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10,000s of cannabis entrepreneurs and stakeholders, nurturing $ billions in new GREEN, taxable economic opportunity for America
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/27/2010 - 01:36.
December 17 - 19, 2010, the Colorado Convention Center hosted the world's largest marijuana lifestyles convention TO-DATE - KushCon2 - offering those active in the legal global marijuana industries a place to meet, collaborate, learn and grow their new-economy enterprises, together. In one convention hall, in one weekend, mingled 10,000s of cannabis entrepreneurs and their stakeholders - nurturing $ billions in new GREEN, taxable economic opportunity for America - and their truly Green Revolution is just taking off.
Meet America's Greenest Revolutionaries ever... Mom and Pop Mainstreet, Small Town, Middle America!
Reefer Mad propagandists are clearly wrong about the risks of pot for society... there were no drug-crazed orgies in the aisles of KushCon2. There were lots of grandparents.
In fact, the event was family-friendly and probably the most white-bread large convention I've ever seen... even Elvis conventions are more diverse.
This is not the first time I have observed the homogeneity of the cannabis industries - I attended the recent Hemp Industries Association conference, in San Francisco, and found that industry as monotone - there do not seem to be minority entrepreneurs participating in the organized legal marijuana or hemp economies in America at all. If they are, they are not participating in the major industry conventions and associations.
Making me wonder, where's the color in the newest Green Revolution, quickly growing into $ billions in business activity, where legal... how do we encourage diversity among cannabis entrepreneurs in America, and make the minority dope-boys taxpayers, rather than tax burdens?
It looks like America still locks up all the minority entrepreneurs who must work in the underground, illegal marijuana economy, in black communities, as white people profit from developing legal, mainstreet pot industries in white communities... and are making a killing. Is marijuana business as usual in America, where the white man gets all the breaks, and has all the fun?
I have no doubt all races are welcome in the legal cannabis industries, but one must move where MMJ is legal to participate. The states that have legalized medical marijuana are some of the whitest in America.
I believe marijuana policy is the greatest demonstration of racism and classism in America today. States where there are the largest black concentrations today still lock-up minority cannabis entrepreneurs for medical marijuana commerce, instead of allowing them to prosper in the cannabis economy. Historically, all states - including MMJ-legal states - have certainly locked-up far larger percentages of minorities than whites for marijuana-related crimes.
I wonder how diverse the MMJ industry will become in Michigan, New Jersey and especially DC, where black populations are significant - a subject for future investigations. For now, in Colorado, the MMJ industry is as white as an industry may be.
No matter what your race... if you want to feel like a "hayseed" loser, go to a medical marijuana convention and tell people you live in Ohio or any of the 35 backwater states where it is illegal for citizens to use medical marijuana, and for entrepreneurs to prosper from that.
These are people who would never live where we do - never give up their rights they fought so hard to secure - never sacrifice the prosperity and peace MMJ brings to them.
Time for smart Ohio hillbilly entrepreneurs to find green-gold and move to Beverly... Hills, that is... swimming pools... movie stars... legal MMJ economy... and specialized lawyers, insurance agents and even realtors to help you find the way.
One area where there is clearly diversity in the marijuana industries is with sex, as there were lots of women at KushCon2, fighting to succeed as "reefer" entrepreneurs... and fighting for their own rights to smoke pot for medical reasons, and not have social services take their children away.
The KushCon world is a very beautiful place for those who may legally benefit from the business developments happening there. And there are diverse resources and services being created to support those participating in the marijuana economy, for providers and customers, and they were out in force at KushCon2.
For those visitors to KushCon2 who did not have a medical certificate for MMJ, but have medical conditions for which MMJ is prescribed, a good place to start the KushCon experience was with the MMJ Nurse, who could explain Colorado MMJ laws and arrange a medical evaluation on the spot, or schedule a private medical consultation at your convenience. Note, laws in Colorado and all but two other MMJ-legal states require MMJ customers to prove local residency to qualify for MMJ certification.
For those with appropriate medical conditions, who met state of Colorado guidelines, there were numerous healthcare providers on site at KushCon2 to provide consultations and issue MMJ certification. The most interesting such MMJ clinic was in an Airstream trailer, by MMD Medical Doctors - even physicians must be creative to stand-out in this flashy industry!
For those who had or received MMJ certificates, there were scores of MMJ dispensaries from Colorado exhibiting at KushCon2, offering a wide range of promotions to attract new customers, from marijuana give-aways (coupons, to be redeemed at their stores) to raffles for significant prizes - many offered on-site health services like massages to attract visitors to their booths - MMJ is highly competitive, in Colorado.
Legally selling MMJ may be highly profitable. As Colorado dispensaries are required to grow 70% of the marijuana they sell - making very low their costs for inventory (that they retail at $300-400/ounce), making profits very high - they can afford to give away free samples. Denver-area KushCon2 attendees shouldn't need to buy MMJ for months, for all the free offers they received.
If one went to all the dispensary booths at KushCon2 and took advantage of every offering and promotion - really hustled - one could have walked away with coupons for many ounces of free MMJ, worth $1,000s. You could get a free massage, and grow lights and other marijuana industry paraphanilia for free or deep discount, as well.
This was an opportunity for industry vendors to showcase and even sell their latest no-THC wares - there was no actual marijuana allowed anywhere at KushCon2... but there were talented local glass blowers demonstrating their techniques, and selling the art they created on the spot.
And there were cannabis commerce entrepreneurs of the non-THC-type at KushCon2, as well, including a hemp soap vendor and Agua Das, a hemp industry inventor interested in energy... and the founder of Hemp I Scream, which Agua says is the only dessert that is good for you.
His hemp milk frozen dessert sandwiches are certainly delicious, and far more refreshing and healthful than ice cream... and legal nationwide, I hope his distribution someday reaches Northeast Ohio. I won't be surprised - Agua is a face of the future of this industry... and what a friendly face.
And KushCon2 was focused on bringing together the leaders of the cannabis industry to share their knowledge and vision for growing the marijuana industries into the future. KushCon2 featured a conference area where a full three-day slate of speakers presented on topics ranging from growing marijuana to aspects of marijuana law.
A session I attended on the MMJ industry started with the moderator pointing out that MMJ is the only industry booming in the American economy today!
Behind every legal MMJ product are many legal MMJ entrepreneurs, who are licensed by the state of Colorado, and pay taxes. As the MOST LOCALIZED INDUSTRY I KNOW, all MMJ and MMJ products sold in Colorado must use Colorado-grown MMJ, and be produced in Colorado - no paraquat-laced Mexican dirt weed sold there, or included in any products sold there. This industry represents the ultimate in good old home-town American agricultural quality, love and ingenuity.
This means MMJ patients get safe, pure,organic, LOCAL medicine, from local sources who pride themselves on the quality of their products. And many labs exhibited at KushCon2, competing for the business of growers who make a point to showcase the purity, potency and perfection of their MMJ with real data.
Most of the attendees and vendors at KushCon2 were certainly legal for MMJ - this was definitely an Industry convention - meaning much of the convention was probably on MMJ during KushCon... you don't need to smoke MMJ to get the medicinal benefits. Just eat some granola... have a mint... lotion your hands... have some pot pop... have a three-day, 50,000 person convention. Everything went smooth as silk... seems pot makes people highly pleasant and productive... and no drunks disrupting things here.
No need to "smoke" anything to get medication from MMJ. KushCon was the best demonstration ever of the range of consumer products now available to MMJ customers - from lotions and ointments to beverages, crackers, salsa... every imaginable sweet and treat... as near as your local dispensary... made possible by cannabis extraction entrepreneurs like at Colorado Bubble Company, working with edibles entrepreneurs like at Dazys (shown sharing a booth at KushCon2 above)... and entrepreneurs like at Cannabis Magic, below...
There are so many Colorado cannabis edibles companies in business now they are forming trade groups - about a dozen shared one row of booths at KushCon2, and promised a wide range of exceptional delights as a cooperative.
Working together allows these local food entrepreneurs to operate as efficiently as possible, as they seek to thrive in uncharted waters... it is not like today's MMJ entrepreneurs have a roadmap to follow. And many cannabis entrepreneurs make significant investments in their technology and product development to bring it to market - consider the investment to bring local cannabis soda pop to market...
Considering the huge investments and profits to be made in the MMJ industries, it is not surprising to see develop in cannabis technologies many innovations for agriculture in America - for example, sophisticated computerized cannabis growing systems...
And, complete MMJ grow systems built into semi trailers, for the ultimate in self-contained portability...
...perfect for the cannabis entrepreneur who wants to make an extra $ million a year in her backyard, or be first to market in any new states that open up to MMJ in the future...
At the end of the growing cycle, there are machines you may lease or buy to separate the bud from the stems and leaves, to clean your product. Being bright green is not a low tech, low intelligence process, and it creates many jobs in varied fields of work.
The 1,000s of workers who are currently benefiting from the medical marijuana industries in Colorado range from government employees, in licensing, taxation and enforcement, to computer programmers and mechanical engineers, to chemists, beverage formulators, bakers, lawyers, trade workers, retailers, wholesalers and distributors, architects, interior decorators, marketing and advertising workers, newspaper and web publishing employees, doctors and nurses, administrators, and real-estate brokers.... to name a few fields of specialization. Oh, and there are damn good farmers. And, there is even already a celebrity chef...
As an information technology consultant, I was especially interested by the many vendors of software for MMJ grow operations and commerce that have sprouted up, and I am making arrangements to evaluate them - I believe the intersection of this Green Revolution and social computing offers an especially exciting opportunity for the open source information systems world.
Other MMJ-related systems of note, presented at KushCon2, addressed surveillance, security, lighting, fertilizing and even growing containers - every booth had something interesting to demonstrate, share or offer.
But the biggest winners of this green revolution, which staged its latest victory last week in Denver, are the millions of suffering Americans living in marijuana-sane states who now may grow their own medicine well, legally, for free... and have legal access to a wealth of healthy, organic, local marijuana-based products and MMJ professionals to ease their pains.
And most of the attendees at KushCon2 - and entrepreneurs in the cannabis industries - are clearly MMJ patients, interested to learn more about their preferred health industry, and be active with that, as so many patients have had to fight for the right to this access to healthcare for many years... and access represents securing a civil right still denied most Americans.
The civil rights and social justice side of the MMJ issue stood front and center for everyone presenting at KushCon2 - from Irvin Rosenfeld, the longest surviving US Federal Marijuana patient, who has written a book and speaks about his struggles - to former New Mexico Governor and announced 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who is an MMJ patient and is campaigning in favor of legalizing and taxing the cannabis economy in America - and who attended KushCon.
This very real Green Revolution is personal-liberty and civil-rights oriented - free-market and small-business-driven - a very real "Pot Party" movement of entrepreneurial, Independent, white-bread, Middle-American, middle-of-the-road, middle-class, baby-boomers-BOOMING, along with their families. It's a family affair.
If you are locked out of this Green Revolution, because you live in a pot-dry state, complain to your Governor or Congresspeople, but don't bother complaining to the pot entrepreneurs. They are too busy getting rich where pot is legal, and planning to expand nationwide into your home town, as they may.
Those living where marijuana remains a criminal, underground economy may only wish for such legal economic opportunity in their home towns... as the industry matures elsewhere.
Poor pot-injustice victims from "dry" states like Ohio are represented at places like KushCon by organizations like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), where pot professionals have been working for years to bring marijuana to medical patients, and have succeeded in 15 states and DC, to date. But they can't bring reform to states like Ohio unless citizens there demand reform. Until then, Ohioans may not benefit from the cannabis economy.
For entrepreneurs in LEGAL states, the businesses in the marijuana industries are maturing and coming together in trade groups, and they are lobbying in Washington and making appearances at industry conventions like KushCon - medical marijuana is truly evolving as big business before the participants' eyes... making it all the more exciting to be a participant, where legal.
Citizens in Colorado are legal to use and make money from cannabis, and the State of Colorado is very active - and was present at KushCon2 - to help entrepreneurs get into and succeed in the cannabis industries, which are now bringing significant economic benefit to the entire state, and viewed as important, rapidly emerging, competitive local-cum-global GREEN industries by those legally able to participate, citizens, and by Colorado leadership.
The more $-billions of "pro-reefer madness" in Colorado - and the more anti-reefer madness in backward places like Ohio - the better for the great state of Colorado!