Tag: Ngaio Bealum

Coronavirus Hits the Cannabis Community: SXSW, Spannabis, and More

While it is important to not panic, it is hard to not be extremely concerned about the coronavirus and its impact on all of our daily lives. The wellbeing of people is the most important thing, of course, so any hit to any business sector or community must keep people’s lives, especially those most vulnerable, in mind above all else. I’m not too worried for myself, for instance, just taking extra precautions to ensure that I don’t potentially spread the virus to others, especially my friends with underlying conditions and my senior citizen parents that depend upon me. The cannabis community is certainly not immune and we must do our part to protect each other from this pandemic.

I know that cannabis businesses were early t to feel the brunt of the coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it’s properly named, since many packaging materials and other products are sourced from China. Businesses have faced inventory issues and shipping delays. Now, cannabis events are starting to get cancelled or postponed. SXSW’s cancellation, the first time in the event’s 34-year history, is estimated to have more than a $350 million hit on the economy of Austin, Texas, with service industry employees especially feeling the loss. While not strictly a cannabis event, South by Southwest does include a cannabusiness track, a demonstration of the mainstream nature of the industry.

Barcelona’s Spannabis was just postponed as the Spanish government just announced a prohibition on all events over 1,000 people. I was fortunate to attend Spannabis last year and hope to see the event bounce back in force as it is an important cultural force in Europe. We’re likely going to see many more gatherings canceled and postponed, a real bummer for the community and industry members that have modeled their business, recreation, and networking culture around these events, but people must come before profits.

Kind Leaf, as usual, was a leader among the industry in helping lead the way against the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. We must be extra vigilant to protect our patient population. The pandemic isn’t just impacting the economics of the cannabis industry, but the cultural norms of the cannabis community.  Best not to share joints and other modalities of cannabis use. NORML and cannabis comedian and activist Ngaio Bealum have expressed on Twitter.

The cannabis community has some of the most kind, creative, and forward-thinking people in the world. Now is the time to band together to help protect our community and all communities and to support each other in every way that we can. Much love, everyone.

Spannabis’ announcement in full:


Featured Photo Credit: Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance

Smell the 168 Amazing Cannabis Strains at Kind Leaf in Beautiful Pendleton, Oregon

It is common knowledge that Oregon is a cannabis consumers paradise with some of the best strains and products with the lowest prices in the world. As a proud Oregonian, I’ll stand up for Oregon cannabis any day of the week and twice on Saturday at 4:20. I’ve been to many dispensaries in several states and a few coffeeshops around the world, and can honestly state that the best cannabis and selection that I’ve seen is at Kind Leaf in Pendleton, Oregon. It is tough to top the nearly 170 strains (168 today!) that they place on the shelves from the best cannabis farmers across the Beaver State.

While Washington State and California can claim great cannabis as well, you aren’t allowed to smell any of the cannabis available for purchase at their retails stores. The Willamette Week reported on how Oregon is the only state on the West Coast that allows consumers to fully smell the cannabis available at our retail outlets:

Head north or south of Oregon’s borders, and the consumer experience is far more limited. In California and Washington, state law dictates that cannabis flower must be sold in pre-packaged increments—meaning whatever you buy has already been measured and sealed, sometimes weeks beforehand.

Some California and Washington dispensaries have locked jars containing a bud or two for review, but those quickly dry out and lose their scent.

The ability to smell before you buy isn’t just a regulatory quirk: In cannabis, fragrance—or lack thereof—can indicate freshness, flavor and, if you know your terpenes, effects.

My good friend, Ngaio Bealum, an amazing activist and cannabis comedian, wrote about the plight of California connoisseurs in Leafly:

How can I find a bargain if I can’t smell the weed? How do I know if that top-shelf, $70-a-freaking-eighth bud is worth me working 10 hours at federal minimum wage, if I don’t know what it smells like?

A farmers market will let you taste a cherry or two before you buy it. The fancy Cigar Shop will let you twirl umpteen different Maduro blends under your nose until you find the one you want. But I can’t stick my nose in a bag of weed? It’s almost Unamerican.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s a cultural thing. I’m old enough to remember when “bag appeal” was a prime selling point. Some traditions are too important to let go of.

Please, regulators. Please. Look into your hearts, and bring back the deli-style cannabis club.

Cannabis regulations in Oregon still need some work, of course. For instance, we don’t have legal, regulated cannabis cafes and a lot needs to be done to help out small craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf and other mom-and-pops, but we have one bragging right on our West Coast cannabis community members–we get to smell what our talented farmers are growing.