Tuesday, February 17, 2015

MY FIRST CANNABIS CUP



TELLING THE TREES FROM THE FOREST 

Temecula, CA – The underground is getting as hot as the corner, especially in Mary Jane Green's neighborhood at the intersection of Commerce Ave and Cannabis Street. At this point of my sequel to Memoirs, I got to roll into a section of town known for High Times. Once again the red phone rang. I answered “Hello” and that’s where this adventure began. Assignment – The Cannabis Cup, NOS Center, San Bernardino.

As I packed my kit bag, gathered my train schedules, and made a list of stuff to do while in LA for the day before heading up to Claremont to couch surf on a yeoman’s weekend, working the booth for the 300,000 member California Cannabis Coalition headed by Craig Beresh, I reflected. The High Times Cannabis Cup, the premium marijuana trade show, is the most well-known inside a 'cannabis industry' which was once just a niche market regarded much like a trailer-trash traveling carnival.

Now, just as hip-hop allowed fat guys to get laid, cannabis has made glamorous, in the original magical sense of the word, tattoos. Once the sole territory of Marlboro Men, soldiers, and sailors, tats now grace a growing segment of women's bodies, particularly in the cannabis culture younger demo. Also I wondered about a generation gap seen in the demo at the LA NORML meetings; it is a general discord found in grassroots protests that I have been involved in and is curious, to say the least. So I wondered about The Cup's demographics as well.

And yes Sports Fans, my two favorite 420Nurses were there. I saw them from afar for all of 30 seconds.  

The Cannabis Cup is a traveling event that is usually restricted to medical marijuana patients, their non-profits, and the leading edge of the burgeoning market now growing at nerd light speed. Because of the restricted access, many of the ‘profits over patients’ and big-box financed organizations infesting Colorado, Washington, and creeping into back-east states, weren’t there. The fact that San Bernardino even hosts such an event is a testimony to the ‘money talks, bullshit walks’ credo.

However, if you have read ‘Lord of The Smoke Rings’ the Cannabis Cup is the heart of the forest concerning marijuana ‘trees’ and who gets to play lumberjack.

In the ‘tree’ section as hip hop smokers refer to pot [joints], there were 280 various vendors, all small mom and pop startups delivering the best ‘unregulated’ products they know how to. This is possible not because these people are more holy than our present politicians and bureaucrats. This is possible and is a direct result of patients helping patients. While no vendor wants to take a loss, the people introducing and offering show specials on their wares aren’t posers motivated by money with ironic last names or their ilk. These vendors are the proof of creativity from cannabis, not commercialism.

Despite hundreds of products, I will mention two of a curious interest to my readers. The first was one given to me as a vote-getter for the High Times Best New Product, the MouthPeace, ‘peace of mine for social smokers’. The invention from Moose Labs is a 100% platinum cured silicone cylindrical top with ribs to fit snug into a bong but hollow so the flared end can hold any standard glass pipe for drawing off of, keeping your germs to yourself and visa-versa.

The second product of note is for my Label GMOs crew and anyone else interested in helping stop the use of pesticides, one garden at a time. This product is called The Amazing Doctor Zymes Eliminator, an all-natural enzymatic insecticide and fungicide. This means you can say good-by to your RoundUp and other chemical pesticides now wreaking havoc with the insect world of bees and butterflies. Though it may be one garden at a time, be the change you want to see.

Speaking of change, the non-profit area of the Cannabis Cup is a change from the outdoor medicated vendor free-wheeling, free market zone or the youth flavored demo I nicknamed, ‘the partyers’, where free dabs were handed out in a line only rivaled by Santa's. Other interest might label them the sheep, even more so than the establishment kind. Protecting these sheep are the non-profits, the culture media, and the out of the box thinkers, reminiscent of the first days of MTV.

Inside the Citrus Building were seminars, voting, and an ever streaming trail of medical patients from states across the country. The Cup attendees, like the vendors, come from all over the country to take  part in a slice of temporary freedom from judgment, to re-up, and those that think about things ventured into our indoor domain.

The CCC booth is just inside the huge double door entrance along the main aisle of the hanger. I am sheltered from the sometimes blistering desert sun, sometimes chilling misty dampness when it rains; both offered at my first Cannabis Cup. As I looked around after we set up the booth, the lyrics to ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ played on my mind’s soundtrack.

Looking at the printed booth layout map you see that what is stated isn’t the same as what was true. Several booth locations were switched, such as the Jack Herer Initiative Booth, a late edition according to my boss at CCC and an unnecessary duplication. Almost everyone inside wears a Human Solution pin and the group does indeed have a booth, but working, I probably missed seeing Joe, Liz, Kathie, and the troupe. At any rate, his booth was relegated to the back wall, shoehorned out by the Jack Herer Initiative crew who settled in next door to the Jack Herer Estate Booth, one aisle over in my direct line of sight but off the main aisle.

I thought this odd at the moment but had I actually looked at my event map and seen the discrepancy before writing this, I might have seen the end of this story coming. Across the aisle sat ‘the suits’ in their best not-looking like suits duds. Directly across the aisle was the Norml Women’s Alliance, an organization I am familiar with through Jessica Lux, and author/fellow protester, Cheri Sicard [The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook; Mary Jane, The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women]. Next door to them was Steep Hill Labs chiefing a journal to explain the terms and concepts of medical cannabis, including testing, cannabinoids, terpenoids, and microbial contaminant remediation. On the lighter side, they also showcased the Cannasseur provisions, makers of handcrafted cannabis infused snacks made with ice water hash. To their right were the High Times Entry Display glass booths.


On my side of the aisle things started with Cannabis Clergy next to Sacramento NORML. Both booths offered goods/products for sale but represented organizations rather than private patient driven companies. Our booth offered information in the form of information about the California Cannabis Coalition, sponsorship forms for the CCHI aka the Jack Herer Initiative, the Initiative itself in both the dumbed down and lawyer versions, and The Field Poll, release #2455 Tuesday, Dec. 10,  2013, indicating an overall positive response to the Jack Herer Initiative over the types of initiatives that passed in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and D.C. Hence, the 2016 election in California is critical in keeping the 'tax everyone' attitude of the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol crowd at bay.

At stake isn’t just the massive stoner market, but the bigger, huge market of accoutrements now driven by the medical patient side from research to innovation with the dotcom blossoming of a plant found in the Bible before Man. The public awakening past the deliberate disinformation is being spearheaded by groups such as my immediate neighbors, Just Say CARE board members Gerrod Miskovsky and Steven Hwang with organizers Susan and Ziggy.

This forward thinking booth was dedicated to current cannabis awareness, research, and economics. Again there were no products for sale but you did get something for participating in an online conversation about legal pot through instagram. You were given a white board to write your answer to ‘Why I Think Marijuana Should Be Legal:’ For your opinion you got your pick of rolling papers and some other accessory trinkets. I scooped the Bee Line pocket pack. To their left was the High Times voting area.The front area, to my left and Steep Hill’s right led to the open auditorium, folding chairs, and a stage with different panels throughout both days. 

Before we loaded out with all the other indoor booths on Sunday prior to the Cup announcements starting at 7:30 PM, a shaky truce had been put into place as each side put aside their legit grievances allowing me to wander over to the Jack Herer Estate beside the Initiative booth. That was when Memoirs ‘sign #22’ took place, see the upcoming story, Jack the Park. Later Tuesday while back in this valley word reached me that the truce between the groups had dissolved

Someone at the Cup asked me about my loyalties cannabis-cause wise. I replied, “You know what they say in Washington [DC], don’t you?"

“No”

“You want a friend, get a dog.”

Then I deadpanned, “I don’t even have a goldfish. I’m a reporter. I’m friends with everybody.”

This was my first Cannabis Cup. I was there to tell the trees from the forest and not start wildfires, per Smokey and Mary Jane Green. There was also a live stage show outside in the medication area going on for the 'partyers'.


No comments:

Post a Comment