By Martín Wagmaister–TNMNews Executive Producer
If you really want to know what’s happening with marijuana in this country, you must attend any one of the Cannabis Cups that will take place this year in several states. These events have been going on for years, but with the legalization movement getting national attention, attendance and acceptance of the Cannabis Cup is growing exponentially. The National Marijuana News was out in full force this past weekend at the 4th annual High Times So Cal Cannabis Cup at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, California, and from a work standpoint, I’m still coming down off an incredible high (no pun intended). As far as the legalization movement goes, I can tell you it’s truly happening and it’s happening fast.
As we scoured the venue for sights and sounds, I was confident that if a person was walking into their first Cannabis Cup, they would think they were on a movie set based in some utopian society, where heavily-tattooed guys and scantily dressed ladies share smiles, shake hands and make business deals with men and women wearing Gucci and Prada. It was truly a sight to see at a time where our country deals daily with unrest over cultural and racial differences. At the Cannabis Cup, it was the complete opposite.
With host Todd Denkin at the helm, TNMNews welcomed entrepreneurs, activists and industry leaders to our booth, all in an effort to cover the spectrum of what the marijuana industry is working on now and what the plans are to motivate people to get to the voting booth when the 2016 elections arrive.
Highlights included a conversation with David Bernstein and Vlad Stelmak, founders of WeedHire International. The partners have put together the WeedHire website, which connects cannabis-based companies with potential employees, all with the intention of eventually becoming the Monster or LinkedIn of the marijuana industry.
We heard from Diane Goldstein of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Bianca Barnhill from Spark The Conversation. Both ladies spoke in detail about their efforts to spread and end what’s been called “the failed war on drugs”. They also expanded on the important roles that women will take on as the marijuana industry continues to grow across the country.
TNMNews also got an unforgiving look at what war and PTSD can do to veterans who come home after serving their country. A few servicemen started the Weed 4 Warriors Project, which according to their website, was put together to “advocate to the Veteran Affairs Administration on behalf of all veterans to allow them the freedom to use medical marijuana as a recognized medical option to psychiatric drugs without any discrimination or unjust action.” Kevin and Jay from the organization spoke frankly about their experiences as soldiers who were ravaged by PTSD. They described what life was like when they returned home, a life that included uncontrollable anger towards loved ones and eventually, suicide attempts. They also told their story of how marijuana saved their lives and made them feel human again.
Todd also spoke with CannaVest Vice President of Product Development Chris Boucher, who is quite an interesting individual. He became the first person in America in over 50 years to grow Industrial Hemp at a USDA research station in California. He talked about the future of hemp and admitted that once it becomes legal in this country, it will completely change the way people live their lives. From clothing, to building materials to food, Boucher sees the transition to hemp as an excellent opportunity for Americans to hand over a much more green and efficient country to future generations.
When it was all said and done, there were so many more people that gave us their time, their honesty and their perspective and they will all be featured in upcoming episodes of The National Marijuana News. It’s estimated that tens of thousands of people attended the 4th annual High Times So Cal Cannabis Cup and in this writer’s opinion, it was a success. Not one arrest, not one fight or confrontation, nobody overdosed. Not to be cliché, but there really was a lot of “peace, love and understanding”. People young and old, of all races and religions, getting along, all coming together–for a flower that could change the world. Yes, ladies and gentlemen—times, they are-a-changin’.
Email Martín: email@example.com