Legal cannabis is big business. The post-legalization boom following California’s passing of Prop 64 in November 2016 has seen rapid growth in cannabis business opportunities.
With the “Green Rush” have come an unprecedented increase of brands, businesses, and products around the world. In fact, it is predicted that the global cannabis market will be worth $16.9 billion this year.
Events like Blunt Talks bring together the best and brightest minds in the industry to help you navigate these new and exciting waters.
Each month, Blunt Talks host Sam Zartoshty is joined by industry innovators who present insightful “Ted” style talks that focus on networking, education, and creating community. Tonight’s event, in partnership with L.A. Weekly, is set to be the biggest so far.
“We are looking forward to bringing together both newcomers and veterans of the cannabis industry to learn and network in a historical venue in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles,” Sam Zartoshty told us. “With over 350 confirmed attendees, this is going to be our biggest Blunt Talks yet!”
To date, 33 Blunt Talks have taken place in eight cities, with 95 speakers imparting their knowledge. This month’s speakers are Mario Guzman aka Mr. Sherbinski of SHERBINSKIS, Jackee Stang of Quarter Brands, Nichole West of Inclusive Cannabis, Ted Lidie of Alien Labs and Bill Levers of Beard Bros Pharms.
“Blunt Talks is a vital tool to the success of the emerging industry for a multitude of reasons,” said Bill Levers of Beard Bros Pharms. “We feel like it provides a safe, inclusive space that helps networking, education, and collaborative efforts to flourish in a social setting. It gives operators who’ve had to hide for years a chance to tell their stories, and new entries a unique perspective on the industry that you don’t get at large trade shows.”
Head to Blunt Talks tonight, 7 PM – 11:30 PM at Exchange in Downtown Los Angeles. Chef Rudy of Cannabis Catered Events and Chef JJ of Ayur Ras Healing Foods will be serving up delicious (non-infused) treats while Jeff Welsh plays some sweet tunes at the afterparty.
Get your tickets now from Eventbrite.
Kate Hudson Gets High for the Holidaze In Cannabis Cocktail Commercial
Kate Hudson stars in an ad for Cann beverages—the first time an A-lister has been the face of a weed brand in a mainstream commercial.
Cann, a California-based cannabis-infused beverage firm, has partnered up with actress Kate Hudson and her King St. Vodka brand for the holiday season. To coincide with the debut of their special bundle offering – Cann Unspiked and King St. Vodka, the trio just opened a holiday-themed campaign.
Hudson, an actor, producer, and investor in the THC-laced brand Cann, starring in a film that breaks new ground by including the popular “social tonic” as the main element in a joyful adult beverage. Hudson’s own brand, King St. Vodka, provides the alcohol in this cranberry sage-flavored cocktail. In the video, Hudson is joined by party guests Baron Davis, former NBA All-Star-turned-TNT commentator, and Darren Criss, Emmy-winning actor and singer.
Hudson and Davis play an unusual couple preparing for a sophisticated house party in the ad, which could be the first time a Hollywood A-lister has stepped up as the face of a cannabis brand in a mainstream commercial. In fact, the two have been friends for a long time and are both financial backers of Cann, as is Criss, who met Hudson on the set of Glee.
Hannah Lux Davis, known for her work with Ariana Grande, Doja Cat, Kacey Musgraves, and others, directed the star-studded holiday campaign and features music from Criss’ latest Christmas album.
According to Cann’s founder Luke Anderson, the goal of the collaborations and campaign is to show that cannabis has become mainstream enough that a celebrity like Hudson is happy to use and promote it.
“We’re equating cannabis with alcohol because at these 2-milligram levels it’s as mild as a light beer or a glass of wine,” Anderson told Adweek. “We’re saying they deserve to be on equal footing. And people have been DIY-ing this for a long time anyway.”
VIBES X Kaya Herb House Collab Launches in Jamaica
Vibes, the rolling paper brand co-founded by entrepreneur and rapper Berner in collaboration with Gnln, announces a collaboration with the Kaya Herb House for the holidays. Featuring lifestyle goods and premium rolling papers, VIBES x Kaya Herb House furthers both brands’ missions to create the ultimate experience for connoisseurs.
VIBES x Kaya Herb House marks the first common project between the two brands, which have a shared goal of educating consumers on a premium smoking experience and creating meaningful experiences around the cannabis lifestyle.
The Kaya Herb House franchise was founded in Jamaica by “Bali” Vaswani, who had established Marley’s Estate coffee brand in the United States. VIBES x Kaya will be available at the Herb House in Kingston, Jamaica, which features the first medicinal Ganja herb house in the Caribbean and offers locally grown herbs and straight-from-the-farm extracts line as well as a taste of world-renowned cuisine and juices at the cafe and pizza restaurant.
“This marks another milestone for the VIBES brand. We are thrilled to partner with such an industry legend, together introducing an authentic experience to Jamaica and bringing attention to the history of the industry in the Caribbean,” says Vanessa Vanjari, Brand Manager of Vibes.
The collaboration features rolling papers, apparel, and accessories for the global wellness traveller, including co-branded hemp king size skinny booklets, tee shirts, and a pizza cutter. The slogan “Build a Vibe” is stamped on the VIBES x Kaya rolling papers, a play on both a popular Jamaican catchphrase and VIBES’ signature “Catch a Vibe.”
Each piece in the collection contains a retro graphic style of a plane that pays homage to the history of cannabis in the Caribbean when smugglers flew cannabis for the black market over the coasts of Jamaica and Florida. Smuggler planes would drop packages into the water, gaining the name “Square Grouper.”
VIBES x Kaya is a month-long collaboration that launches on December 17, 2021 at the Kaya Herb House in Kingston, Jamaica.
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 email@example.com.
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.