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We’re Not Hiding Anymore – Courtney Freeman
As I write this article, the state of Illinois officially legalized adult-use of cannabis in addition to its medical cannabis program. There are now 14 states that permit adult-use of cannabis, and 34 states plus Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have medical cannabis programs in some form. Slowly, but surely, cannabis is becoming a normal part of life across the nation. A summer solstice event I attended last Sunday shows we’re heading in the right direction, and the key is education and civic participation.
Canna-Garden 2019 at the Summer SOULstice Music Festival
Santa Monica, California is a vibrant, progressive, tech-friendly city internationally known as Silicon Beach in the tech industry. A millennial playground, one would assume licensed cannabis dispensaries are plentiful, but sadly, none are open for business. This is why the Canna-Garden space at this year’s 19th annual Santa Monica Summer SOULstice Music Festival is so important. The city closes Main street for several blocks to throw a street party with local shops, live bands, food, and drinks to celebrate the longest day of the year. Courtney Freeman (seen above) of White Buffalo, a cannabis events, civic outreach, and communications company, received an invitation to produce the Canna-Garden event, now in its second year. “The goal is to educate people about cannabis and CBD and build a community,” she said. Courtney’s message to city leaders and the community is “Don’t fear the plant and create a positive culture in a comfortable, relaxed setting. We’re not hiding anymore.” Consumption was not allowed, but for Canna-Garden 2020, Courtney is pursuing an onsite-consumption permit just as you would for a beer garden. After all, beer gardens are a common part of many adult-oriented street fairs, so discrete, responsible cannabis consumption by adults is not an outlandish proposition.
Tracy Brown and Judit Konrad, Ph.D. of Priya Apotheca also wanted to be part of the community and create a positive experience. Priya creates conscious, CBD skincare products that inspire and empower women to embody and unleash their unique, authentic beauty. Tracy told me that “This is the right match for us. I used to come here in my twenties, so it has a homegrown feel to me. We want to have positive conversations and educate people.”
Former Olympic Gold Medalist, World, and European gymnastics champion Andreas Wecker invented a cold press machine for hemp and other oils. His company, Andreas Seed Oils, use hemp plants grown on his California and Oregon farms and combines the entire plant with hemp seeds to create his unique, healthy, hemp seed oil and powder. The cold press technique means no solvents such as butane or ethanol are used, and Andreas said his hemp oil products are the first certified organic CBD oil on the planet. “I’m here today because I have a history of community in Santa Monica, and I wanted to help support the Canna-Garden event.”
Of course, it would not be much of a garden if cannabis was not present. Plant buddies sell kits to grow your own top-shelf cannabis at home. Their Home Grow Kits provide everything you need to start cultivating your plants. We recently suggested growing your own cannabis in our article, Ten Tips for Buying Cannabis and CBD on a Fixed Budget. Founder Keenan Chao, a Santa Monica resident, is very much plugged into the community vibe. “We want to educate and help people grow their own cannabis. It’s such a great way to learn about the plant and save money.”
Several other vendors shared the garden including Foria Wellness and Vital Hemp Clothing. Foria has an entire cannabis line dedicated to women’s sexual pleasure, pain relief, and wellness. Sisters Jenae Lien and Jordan Chu had many spirited conversations with women throughout the afternoon, and I noticed a lot of laughter filling their booth. A perfect fit for Canna-Garden 2019, Vital Hemp Clothing envisions a world where people wear comfortable, affordable, high-quality hemp clothing. Some of the more popular shirts were the ones with cannabis brands logos on them. I sampled a few items and found them to be soft, well made, and solid, creating the impression of a long-term purchase.
I thought it was interesting that each person I spoke to conveyed the message of education and community. In California, it’s easy to get caught up in a cannabis cultural bubble and forget that not everyone has positive views of the plant. It’s essential that cannabis community leaders reach out to local, regional, state, and federal government officials and convey positive messaging about cannabis and hemp plants. It’s time to get the secret out of the garden for all to share, and taking part in civic events is one way to show that cannabis can be a normal part of life.
There are nice #CannaGarden2019 social media threads going on here:
Philip Rebentisch is a Contributing Editor to Three Wells. He is also the host of the podcast, Cannabis For the Rest of Us on Apple Podcasts, sponsored by Three Wells.