Alyssa Boston is a woman on a mission. The 24-year-old Canadian beauty queen is using her platform to start a conversation on ending stigmas around mental illness, competing in pageants — and cannabis.
While she doesn’t actually smoke weed, Canada’s crowned Miss Universe caused a media uproar when she wore a sparkling cannabis-inspired look during the 2019 Miss Universe competition in Atlanta, Georgia.
Cannabis Aficionado spoke to her about breaking stigmas, social media and of course, that costume.
CA: How was your Miss Universe experience?
The Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative to Provide Support for NorCal Cultivators
Our community of heritage, small-batch craft cannabis cultivators in Northern California is facing an existential crisis resulting from a combination of taxation, licensing, and market conditions. Many of the small farms that built and fueled the cannabis industry are currently facing extinction by the current cannabis pricing collapse compounded by overbearing regulations. To support those in crisis, Tim Blake and the Emerald Cup organizers have created a dedicated Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative, offering a rally and much-needed support through upcoming events at the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball and the 18th Annual Emerald Cup Awards.
For over 17 years, the Emerald Cup has stood as a celebration of excellence. Founder Tim Blake has come to be recognized as a guardian of the ever-changing cannabis industry. At the upcoming Emerald Cup Harvest Ball on December 11-12 Blake has pledged support to the heart of their community, providing twenty-seven qualified small farm exhibitors with a pro-bono presence at the Harvest Ball.
“Burdensome and complicated regulations, over-taxation, and lack of access to market are destroying the small farmers who have pioneered and led the industry with innovation and quality,“ said Blake. “Small growers face challenges like prohibitively expensive permitting, legal fees, and rising taxes encouraging many of them to remain on the unregulated or “Traditional” market. Perhaps worst of all, most of these small growers are also located in the legendary Emerald Triangle region of Northern California, an area continually devastated by ongoing wildfires.”
Selected applicants will have the ability to present their products to attendees with premium placement on the market floor, a reduced concession arrangement, and heightened promotion to drive attendees to seek and support these small farms during the event and beyond. With the vision of lifting up and amplifying these small farms in the global marketplace, The Emerald Cup envisions this program as the first immediate step to support the community of the Emerald Triangle to prevent its disappearance.
The Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative will be led by a council of community leaders, including Michael Katz of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, Genine Coleman of Origins Council, Chris Anderson of Redwood Roots Distribution, Nicholas Smilgys of Mendocino Cannabis Distribution, and Traci Pellar of the Mendocino Producers Guild, will launch at the Harvest Ball Craft Cannabis Marketplace and will continue at the Spring 2022 event in Southern California.
As with any important initiative, the first challenge facing the Emerald Cup organization is determining selection criteria. With literally thousands of small farms and businesses struggling in the California cannabis market, and the organization’s sincere desire to help each and every one, this is an incredibly difficult task. To structure this effort, Emerald Cup evaluated license distribution among Northern California’s heritage cannabis-producing counties with active ordinances. An independent body, the Council has allocated a proportional number of possible participants to each county.
This first event of the Harvest Ball will support four operators each from Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity Counties, three each from Nevada and Sonoma Counties, and two each from Lake, Calaveras and Santa Cruz counties. An additional three slots will be made available for approved Social Equity Operators as defined by the requirements of these areas.
Participants that meet the criteria will be selected at random by lottery from all approved applicants from a given county. All applications are due by Saturday, November 13, 2021. Participants will be notified and announced on November 15, 2021. Each selected applicant will be able to offer up to three product SKUs for sale at the specially created Harvest Ball Craft Cannabis Marketplace during the event.
“Proposition 64 promised that no farms larger than one acre would be permitted to open until 2023, allowing smaller farms time to get organized. In 2017, Governor Brown opened up large-scale farming, and smaller farmers didn’t have time to react,” said Blake.
“Our goal is to do what we can to assist these remaining farmers who poured their love — not to mention finances — into their product, only to have the market landscape suddenly change. We support the Origins Council and other community organizations working to advocate for sensible policy change. We recognize that getting rid of cultivation taxes and streamlining the regulatory process at the county, state, and even national level is imperative to the survival of our small growers. We’d also like to see the retail component augmented, growing from 1,500 certified dispensaries to the 10,000 or so that are needed to provide an accessible, legal market.”
An industry rally and press conference will be held on Saturday, December 11, 2021, at the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball to raise industry, government, community, and media awareness of the crisis. Smaller sessions on the topic will happen during both the Harvest Ball and the ECAs. The sessions will include an open, solution-focused discussion on the issues affecting the market, with a focus on best practices and regulatory limitations.
On an individual level, qualified small farms and growers selected for the Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative will be offered premium vending locations at the Harvest Ball. The Initiative will also run for new participants at the Springtime Emerald Cup Awards in Los Angeles. All participants will enjoy a reduced concession rate at both events.
“With the tremendous support of the Council of the Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative, we are offering small farmers an exclusive vending program and platform so they can make more money at the show,” says Emerald Cup associate producer Taylor Blake.
“We know that we can’t solve all of our community’s problems with one initiative, but we are committed to putting our resources into evolving this program and working to improve access to the market for all small cannabis farmers.”
Growers must meet several criteria to qualify for the program:
- Hold a current and valid cannabis cultivation license for the state of California
- Have a maximum farm size of 10,000 square feet
- Practice sustainable farming
- Participate in third-party certification programs such as OCal, Sun + Earth Certification, Clean Green Certification, Regennabis, Envirocann, etc.
Any parties interested in applying or finding out more about the Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative should visit: www.FORMofURL.com
For additional information on the Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative and the Harvest Ball Craft Cannabis Marketplace, please email: Michael Katz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Emerald Cup Small Farms Initiative application will open Monday, November 8, 2021. The submission process will close for all farms on Saturday, November 13, 2021, at 11:59 PM PDT. All participants of the 2021 Harvest Ball Small Farms Initiative will be selected by lottery and alerted by Monday, November 15, 2021.
Cannabis Edibles Expo: A Targeted Moonshot Opportunity
The stage is set. This year’s Cannabis Edibles Expo is ready for their esteemed guests.
Cannabis professionals and industry experts will be gathering under one roof, for one purpose at this year’s B2B global Canna-Edibles Expo, taking place Nov. 12 in San Francisco and Nov. 16 in Chicago. They will be there to share industry secrets, expand horizons, and learn the secrets to success.
A professional trade event, the Cannabis Edibles Expo exists purely to enlighten you about everything you have ever wanted to know about cannabis edibles. This sector of the cannabis industry is blasting through the atmosphere like a rocket. It’s time to find out what this could mean for your career and your future. When you leave this show, knowledge will be your prized jewel. You will have the professional connections and the highway maps to develop partnerships, too.
At the conference, you will gain all the information needed to formulate your own edibles brand, as well as the necessary skills for bringing a superb product to market. Cannabis edibles are one of the fastest-growing segments of the cannabis industry. Edibles range from scrumptious confections to complex, whole-infused meals, with so much pure indulgence sandwiched in between.
Today’s cannabis consumers are eager to try health-conscious offerings. They crave educational information and want to understand what they are putting in their bodies. They expect excellence in flavor, safety, quality and ease of availability. At the Cannabis Edibles Expo, you can expect to interact with leaders from top cannabis edibles brands who will demonstrate methods and strategies for achieving each of these goals.
Where would you like to be in five years? Do you see yourself as a businessperson on the cutting edge of cannabis technology? Will you be a C- level cannabis executive? Or are you a cannabis advocate, educator, analyst or chef seeking more educational and networking opportunities? All the info you need to grow your business or start a brand new one can be found at the Cannabis Edibles Expo 2021, just one day after the Cannabis Drinks Expo. Consider making it a 2-day event for a well-rounded chance to learn about the two largest and fastest growing segments of cannabis.
Start your journey. Ride the upper atmosphere of entrepreneurship. Surf through the possibilities. Merge your ideas with like-minded professionals and shoot for the moon! There is no better place to be. Make the pilgrimage to the cannabis edibles mecca this November. Devote yourself to making your cannabis career on a path out of this universe.
Act now to reserve your entrance passport into the incredible Cannabis Edibles Expo 2021 and expand on your story.
Ricky Williams Flips the Script with new Highsman Brand
Once scrutinized by sports pundits and fans alike for using cannabis, Ricky Williams, is flipping the script with Highsman — his new cannabis lifestyle brand line of personally curated products.
Created to empower professional and everyday athletes as well as sports enthusiasts alike, Highsman offers premium quality cannabis as well as a collection of apparel and accessories designed to compliment an active lifestyle on and off the field.
“It is time we change the way we talk about cannabis,” says Williams. “Highsman is about an appreciation for greatness. There is a passionate and dedicated team behind the brand, and together we want to help all people inspire greatness in themselves.”
Initially offered as pre-packaged eighths, three cultivars have been curated by Williams to compliment moments in the day. Pre-Game is a sativa for an energized boost; Half-Time is a hybrid for focused awareness; and the Post-Game Indica offers a relaxed mood. A line of pre-rolls is currently in development.
Williams brings a deep knowledge of herbs, sports and wellness to the brand. He studied the origins of cannabis in the foothills of the Himalayas and spent years learning about the healing properties of the plant. He credits smoking cannabis as a way of overcoming the challenges associated with being a professional athlete, from social anxiety to physical injuries.
“Highsman is at the intersection of sports and cannabis and was created for fans and aficionados of both.” says Eric Hammond, CEO. “Years in the making, Highsman launches at a tipping point where sports and cannabis collide, and we are excited to continue to break boundaries between the two.”
A supporting collection of sports-inspired streetwear varsity jackets and baseball tees and must-have smoking accoutrements — rolling trays, pelican cases, water bottles — are also available. that compliments the Highsman lifestyle.
Highsman cannabis is available at select retailers in California and Oregon and online.