll showing the majority of us favor the legalization of cannabis for medical use, it is clear that some sort of national tipping point has been surpassed.  Just last week, a bi-partisan effort from Senators Cory Booker, Rand Paul and Kirsten Gillibrand to reschedule cannabis at the federal level was introduced to Congress.

Still, MMJ patients represent only a fraction of the Americans who use cannabis, and our prisons and unemployment ranks are filled to overflowing with the economic victims of the failed “War on Drugs,” a disproportionate number of whom are black and brown.

Capitalizing on pot’s refurbished image, voter initiatives in four states have made the production and sale of recreational marijuana legal, and several more including massive California and lucrative Nevada are poised to join them in 2016. It doesn’t take a weatherman to know that Federal Prohibition has blown its course.   With $700 million dollars in cannabis sales in Colorado in 2014; another $100 million in sales to date in Washington – a new chapter in American society is being written, and anyone answering the call to become a participant in the new legal cannabis industry is both a pioneer and a revolutionary.

While here in Washington, laws are being hammered out that seek to bring the state’s unregulated medical marijuana system and I-502 recreational marijuana industry together, a larger war for the hearts and minds of the public at large is being waged in the great marketplace of ideas.  Once our drug laws have been rewritten, the long process of the normalization of cannabis and cannabis users into the fabric of the culture and society begins. Each of us involved in the industry serves as an ambassador and a representative of this brave new world, and as such we must comport ourselves with the highest professional standards.

At the MJBA, we believe that through the establishment of a legitimate, profitable regulated industry – one that generates living-wage jobs, ample tax revenues and renewed economic activity – we can reintegrate disenfranchised citizens back into the mainstream workforce and reinvigorate our local communities.

The Marijuana Business Association serves its membership – licensed producers, processors, retailers and the many professional service companies who support them – by providing the digital and physical environments where our emerging business community can gather to share information, network and explore opportunity.  Members rely upon the MJBA for:

  • Business Intelligence – MJBA’s extensive network of targeted web sites, e-letters, publications and MJ Research programs keep track of a dynamic marketplace
  • Community and Networking  – MJBA monthly meetups and our many professional education seminars, Vendor Fairs and Job Fairs across Washington, Colorado and Oregon, bring together the industry’s leading players
  • Commercial Opportunity  – MJBA members rely on member referrals, lead generation and affinity programs to grow their businesses

The MJBA Women’s Alliance provides a unique platform for industry thought leaders to convene around issues particular to women in cannabis.  Past event speakers have included activists LEAP’s Diane Wattles Goldstein, Ladybud’s Diane Fornbacher, SSDP’s Betty Aldworth, Washington Bud Company’s Shawn DeNae and Cannabis Basics’ Ah Warner.  On March 25th, MJBA Women’s Alliance will host, “The Power of Politics” – an evening of insights on how Washington cannabis laws are changing, who’s changing them, and how you can influence the outcome to benefit your business.

These are exciting times. Scary, uncertain, fluid times.  I would encourage you all as you face these unprecedented pressures to remain positive and focused on working collectively to find solutions that work for all of the community.  As Martin Luther King, Jr once taught us: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Hmm..Did You Know Shifts Perceptions With Rich Media Cannabis Portal

WASHINGTON: Marijuana marketing is coming of age now that legalization is growing both the need and the branding budgets of the cannabis industry’s first crop of pot products.

Cannabis media too is evolving – moving beyond the stereotypical High Times and Cheech & Chong 1970’s sensibility into the modern era of integrated digital marketing.   Meeting the growing need for reliable information — about the laws, the culture, the science and the new cannabis brands —  New York filmmaker Kerri Accardi and her 420MEDIA agency are rolling out a new platform called “Hmm did you know?”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQj0vNGrWXg&w=560&h=315]

In an exclusive interview with MJ News Network, Accardi explains that HDYK will be a visually-inspired rich media web destination designed to serve as a comprehensive source of information, education, and entertainment about cannabis and hemp.   “We are creating an online platform featuring professionally-produced series, commercials, digital media, and integrated marketing. HDYK is a place to see faces of the cannabis industry.”

Accardi came to the industry first as an activist, pursuing a passionate drive to raise the awareness of medical marijuana.  Through project work with several leading dispensaries and an assignment shooting last summer’s Seattle Hempfest,  she developed strong personal connections with pioneers and industry leaders, many of whom have agreed to participate in HDYK, including Hempfest’s Vivian McPeak, CCSE’s John Davis and MJBA’s David Rheins.

“The idea manifested when my Aunt Kathy was sick and I was trying to convince my family that cannabis was medicine,” the Staten Island native told MJNN. “There was no where for to me to show them other than scattered websites that were far and few between.  Grateful and beyond humbled I’m now aligned with pioneers and industry leaders to share education and information on a global level through visual entertainment and media.”

The multi-media platform will focus initial content offerings in five key channels: Healing, Science, Business, Hemp and Organic Growing, with an emphasis on programming that shifts public perceptions shaped by years of propaganda. “HDYK will shift consciousness and change the way people perceive our miracle plant, ” she said. “It will give the industry a place to share their products and information while providing the knowledge to those seeking.”

Advertising opportunities begin as low as $1000, and scale all the way up  $50K primary sponsorship packages.

For more information about getting involved with Hmm Did You Know? Email info@420MEDIA.us; or call (425) 420-0585