I’ve accumulated a pile of at least twelve unread books over the past few years. I still intend to read them, but that stack is more likely to grow than shrink anytime soon. Japan has a word for lazy book collectors like me: tsundoku. That term very much applies to cannabis, as well. Dozens of strains have piqued my interest while I’ve been out shopping, only to be pushed down the queue by a sexier, stankier bud that catches my attention. Finally, though, after months of passing it over, I gave Strawberry Diesel a shot, and it made me wonder the same thing I thought after reading Friday Night Lights: What took me so long?
As the cannabis industry grows, so does the push for full legalization. Adding muscle is the new Cannabis Trade Federation, a group of well-connected lobbyists that represents some of the country’s strongest cannabis brands, including LivWell and Dixie Elixirs, in Washington, D.C.
One member of the CTF, Melissa Kuipers Blake, is based in Denver, working for legal and lobbying powerhouse Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. We recently caught up with Kuipers Blake to chat about the 2020 elections, pot’s lobbying power and more.
Since legal sales of recreational cannabis started in Colorado on January 1, 2014, some potrepreneurs have done very well. As owner of LivWell Enlightened Health, one of the state’s (and country’s) largest dispensary chains, John Lord looks up to few in the world of legal cannabis.
The New Zealand native has guided the growth of his company to include fourteen Colorado pot shops, as well as a dispensary in Oregon and partnerships in Canada’s emerging legal market. The first licensed pot business to feature Snoop Dogg’s branded cannabis line, LivWell is no stranger to putting itself out there, so we hit up Lord to see what his team has been up to.
Even as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, is working with the office of Colorado Senator Cory Gardner to craft legislation designed to protect states that have legalized cannabis sales from federal interference, the organization is making a new push to have marijuana removed from the Controlled Substances Act, a process known as de-scheduling.
Exhibit A: In recent weeks, NORML submitted over 10,000 written requests that marijuana be de-scheduled to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which had asked for comments in conjunction with a review of cannabis’s international classification currently being conducted by the World Health Organization.
Toke of the Town is joining forces with one of the Internet’s best cannabis guides to give consumers and marijuana businesses greater access to a national platform of online resources.
Toke’s parent company, Voice Media Group, owns and operates the cutting-edge digital advertising agency V Digital Services and publishes an array of iconic print newspapers and websites, including Phoenix New Times, Denver Westword and Miami New Times. In 2017, V Digital Services posted 40 percent year-over-year growth and was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the U.S.
Our new partners at Herban Planet publish one of the most comprehensive online cannabis guides, offering a one-stop ecosystem for cannabis producers, business owners, consumers, medical professionals, patients, caregivers and activists. Now Herban Planet’s content will be available directly from Toke of the Town – see the nifty link at the righthand side of our top navigation bar. We’ll also be linking to Herban Planet from from the websites of VMG’s core branded properties, putting a vast nationwide marijuana database at our readers’ fingertips.
VMG chief executive officer Scott Tobias notes that VMG and Herban Planet are already leaders in providing readers, consumers and businesspeople with information about the cannabis industry. And thanks to its decades of doing business in major markets across the country, VMG brings something else to the mix: Hundreds of long-established relationships with business owners, dispensary owners, cultivators and leading figures in the industry. Those carefully nurtured local, regional and national relationships should accelerate growth of Herban Planet’s market share.
Denver Westword was the first publication in the country to hire a marijuana reporter and is known for its expert coverage of the industry. And V Digital Services has long specialized in helping marijuana businesses maximize their digital footprint through its work with Marijuana Marketing Xperts.
As a division of VDS, industry-leading MMX has the advantage of focusing solely on marketing for the marijuana industry and helping business owners in the rapidly growing field devise smart digital strategies designed to increase web and mobile presence, generate leads to expand their customer base, and navigate a maze of legal restrictions and regulations. Equally unique is its programmatic advertising network for cannabis, a pioneering technology specially engineered to engage audiences interested in medical and recreational marijuana.
Combining Herban Planet’s thriving web platform with VMG’s technology, marketing and media muscle is the goal of the new partnership, says Tobias. “Joining with Herban Planet to help grow a national marijuana platform made perfect sense,” he adds. “We are very excited about this partnership.”
Herban Planet founder and chief executive officer Babak Motamedi says he’s also excited about the synergies made possible by the partnership. VDS marketing services will now be available to Herban Planet customers at preferred prices, and the companies will also continue to explore additional content-sharing opportunities on their websites.
“People in the industry have a choice between platforms,” says Motamedi. “Now Herban Planet will be powered by a multi-market media company, so obviously we will have broader reach. We think we can really change the industry, both in terms of connectivity and bringing it more mainstream.”
A new study of Colorado’s legal cannabis industry found that most of its employees were high on their jobs, but also concluded that a sizable portion of those employees were high at their jobs.
Conducted by the Colorado State University Department of Psychology and published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, the project surveyed around 200 cannabis employees at companies along the Front Range that work directly with the plant, and the results are surprisingly candid.
The National Cannabis Industry Association is taking one of its marquee events from Denver to the East Coast. The NCIA Seed to Sale Show, which has been held in the Mile High City for the past two years (the 2018 show ran February 7-8 at the Colorado Convention Center), will move to Boston in 2019, according to an announcement from the NCIA.
Lagunitas Brewing Company is one of the five largest craft-beer companies in the country, and founder and CEO Tony Magee says a lot of that has to do with culture. A big part of the Lagunitas culture is the drug test. “We have a drug-testing policy: You have to test pot,” he told a laughing crowd at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Seed to Sale Show on Wednesday, February 7. “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to try it again.”
No matter how many times we refer readers to earlier Ask a Stoner columns, we still get bombarded with emails and phone calls from users asking what to do with their broken hash-oil cartridges.
We agree – broken cartridges are a fucking problem. And it’s not just broken cartridges, either: Other than O.penVape (about which many of you have your own opinions), no brand in the pre-filled cartridge arena has been able to sustain a reliable shelf presence, much less offer trustworthy packaging and universal compatibility with vaporizer batteries. All of these gaps result can in a lot of unusable hash oil. And so can broken cartridges.