By Steve Elliott
“I never thought it’d be a problem to give money away,” said marijuana farmer Randy Williams, the owner of Fireweed Farm, just north of Prosser, Washington. School officials on Monday flatly turned down a $14,000 donation from Williams, claiming they were "taking a stand" against youth marijuana use.
"We're not taking it. End of story," snapped Ray Tolcacher, Prosser School District superintendent.
"That's a mistake on their end because they're not helping anything," Williams said after visiting the school district office last week to try to make the donation. Tolcacher, who was out at the time, called the would-be donor on the telephone on Monday to turn down the money.
Williams said his next choice for the donation is the Boys & Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties; that youth nonprofit will "evaluate internally," according to executive director Brian Ace. If they turn him down, he might offer the money to the VFW, Williams said, reports Ross Courtney of the Yakima Herald-Republic.
Williams, one of the few legally licensed marijuana farmers in Yakima Valley, promised at a first-ever marijuana auction November 15 at his farm to donate the proceeds of one "low-grade" lot to local schools. The weed brought in about $13,500; Williams kicked in the difference to make it an even $14K.
Next Friday, December 5, Palm Pictures will revive the great tradition of "midnight movies" with an exclusive online screening of the legendary reggae classic Countryman. Directed by Dickie Jobson, the film is a 1982 cult classic, featuring classic tracks from Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, and Toots and The Maytals.
Preceding the movie screening, at 11:30 pm on Friday 12/5, the film's co-star Carl Bradshaw will live-chat from Jamaica via Google Hangouts On Air with veteran reggae journalist Rob Kenner. The live chat with Bradshaw and the special "Midnight Movie Streaming" will be broadcast live via Google Hangouts here.
Countryman, a real life Jamaican fisherman and mystic, played himself in the 90-minute art house film. His feats of skill and daring in that movie made him an “ital” (natural) Rasta superhero and were an accurate reflection of his way of life.
The film's depictions of ganja use only serve to further endear it to a devoted cult audience.
Island Records founder and Countryman Executive Producer Chris Blackwell recalls, “He was a unique character, able to live in the jungle. We decided to do a film with him because you could never find a movie star who could wrestle with alligators and run through swamps the way he did.
"Countryman was an amazing person, always positive and full of humor," Blackwell ssaid. "Being of African and Indian descent, he embodied the Jamaican motto, ‘Out of Many, One People.’”
"Unlike New York-based High Times events or L.A.-based Hempcon, The Emerald Cup is presented by locals, for locals, and the state’s definitive county fair draws much of California’s original cannabis industry." ~ SFGate, "Smell The Truth"
“Not only is the spirit of the event responsible, it is vital that the lessons it has to offer are heard and understood by those outside it. Sustainability, earth-friendly practices, clean medicine and better business standards all take center stage during the event, one which is beginning to attract a global audience.” ~ John Vergados, SKUNK Magazine
The Emerald Cup will make its highly anticipated return to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California, on December 13 and 14. For more than a decade, The Emerald Cup has become synonymous with setting the highest standards for sustainable, sun-grown, outdoor cannabis and is the largest, most respected, organic, outdoor, medicinal cannabis competition in the world, making it “The Definitive Cup for the Fall Harvest.”
For the third year in a row, SKUNK Magazine will present the Emerald Cup’s grand prize of an all-inclusive stay for two at their resort, Pure Garden, in Negril, Jamaica.
“The Empty Chair at the Holiday Table” Campaign Highlights Those Not With Us Because of Incarceration, an Overdose Death or Prohibition Violence
Each holiday season, A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) and moms from around the country share their stories of loss while calling for an end to the War On Drugs -- which has been so disastrous for tens of millions of families. Many of the moms leading this campaign have been personally impacted by the War On Drugs.
The holidays are a particularly painful time for families – whether they are separated because of a loved one’s incarceration, lost on the streets due to drug problems, in danger because of drug war violence, or have lost a loved one to accidental overdose.
“I have painful memories of holidays when my son was absent because he was locked behind bars for drug use, and of family celebrations when one of my sons wasn’t included because he was lost in the maze of his addiction,” said Gretchen Burns Bergman of San Diego, founder of A New PATH, Moms United lead organizer and the mother of two sons who have struggled with heroin addiction and incarceration.
“We haven’t celebrated the holidays since 2008, when my son died of an accidental overdose," said Denise Cullen of Palm Desert, California. "We can’t escape the emptiness.”
Oregon marijuana legalization activists involved in the successful campaign for Measure 91, which legalized cannabis for adults 21 and older in the state, on Thursday sent an open letter to district attorneys statrewide.
Open Letter to Oregon District Attorneys
Criminal justice advocates and leaders call upon you to start now on implementing important drug policy reforms.
Although Oregon voters passed Measure 91 with a 12-point margin, implementation of this better, smarter approach to marijuana policy will not be complete until the first half of 2016. We don't have to wait until then to start to mitigate the damage done by decades of criminalization, wasted law enforcement time and squandered taxpayer money.
Prosecutors in Oregon's largest county have already decided to dismiss, and stop prosecuting, marijuana-related offenses that would no longer exist under Measure 91. Other county prosecutors should follow Multnomah County's lead.
A strong majority of Oregon voters have directed the state to stop treating marijuana as a crime and to better prioritize our limited law enforcement resources. With so many lives and so much money at stake, waiting would be unreasonable and clearly damaging to Oregon's communities. We should work quickly to limit the damage already caused by a feckless war against marijuana.
We urge you to cease enforcement of marijuana laws that will no longer exist when provisions of Measure 91 take effect in July.
Anthony Johnson, Director, New Approach Oregon, Chief Petitioner of Measure 91
By Steve Elliott
The Oxford Dictionary has named “vape” 2014’s Word of the Year.
Oxford defines the verb as “to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device,” reports Lori Grisham at USA Today. It was added to the dictionary in August.
Vape can also be used as a noun for the e-cig, and for the act of inhaling itself, according to Oxford.
“You are 30 times more likely to come across the word vape that you were two years ago, and usage has more than doubled in the past year,” Oxford said of the decision.
Runners-up for Word of the Year included “budtender,” a person whose job it is to serve customers in a cannabis dispensary or shop.
Next Generation Management Corporation on Tuesday announced its wholly owned subsidiary, NextGen Holdings, LLC, has entered the rapidly growing cannabis infused edibles market by signing an agreement with Merry Jan's Edibles, an Oregon based bakery. Both parties have agreed to terms; final partnership agreement is being drafted.
Merry Jan's has more than 30 years baking experience and is currently supplying a small number of existing marijuana dispensaries with a variety of gourmet cookies, brownies and other baked goods and confections. Merry Jan's THC-infused cannabutter is made in-house.
"Now that Measure 91 has passed, legalizing marijuana in Oregon, we will continue to expand operations by strategic partnerships," said Darryl Reed, CEO of NextGen. "Our role in the newly formed partnership will be to assist in the expansion of the brand by hiring sales staff, increase awareness through social media and other forms of mass marketing.
"Merry Jan's is currently working on rolling out a Holiday platter that will include cannabis infused cookies, pecan pie bars, raspberry white chocolate bars and chocolate mint brownies," Reed said.
"NextGen also continues to look for a location in the Portland, Oregon, area to open a licensed dispensary," Reed said.
Next Generation Management Corporation's wholly-owned subsidiary, NextGen Holdings, LLC, was formed to hold its Oregon cannabis assets.
Matt Gray, CEO of The Stoner's Cookbook, discussed the history of the website and the launch of its new crowd-funded recipe book for cannabis cooking in his recent interview with Ganjapreneur
Ganjapreneur, a website dedicated to cannabis business news and culture, has published an interview with Matt Gray, CEO of The Stoner's Cookbook, a resource for marijuana culinary enthusiasts to find and share infused recipes. In the interview, Gray discussed how he became involved in the project more than a year ago.
"I was the co-founder and CEO of a successful education startup in Toronto called Bitmaker Labs," Gray said. "We trained full-stack software developers and got them jobs at top tech companies across North America.
"After exiting that business I was eager to get into the cannabis industry," Gray said. "I saw it as the opportunity of a lifetime. I met the founders of The Stoner’s Cookbook through a mutual friend and I knew I could help them turn their passion into a high-growth business."
The Stoner's Cookbook currently has over 2.8 million followers on Facebook and boasts millions of website impressions each day. The types of recipes shared, Gray said, vary dramatically.
By Steve Elliott
When this reporter attended September's Hempstalk Festival in Portland, I saw a well-organized, orderly event, where plenty of information about the cannabis hemp plant and its many uses was disseminated by activists and speakers, along with bands, vendors, and bounteous opportunities for people-watching. What I did not see -- and I attended the entire two-day festival -- was people smoking or selling weed inside the event.
Portland parks officials, who seemed to have attended an entirely different event, waited only a day after Oregon's historic vote to legalize marijuana under Measure 91 to mail a letter to Hempstalk organizer Paul Stanford, reports Andrew Theen at The Oregonian.. It wasn't a nice congratulatory note, either -- it was a firm denial of his request to hold next year's Hempstalk Festival at Portland's Tom McCall Waterfront Park, or any other public property, next year.
"The passage of ballot measure 91 makes no difference in the City's decision," reads a prissy statement from Parks Bureau customer service center manager Shawn Rogers. The denial "stems only from the inability of organizers to manage the event in accordance with the necessary conditions clearly outlined and revisited on multiple occasions."
City officials claim attendees smoked marijuana at the event -- but again, I was there the entire time, and I never saw a single joint torched, even backstage.
Both Companies to Exhibit at the Marijuana Business Conference in Las Vegas from Nov. 12 to 14
G FarmaLabs, a producer and processor of cannabis products, on Friday announced that is has entered into a production agreement with MedMen, a full service cannabis management firm. G FarmaLabs officials said the company "will bring its full line of award winning cannabis infused products to MedMen’s offerings as the management company gears up for a substantial footprint in the two newest cannabis markets, Nevada and Illinois."
“While the marijuana industry has seen tremendous growth over the past couple of years, there still remains a frustrating amount of regulatory hurdles that make expanding a marijuana producing and processing company a challenge,” said Ata Gonzalez, founder and CEO of G FarmaLabs. “With this unique partnership, which took a tremendous amount of time and effort to structure, G FarmaLabs is able to expand nationally, while MedMen is able to offer its clients the best cannabis products on the market.”
This announcement marks the latest in a number of big announcements for both companies, both of which will be exhibiting at the Marijuana Business Conference in Las Vegas from Nov. 12-14.
For G FarmaLabs, in early October, the company announced a Private Offering to raise $5 million in capital for a stake in the future of the company’s California territory.
Guru of Ganja Ed Rosenthal's newest book, Beyond Buds, spreads the word on what the inner circle of marijuana aficionados knows about how to take their medicine. The book covers the rapid shift from smoking buds to vaping and dabbing concentrates or using marijuana infused products such as edibles and tinctures.
Whether you want to produce them or sample them, Beyond Buds is a guide for all -- what to look for, how to make them, and how to use them safely.
Way before the "Green Rush" that is accompanying current legalization, Rosenthal was one of the original marijuana entrepreneurs. Quick Trading, his publishing company, was always the first to provide the latest information on marijuana gardening, use and social policy. Its Big Book of Buds series delineated the differences of more than 400 varieties of cannabis.
Quick Trading is celebrating 40 years of changing marijuana policy one book at a time. True to their vision of justice, the anniversary and book release event is a fundraiser to support the early wave of medical marijuana reformers who are incarcerated in federal and state prisons.
On the heels of an election which decided marijuana policy in several states, Ganjapreneur, a website dedicated to the legal cannabis industry, has announced a business-focused directory to help aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs and companies connect with business service providers.
Ganjapreneur's new directory includes archives of lawyers, accountants, web development agencies, security firms, and general business consultants who specialize in serving marijuana businesses.
The business directory currently has 12 categories, although a representative from the website said the scope of the project is growing.
"Right now we're focusing on B2B services," the Ganjapreneur rep added, "so our directory is geared toward companies who provide a business service such as marketing or accounting."
Ganjapreneur recently announced that they are preparing to launch a "Freelancer's Network" for creative professionals who want to take on marijuana-related projects. The network currently has a landing page explaining the concept, and an email sign-up form to receive a notification when the network is officially launched.
The website launched over the summer, and has rapidly published a large volume of unique content including news coverage, business editorials, interviews with cannabis industry entrepreneurs, an industry job feed which aggregates classified ads from around the web, and even a dictionary of slang vocabulary terms related to marijuana.
Hemp Public Relations, LLC ( www.hemppublicrelations.com ) is a new firm that says it will help individuals & businesses in the legal marijuana industry to achieve greater visibility in the public eye through the media.
The company is founded by Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick, accomplished public relations professionals who are also the creators of New York-based Goldman McCormick PR ( www.goldmanmccormick.com ) and Legal PR Team ( www.legalprteam.com ).
“The marijuana industry is growing rapidly and experiencing a wider public embracement on a national level," said Mark Goldman, co-founder of Hemp Public Relations. "Entrepreneurs who seize the opportunity to make a positive impression on the masses now, stand to gain generational loyalty and years of successful business.
"We created Hemp Public Relations specifically for these businesses,” Goldman said.
According to Goldman, Hemp Public Relations' services include TV, radio and newspaper placement, press conferences, and digital media placement. Hemp Public Relations also offers custom radio show creation, promotion, and production.
Photo of Mark Goldman: Hemp Public Relations
As the midterm election approaches, representatives of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) are hard at work educating voters about the need for drug policy reform in states with relevant initiatives on the ballot.
A pair of police chiefs, Retired Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper and sitting Police Chief Larry Kirk, are in Alaska, where voters are about to weigh in on an initiative to legalize, regulate and control marijuana (Measure 2). The two went to seven towns between them, from Anchorage to Kodiak, to educate voters on the public safety benefits of legalization.
In the meantime, a former prosecutor and a retired lieutenant sheriff are doing a similar tour of Oregon (Measure 91) and a former police officer and former Customs agent are speaking to Florida voters about medical marijuana (Amendment 2). These tours have included meetings with civic clubs, conversations with the media and debates with opponents.
Policy Experts and Advocates Testify in Favor of Directing Proceeds from Taxation to Communities Harmed by War on Drugs
Hearing Occurs Just Days Before Voters Decide on Marijuana Legalization at Ballot Box
D.C. Councilmembers Vincent Orange (D-At Large) and Jack Evans (D-Ward 3) on Thursday are holding a joint public hearing on legislation introduced in 2013 by Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) that would establish a system which legalizes, taxes and regulates marijuana in the nation’s capital. Councilmember Orange chairs the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs and Councilmember Evans chairs the Committee on Finance and Revenue.
The hearing specifically examined sections six through nine of the “Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2013” (Council Bill #20-466), and took place Thursday at 11 a.m. in Room 500 of the D.C. Council Chambers located at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C. Advocates provided testimony in support of using the proceeds from legalization towards rebuilding the communities harmed by the war on drugs.