The Clever Root

Spring / Summer 2016

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IF "CANNABIS CULTURE" WAS EVER homogenous, it certainly wasn't for long. Nowhere is this more evident than at California's cannabis events. For decades, these functions have put the "gray market" industry on display, from the back-to-the- landers who farm organically, to the pesti- cide hawkers, to the SoCal cannabis bros. This slice-of-industry intersection means those who attend get a taste of the gamut California cannabis offers. For those who have experienced festivals the last few years, that gamut has visibly changed as the industry has shifted. Most noticeable is the sheer volume of cannabis competitions, festivals and expos now hap- pening in California. Only a handful of small events existed a decade ago. Now farmers, patients and businesses are inundated with weekend after weekend of opportunities to meet each other. California has become a particular hotspot, as states like Washington and countries like the Netherlands have made it illegal or unfeasible to host events that actually include cannabis products. LETTER FROM THE CANNABIS EDITOR But the big change hasn't been the number of events celebrating and exploring cannabis. The style of brands being developed and how they pres- ent themselves has been the most dramatic shift. You'll still see SoCal-inspired brands with bikini-clad women offering vape pen samples from anonymous sources, but they are becoming a smaller demo- graphic, especially at events like The Emerald Cup. The industry trend has leaned toward artisanal and eco-friendly niche products, and this has allowed the hidden gems of the Emerald Triangle to publicly take pride in what they do and share who they are. Cannabis farmers who want to be recognized for their heritage strains are sharing the genetic story as well as their sustainable, organic practices. Brands like Happy Days Farm are sharing their personal sto- ries and give a glimpse of how they steward cannabis plants through the season. Some regional farmers are coming together under a single brand with high standards, like True Humboldt. Value-added products like The Highest Grade vape pen credit the farm along with test results to attract an upscale audience to its exceptional quality cartridges. Edible companies like Forage Apothecary create delicious chocolates that are gluten-free, wheat-free, raw, organic, sugar-free and dairy-free. Events like The Emerald Cup, the Golden Tarp Award and Terpestival may draw a raised eyebrow from those who frown on cannabis, but in real- ity, such events encourage the positive growth of the white market and the proliferation of clean cannabis. Advertising options for cannabis brands are limited (though The Clever Root is clearly an exception!), and social media accounts can be shut down. In-person meetings and introductions remain a vital and practiced marketing element to craft cannabis farmers and artisanal producers. On a personal note, after two years as editor- in-chief and event producer for, I ended my contract amicably in March to pursue other projects. Some of those include launching the Humboldt County Cannabis Chamber of Commerce with local partners to support the growing business needs of this production region, and I'm coordinat- ing the Terpestival competition that will celebrate cannabis terpenes and feature a range of educational speakers on July 23, 2016 in Hopland, California. ■cr JEREMY BALL Allison Edrington 1 2 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t The style of brands being developed and how they present themselves has been the most dramatic shift at California events. Modern cannabis brands are sleek, mainstream and clean. Tie-dye need not apply. A New Era for Branding at California Cannabis Events

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