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New Children’s Book Aims to Help Adults Talk to Kids About Cannabis

Susan Soares wants to give grown-ups the means to talk to their kids about cannabis with her new book, “What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden.”

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What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden
IMAGE | Gustav Davies

It’s time adults have an honest conversation about cannabis with the children in their lives. Author and advocate Susan Soares gives grown-ups the means to do that with her new children’s book, “What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden.”

The lighthearted story is told from the perspective of a young boy who loves to garden alongside his grandma. Together, they learn about bugs, vegetables, and the special plants in grandma’s greenhouse.

Soares is actively raising the funds necessary to illustrate and publish “What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden.” So far, she’s gathered just over half of her $10,000 goal.

Just Say KNOW

“What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden,” Soares’ first book, is based on a true story.

“I am a grandmother,” she explained and is about to welcome her fifth grandchild. “One of my grandsons loves to be in the garden with me,” she said.

Throughout the story, the young boy learns about good bugs and bad bugs, that fresh vegetables taste better, and that it’s fun to garden.

“Grandma has a special plant in her greenhouse,” Soares explained, “we can look, but can’t touch it.”

The young boy wonders why grown-ups can have things that kids cannot.

“What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden” is just as much a lesson for adults as it is for children.

The book teaches adults how to talk to children about “grown-up vs. kids issues,” Soares said. “Hopefully that will inspire conversations about cannabis and other grown-up things.”

“Knowledge is power,” she said. “In general, we don’t give children the credit they deserve.”

“When you hide something from kids… that attracts them to it. When you lie, you teach them they can’t believe [you],” she added.  

She said that’s one of the biggest failures of the D.A.R.E. program — and why her foundation, C.A.R.E. mocks the anti-drug campaign motto with their own — “Just Say KNOW.”

“Kids KNOW, they aren’t stupid,” said Soares. It’s time for an honest conversation about cannabis.

Soares hopes to see the book in every retail cannabis outlet. “If you are a cannabis consumer, if you have children in your life — niece, nephews, students, etc. — you have an obligation to educate them on the whole cannabis issue.”

Gustav Davies, a Swiss-based artist and illustrator, created the book’s visuals. He said he chose to create the graphics for the story because “[Soares] has something to tell — I like that.”

Davies illustrations are mature yet whimsical. In order to achieve Soares’ vision, he explained, “I’m trying to work as unselfconsciously as possible.”

Advocate-Turned-Author

The advocate-turned-author said the inspiration for “What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden,” came in 2017 after an appearance on the Southern California radio show, The Woody Show.

“Woody asked me, ‘how did you talk to your children about cannabis?’ I didn’t have a good answer,” she said, admitting she hid it. “I did not like that answer, it really bothered me.”

Soares asked others in and outside of the cannabis industry the same question. She found, “nobody talks their kids about cannabis, even now. Especially people in the industry.”

She wonders where the “what about the kids?” hysteria comes from. “We’re still waking up. Maybe we have PTSD from the drug war,” she said. “We are not owing it as we should.”

One moment stands out to Soares; it came after speaking with an unnamed canna-prenuer. “He said, ‘you are too early, people are not ready for a children’s book about cannabis’.” In the same breath, the source said his eight-year-old made the ‘best Manhattan he’s ever tried,’ Soares explained.

She knew then she needed to write a kid’s book that will “inspire grown-ups to have the conversation about cannabis.”

Cannabis as a Catalyst

Though Soares is a cannabis advocate, she was not always a proponent for the plant. In fact, she once called the cops on a group of teenagers smoking from a pipe in her (now, former) Chino Hills neighborhood.   

At the time, Soares described herself as a devout Mormon, and leader in her Orange County church community.

“It took me five years to get out of the Mormon fog,” Soares said. Her relationship with cannabis was a catalyst.

Soares, a then “Conservative Republican,” suffered serious injuries during a church broom hockey game.

“I was about to score my third goal when someone tripped me,” she explained of the 1993 incident. She went head first into a cement cinder block, which knocked her unconscious, blew out her eardrum, and triggered a migraine that lasted two years.

The pain was intolerable. “I didn’t live a moment without pain,” she said, “I went to chiropractors, my Mormon doctor, Scripps’ Clinic… I was given more and more opioids, but found no relief.”

Coupled with the stress of a divorce, Soares felt desperate. “I contemplated suicide, but knew I had three kids relying on me.”

“My neighbor and I who garden together mentioned that cannabis could help my migraine situation,” she said.

Soares was scared — but eager to find relief. “I knew my community and my family would turn their backs on me if I used cannabis, but I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t have any other options left.”

She tried cannabis, and “after six weeks of use, my migraine was gone, never to return again,” she said.

Consequently, the “worst did happen,” Soares continued, “my family did not talk to me, and I was ostracized from the church community. But I needed to be alive for my kids.” Cannabis gave her the ability to do it.

From then on, she made it her life’s mission — starting after her own children reached adulthood — to educate others about the plant. She went on to found the nonprofit organization, Cannabis Awareness Rallies and Events (C.A.R.E.), which aims to educate people about cannabis.

For more information, visit JustSayCare.org or Soares’ fundraising page on Facebook.

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Culture

Network in Paradise at the CanEx Jamaica Business Conference & Expo

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CanEx Jamaica
PHOTO | Konstiantyn

According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc, the global legal cannabis market is expected to reach USD 66.3 billion by the end of 2025. Helped in part by the increasing acceptance of cannabis to treat numerous medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, arthritis, and neurological disorders, along with the lucrative revenue created by legal cannabis sales, there has never been a more crucial time for entrepreneurs and businesses to network and expand their businesses on a global scale.

As one of the leaders in international business-to-business (B2B) events, the CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo brings together top cannabis industry experts from around the globe including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean.

Taking place September 26-28 at the Montego Bay Convention Center, in beautiful Montego Bay, the fourth annual CanEx Jamaica Business Conference & Expo features addresses, panel discussions and presentations on a variety of topics — from advocacy, cultivation, science and medicine to investment, banking and finance, and the business of cannabis including women entrepreneurship.

Over 70 world-class speakers and panelists will provide insights into the direction of the global cannabis industry to over 3,000 delegates.

Steve DeAngelo, founder of Harboride dispensary and the Last Prisoner Project, is speaking on two panels — “Post Decriminalization of Cannabis: Towards Restorative Justice” and “Strategic Approaches to Cannabis Investments” to how the investment landscape is evolving.

Bruce Linton, founder of Canopy Growth Corp, the first cannabis producing company in North America to be listed on a major stock exchange, will host a fireside chat with CanEx founder, Douglas K. Gordon.

Former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, will host “The Global Cannabis Movement” that will explore what globalization means in practical terms for the industry, where things stand presently and the future of the global market.

Cam Battley, Chief Corporate Officer of Aurora Cannabis Inc., will be speaking on the panel “CEO Roundtable: Roadmap to Sustainable Profitability for the Industry” to discuss the global challenges and opportunities facing the cannabis Industry.

Plus, over 200 exhibitors and sponsors, from cultivators to investment firms and media experts will provide attendees opportunities for networking, business expansion and identify new areas of growth within the legal industry.

Held for the first time in 2016, CanEx Jamaica is responsible for connecting cannabis experts, researchers, business professionals, creating new strategic partnerships in a truly memorable and vibrant setting.

For more information, visit canexjamaica.com.

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Culture

After 25 Years, Supreme Closes Iconic Lafayette Store

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PHOTO | Supreme

In a move that has shocked through the streetwear community, Supreme has closed its original space on Lafayette after 25 years of business.

Back in February, the brand announced that its famous Lafayette location would be under renovation. Now, due to the unforeseen closure, the 190 Bowery location in Manhattan will now be the brand’s main location in the Big Apple.

 

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Celebrating 25 years. Pooky, Lafayette Street, New York City 1995 📷 @suekwon_

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Culture

Off the Record, It’s National Expungement Week

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National Expungement Week

“Would you like to know an absolutely crazy fact? There are 77 million people in the United States who have a criminal record.” This crazy statistic that instantly grabs your attention is how Seth Rogen opens the PSA for National Expungement Week.

Rogen also asks, “What does ‘expungement’ mean?” ‘On the record’, expungement means, clearing or sealing the record of a person’s prior arrest, criminal charges or conviction.

That’s a possibility for some of the 77 million people with criminal records — a large amount being minor offenses — which make up nearly a quarter of the population of the United States. Having a criminal record seriously impedes the ability to live for millions of people. It restricts access to jobs, housing, education, and the right to vote.

National Expungement Week aka N.E.W. is the initiative of Cage-Free Repair (the non-profit section of Cage-Free Cannabis) Cannabis and Equity First Alliance.

Cage-Free Cannabis is rooted in three kinds of justice, from reparative, to economic and environmental. Equity First Alliance works to bring reparative justice to, and be a voice for, those who have been most harmed by the War on Drugs.

The initiative will see over 40 events held in 30 cities, which will host workshops, allowing people to meet with lawyers and experts who can help them clear records, from September 21-28.

Among other company’s and businesses, N.E.W. is supported by Houseplant, the cannabis company launched by Rogen and Evan Goldberg, in the hopes of exposing the social injustices associated with cannabis convictions.

With 18 events in 15 cities that helped nearly 300 people begin the process of changing their records, the inaugural National Expungement Week in 2018 was clearly a success and led to the initiative returning this year.

If you’re interested in clearing your record or helping someone else do the same, you can find further information — including the dates and details of specific events — on the official site of N.E.W.; offtherecord.us.

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