By Mike Szymański
Photographs courtesy of Mike Szymański
The one thing about covering WeedCon this past Mardi Gras that stood out is for me is that I was not stoned and practically everybody else there was.
I had many fascinating conversations about cannabis that I didn’t understand, but I learned a lot of things.
Along the way, I received a pair of sunglasses, a T-shirt, some great samples of all kinds, including cannabis-infused chips, candies, juice, and samples of all kinds of edibles, and large, specialized joints.
I also learned about cannabis farm insurance in case your crops fail, a computer program built from the ground up to help weed farmers, and cannabis camping trips.
Overall, I learned that the California cannabis industry — and maybe nationwide — is hurting right now. Business is tough and on the decline for various reasons: the trucking and shipping backlog, the lack of places to distribute because of closures during the pandemic, and larger farms are forcing smaller (and sometimes more high quality) farms to drop out of the business and close up all together.
“There is an epidemic of depression hidden within our culture, we must balance our addiction to consumption and seek creative solutions from a place of joy.” says Joseph Haggard, of Emerald Spirit Botanicals (www.emeraldspiritbotanicals.com) “Cannabis can help us on this journey to find balance within ourselves and our community around us.”
Frizzy-haired Joseph is a part of an impossibly good-looking fresh-faced family that run their own family farm in the mountains of Mendocino County where their family goes back four generations. Their farm boasts the highest THCV flower in California, and they have an Emerald Cup award to prove it.
With his wife and family and Earth Mother Katie Jeane responsible for various jobs on the farm, Joseph says they “are weaving together male and female plants in a very unique way, by honoring the male cannabis plants in their vision quest garden and pollinating the females based on cannabinoid test results as well as plant spirit meditations.”
They do not own a tractor and prepare most of the soil by hand.
“We weave together science and spirit,” Joseph explains, holding a sample of their new popular Pink Boost Goddess. “We listen to the plants and see what comes forward.”
Elsewhere at the conference held in the beautiful grounds of the Thousand Oaks Golf Course, at the Purple Rose Supply (PurpleRoseSupply.com) booth, Jordan Lynes, the associate product developer, demonstrated what a Thai Stick was and how the “Cannagar” became popular during the Vietnam War.
“It’s designed to give a slow-burning, full-flavored roll that is smoother and lasts for hours,” he says.
I was walking the WeedCon with Brian Sebastian of Movie Reviews & More, a show that I’m a frequent co-host of, and he explained, “I don’t smoke, but I know many people who have health issues that get helped by stuff like this.”
I have Multiple Sclerosis and have often been told that marijuana can help ease some of the pain and the symptoms of the disease. For others, it is a way to relieve themselves of the issues of the day. It’s not something I’ve ever felt I needed, nor helped me very much, but I know it has helped others.
Brian asked Jordan at Purple Rose if his rapper friends would like this, and Jordan held up his Thai Stick and recited their slogan, “Smoke Like a Boss.”
An astounding observation is that many of the farms in California are owned and operated by women, such as DewPoint (www.honeydewpoint.com) in Humboldt County. “Our craft cultivation technique combined with pure mountain elements and a hint of sea breeze provides the perfect environment in which to nourish our high-quality cannabis,” says Hannah Joy, the director of internal operations.
The ladies at DewDrops offered a special sample of a cannabis-infused honey lemon lozenge with peppermint, eucalyptus with 5 mg of THC and 5 mg of CBD. It’s specially made to ease the mind and soothe the throat.
Cannabis insurance is a new thing, and insurance companies are loathe to get involved with the industry, but now it’s important since marijuana is legal or soon to become legal in 38 states.
At another booth, Heavenly Sweet (heavenlysweet.com) features their cannabis-infused edibles where they explained the tips they have for using cannabutter (don’t put it in the microwave). Heavenly Sweet has an array of award-winning products including the Cookies & Cream Bar with CBD or the Maui Maui treat with coconut, macadamia nuts and chocolate, and they’re working on a fast-acting Sour Watermelon Gummy. There’s also an exceptional chile lime crackers and cannabis-infused caramel corn.
One of the booths had tables and chairs to sit back in and relax, but the samples on the table, with the boxes and packages were empty, and had nothing in them.
Humid.co (note no m for com) is a family-owned business based in Hawaii that offers all sorts of packaging products for every kind of cannabis creation, and brags that it’s 0% plastic and 100% natural. Their sustainable packaging is “changing the world through packaging.”
The people at the Sun Brand Hemp CBD (www.sunbrandcbd.com) booth talked about the Happy Pet CBD drops and chews I could use for my hyper dogs.
Ceria Brewing Company (ceriabrewing.com) has created a drink with 10 mg of THC and 10 mg of CBD for only 99 calories. They want to make cannabis socially acceptable, and as easy as a beer.
For lunch there’s the vegetarian rice bowl by Chef Mike Moya for $15.
The guys at 818 Fritter (818Brands.com) believe more bowls are better, which is why all of their products are packaged with 4 grams of flower that they say “is hand-trimmed and cured to perfection making 818 Brands an ideal choice for your daily cannabis routine.” It comes in flavors like Gelato, Oreoz, Biscotti and more.
Petrie Alexander Williams, president of the Ojai-based Sun Brand Hemp CBD Health & Wellness products offered a relief rub that contains emu oil. She also has products for pets, things that help sleep and relieve pain and reduce anxiety.
“It’s time to let grandma know that this is not a bad habit,” Petrie says.
There’s a San Francisco-based company called BLAZE that offers software that is built from the ground up to help businesses from seed to sale.
One company offers a camping getaway for cannabis lovers. Sol Spirit Farm’s Judi Nelson, the chief visionary officer, says their earth-conscious cannabis is available on their trip to “combine your love of cannabis with a relaxing fun-filled getaway and farm to table meals.”
People were talking to each about other upcoming and past marijuana conferences.
There’s the Feast of Flowers, Cannabis Wedding Expo, MJ Biz Con, CannaCon, Cannabis Science Conference, Kush Stock and many more.
But certainly, the next one I cover I will be adequately prepared.