Stormin Norman has made a name for himself in the glass art community over the last few years. Norman grew up in Seattle, Washington, where cannabis is a part of the culture of the city. For Norman, the introduction came in high school, and the more he got into cannabis, the more curious he became about the utensils used to consume the plant. “Pipes are a tool that go along with cannabis, so I just became more aware of the culture when I first started smoking,” says Norman. In his early 20s, Norman stepped into his first high-end glass studio at Puffin Glass Studios, a shop formerly operating in North Seattle. “I went into the shop and they had local work from people like Scott Deppe and Quave, and the Deppe pipe had a spinning tetrahedral with some skulls and it was so beyond anything I had ever imagined that someone would take the time to make. I was used to seeing spoons and beakers, and then I walked into that shop and saw those pieces and it totally changed my perspective,” reflects Norman. “It was a wild experience.”
It was around this time that Norman was bored with his production job and decided to start learning how to blow glass. His first time on the torch was with friend and fellow artist, Scoz Glass. The experience solidified that glass blowing was something Norman wanted to take seriously, and Stormin Norman officially began the craft in December of 2014. “I worked at Seven Point Studios that was started by Nate Dizzle and he taught me a lot and taught me the basics, and then Kevin Quave moved into the studio space and I learned from him and it built from there. It was basically learning bits and pieces from everyone I was around and had the chance to work with, and it was a natural progression once I got into the work. I got introduced to Quave early on when he was starting Quave Club Banger and really had the chance to learn when it was a small room with like four people working in it. I really had the chance to be a fly on the wall and that’s when I was introduced to Elbo, Joe P, WJC and some other artists in the industry,” he recalls.
Although new to the craft of making glass pipes, Norman was committed to learning and progressing as quickly as he could. “I was still working my regular job at the time and would work my normal eight-hour day and then go to Seven Point and blow glass till they closed the studio. I was basically making marbles, little trinkets and I was never really working for someone. I had some money saved up and eventually I quit my job because you can’t have a job and blow glass as much as you need to. You need to put in that eight to ten hours a day to see the progression you want,” says Norman. After putting in time on the torch making art and off the torch building relationships, he started to see serious improvement in his work. “I didn’t have many skills when I started so I was selling whatever I could make. After my first trip to the Burning Man festival with a bunch of friends from the culture I came back with a new drive and and had a lot of new inspiration and worked even harder and tried to push my limits to see what I could do and what I could make,” says Norman.
At the time, around mid-2014, many artists were making bubblers, banger hangers and other simple functionals, and the recycler had become a very popular functional design. Norman wanted to make something new, something different and after trial and error he ended up with his first Orbuculum, a crystal ball design that has become one of his signatures. “I draw a lot and sometimes it just helps lead me to new ideas, and a lot don’t have any function but it helps lead me to new concepts that end up working. The first orb was really tricky; I messed up the first one and then I realized it was going to be really hard to get my sculptures to look like the drawings I sketched up, and it naturally progressed into the first Orbuculum around December of 2015,” says Norman.
As the career of Stormin Norman has continued to expand, he continues to take inspiration from his friends. “WJC and Quave have been good friends and the most recent large inspirations for my work, and it’s fun to have mentors and people you can build off of. It’s all been building, the hash is getting better, the glass is getting better and the community is continuing to build itself among all of that, and I’m looking forward to pushing the boundaries and making more intricate work. I want to travel more and spread this culture to other places around the world. We are onto something. Making the best hash and best glass in the world is exciting to be a part of and we have to spread that,” he says.
Artwork by Stormin Norman has been featured in some of the largest glass art shows to date, including Heaterz, Wook Show, Intrinsic and the recent All Japan Show in downtown Denver. Glass pipes and other work crafted by Stormin Norman can be viewed on his Instagram page at @Stormin__Norman and can be purchased at various galleries across the country. ♦
Location: Jackson County Expo, 1 Peninger Road, Medford-Ashland, Oregon
Celebrate both halves of the cannabis plant at The Hemp and Cannabis Fair. With equal emphasis on the psychoactive varieties some would call marijuana and the non-psychoactive varieties most would call hemp, this fair is a general celebration of the plant’s legalization. Sure, calling it The Hemp and Cannabis Fair is a bit redundant, but the abbreviation wouldn’t work otherwise. www.thcfair.com
If you go to only one cannabis trade show this year, make sure it’s the INDO EXPO. Featuring the best in cutting edge cultivation, lighting, branding, packaging and everything else related to commercial cannabis, this trade show is the place to be for business owners and entrepreneurs. There may be no better distillation of the industry. indoexpo.com
Location: Lionsgate Event Center, Lafayette, Colorado
Flowers are an integral part of every wedding, so why not incorporate the flowers of the cannabis plant into yours? With plenty of cannabis related vendors on hand, the Cannabis Wedding Expo is the place to be whether you’re looking to serve cannabis to your guest or just give a subtle nod to the plant during the ceremony. Get Tickets
Date: Every Sunday between, Jan 14th, 2018 – Aug 26th, 2018
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Rocky Mountain High Tours is looking to step up the social consumption scene with this series of posh get-togethers. Billed as a cocktail party for cannabis, the Sativa Soiree will feature hors d’oeuvres, infused mocktails and detailed information on a selection of featured sativa strains — which will, of course, be available for sampling. Get Tickets
This beefy grinder has become my go-to at home. The hefty design made of anodized aircraft-grade aluminum is big enough that you won’t have to load it multiple times while you’re rolling a fat blunt, and the array of sharp, diamond-shaped teeth make quick work of even the stickiest and densest buds. If you’re stuck with some truly bammer brick (we feel sorry for you, really) the top even has finger grooves so you can really torque down. Falling into the “I didn’t know I wanted that, but now I don’t know how I got by without it” category, the Zeus Bolt comes with a small plastic scoop to measure out your ground-up flower or keef from the bottom chamber. The magnetic lid keeps the top firmly in place when not in use, and I’ve found that it keeps the top pieces stuck nicely to my metal rolling tray while I have the flower chamber open. I’m sure I’ll be using this grinder for some time to come. Check it out at tvape.com. ♦
Reliable and portable flower vaporizers can be kind of elusive, but the Utillian 420 Vaporizer is a competent, well-made option for those looking to vaporize cannabis on the go. Solidly constructed and featuring an ergonomic design that fits nicely in the hand, the Utillian has enough heft that it won’t get dashed to pieces in a pocket or purse compartment but is still small enough to fit. With four heat settings ranging from 190˚ C up to 220˚ C, you’re sure to find the right setting for the moisture and density of the material you’re loading. The glass mouthpiece delivers consistent and smooth hits from the ceramic chamber and the digital readout ensures you will never be caught with a dead battery, something that is always a gamble when picking up other vapes on the way out of the door. The biggest downside is the rather small vaporization chamber, which needs to be reloaded after just about every rotation, requiring the mouthpiece to be unscrewed. While this isn’t something I’d want to risk during a crowded concert, it’s just fine for a more low-key affair. At just $90 (Canadian), you could definitely do a lot worse. Check them out at tvape.com. ♦
Maybe you’ve heard it from friends time and again, or maybe it’s happened to you: you are finally in your hotel room, enjoying your first joint when there’s a banging at the door. Someone has complained about the smell and their weed-sniffing security has sniffed themselves to your hotel room door. Whether you just get a warning or you must pay their ridiculous fine, your high has been blown.
So many people have decided to avoid the hotel hassle altogether and have started booking their accommodations through Airbnb. This creative company has an abundance of options when it comes to fun and unique accommodations for travelers of all types.
We did a bit of digging and came up with a few cannabis-friendly options for canna-travelers in four of the major cities that have legalized recreational cannabis. These places are either marked as “Smoking allowed,” or we have personally contacted them to ask if it is “420 friendly.” (Just a side note, of the 15 or so accounts we did contact, only one said no. So, it never hurts to ask about a place you want to stay, just to be confident before you book.)
Check out these options for cannabis-friendly Airbnbs in Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver and Las Vegas. ♦
Your Own Space: Hot Tub in Nature in the Midst of the City, $120 nightly
This listing is more of a bed and breakfast style accommodation. With an emphasis on higher consciousness, which includes cannabis, I can feel the relaxing vibes from 1,000 miles away. Taking one of the complementary pipes for a dip in the outdoor, saltwater hot tub sounds like a perfect end to a day in Seattle. Book here.
Splurge or Share: A Cottage Fit for a Fairy King from $202 nightly
Just outside of Seattle, in Redmond, Washington sits what the host calls a “cobbage” (half cabin, half cottage). This bright and airy cobbage has a great veggie garden, free for guests to use, and it’s right on the water. See coyotes, owls and hawks in this remote-ish location while taking the paddle boat out for a spin. Book here.
Your Own Space: Shimmy Your Way into this ‘60s Pop Art from $150 nightly
Colorful with a well-thought-out design, this one to two person studio is bitchin’! The walls and floors are a fun site and the little patio is adorable. The owner is also the designer and she has two of these far-out studios. The neighborhood of Silverlake has a great hipster scene, with tons of restaurants within walking distance. Book here. This place must be some kind of special because it’s booked through November!
Splurge or Share: Downtown High Rise Starting at $324 nightly
I love the city life. And this drop dead gorgeous two-bedroom, two-bath gives you just that. Enjoy the nightlife of this bustling town, or just watch it all from the amazing views of this 36th floor condo. This listing comes with two parking spaces, making your vacation even simpler. Bring your friends along because this place houses seven! Book here.
Budget-Friendly Option: Decked Out Bedroom in DTC area from $35 nightly
This private bedroom reminds me of a cushy hotel room. Wrap up in the provided robe, grab some munchies from your munchie drawer and get ready for chill mode. This shared space is meant for one or two and smoking is allowed on the patio. Book here.
Your Own Space: Get Ritzy in the Ritz Carlton Building from $150 nightly
airbnb.com/Chantal & George
Another downtown stunner, this one-bedroom is in the same building as the Ritz Carlton right in downtown Denver. Enjoy shopping, nightlife, museums and more at this location. Enjoy a sunset toke on the lovely balcony to express your freedom in this great state. Book here.
Splurge or Share: Ultra Sheek Uptown Apartment with a Hot Tub from $199 nightly
Stay in this well-appointed mansion on the edge of Denver’s Capitol Hill and even throw a party. So many Airbnb hosts frown upon get-togethers, but this host encourages it. Have up to 50 people over for an evening (there’s only room for eight overnight guests) of fun on the oversized outdoor space. Or, you can just scoot on over to the pub next door, also owned by the host, and hang there in the evenings. Book here.
Your Own Space: Quiet Surrender Just Outside of the City from $108 nightly
Stay in the guest house right off the pool area and enjoy nightly BBQ and a dip in the cool waters. Wake and bake in the garden, watching the fish in the coy pond. Then take off for sightseeing and shows in the evenings. Great for up to five, this is a quiet solution to the bustling sounds of the Vegas Strip. Book here.
Splurge or Share: Bathtub with Views of the Palms from $400 nightly
Stay at Mario Andretti’s high rise right on the strip. This laid-out crib is perfect for the Vegas party animal. Have a girl’s weekend in this dope pad and blow some O’s on the wrap around balcony. Then, after a long night out, take a break at the spa downstairs, or plan a day at the pool on the sixth floor. Book here.
Can sustainable furniture save the world? Against all odds, Resin Rose LLC believes that’s the first step. Beginning in a state hell-bent on prohibition, diving headfirst into a market saturated with cheap, mass-produced furniture, the husband-wife duo is creating custom forever furniture with sturdy steel frames and sustainable hardwoods, all upholstered in hemp.
When they first set up shop in Austin, Texas circa 2014, the humble artisans found their first roadblock in explaining to local furniture dealers their pieces weren’t supposed to be smoked.
“We were making this furniture because it was what we believed in, and we couldn’t sell it to save our life,” laughed Rosemary Neary. “All the furniture places all around town, what they said was, ‘Well, who’s going to smoke it?’”
With a formal background in fashion design, Neary has been involved in cannabis activism through NORML for many years. She first met Resin Galvao at Austin’s Yellow Jacket Social Club and knew immediately they were in for a wild ride.
“First of all, he had a real mullet at the time because he was living in Chile, [and] he superimposed his mullet face onto an ‘80’s Jordache ad. I had just gotten off work and he was like, ‘So, what do you do?’ and I was like, ‘Hold on bud, let me just get a drink.’ And he was like, ‘Well, I used to model for Jordache,’ and throws this picture in my face. Then he proceeded to show me an entire calendar of himself in a speedo with this same mullet, and I’m like, ‘You gotta be kidding me. Who are you?!’” Neary recalled, adding lovingly, “We’ve been together, laughing and traveling ever since. We pretty much packed a bag and went on a long road trip after that, and that was it.”
Resin Galvao sewing
Described by Neary as a spatial genius, Resin Galvao first learned how to crochet from his mom. While touring with the Grateful Dead, Galvao was known for hitchhiking with a sewing machine, a cooler, a lawn chair, and a sign calling out “Let’s Carpool.” Galvao made a living at rest stops sewing and selling hemp hats with custom embroidery, and hiding stash pockets in clothing.
“I was known for having all the best stash pockets,” he said. “I had like 15 stash pockets all over my clothes and they were super hidden.”
While selling his wares on tour with Phish, Galvao met EnviroTextiles founder Barbara Filippone from whom he still sources hemp fabric.
In Lake Tahoe, Galvao apprenticed under Dave Nuoffer at Al’s Upholstery Shop before launching Green Foot Furniture in Austin in 2009, where he milled pallets into high-end furniture. Here, training and trade came together and Galvao made his first hemp couch.
Today, Neary and Galvao can be found on the shores of Lake Tahoe in Truckee, California, where they run upholstery services as the Tufted Door and create original sustainable furniture as Resin Rose LLC.
Though their mission is pure and their products come with a 25-year guarantee, they’ve still found that “forever furniture” simply isn’t really in fashion.
“Most furniture is made in India or China, and it’s made for pennies,” said Galvao. “It’s really hard to break through into the industry because of all the competition and how cheaply stuff is made. It’s hard to get people to understand how dangerous [cheap fire retardant is], or how clean what we’re making is, and what they’re paying for is the cleanliness and the strength of it.”
Resin Rose products are built to be heirlooms, passed down from one generation to the next.
“Everything [else] is meant to break and fall apart so you buy more. That’s the consumer culture,” Neary said, taking a jab at fiberboard kingpins like Ikea.
“There’s just no more room for that stuff, the population is growing and growing. You have to be more responsible and we’re trying to do our part,” Neary continued. “It disgusts me a little bit — you just go around on trash pickup day and every single neighborhood is filled with mattresses and couches, and it’s toxic.”
“We could have made our furniture out of any material, but we couldn’t stand behind it,” Galvao said of his choice to use only hemp fabrics. “We believe in it and it’s very satisfying, being responsible like that.”
The couple’s latest design is a completely modular set made to evolve with its owners. At its core, the Resin Rose line is a steel frame sandwiched into sheets of wood, with slots for arms and custom cushions.
“Basically, it can be a couch, it can be a chair, it can be an ottoman, it can be a sectional, it could be a chaise, it could be anything,” Galvao explained.
Neary and Galvao have filled their home with furniture of their own design and making, and share it all with their American bulldogs Marsha Mellow and Barbarella.
In addition to making furniture, Neary and Galvao teach upholstery classes on Tuesdays at the Truckee Roundhouse makerspace. Neary notes that their teaching styles compliment each other — after Galvao likes to launch into a project like a mad scientist throwing around jargon and supplies, Neary slows down and shows techniques step by deliberate step. The couple love to share their knowledge and watch what others in their community are able to create.
By sharing their knowledge and creating lasting products, these two couch potatoes just might have what it takes to save the world — one living room at a time. ♦
Christian Webster, better known as Chris Webby, is a rapper, environmentalist and cannabis enthusiast from Norwalk, Connecticut. At 28 years old, Webby has already gained a reputation in the world of hip-hop for witty lines, a passion for cannabis and a love for the environment.
Webby wrote his first raps as a sixth grader. It immediately called to him and he soon knew that it was something he wanted to pursue as a career. Not long after, in the eighth grade, he was first introduced to cannabis. Looking back, Webby says he believes it may have been too early for him to begin consuming the plant, contributing to his existing attention — a topic he broaches in his music. But for a teenage Webby, the ramifications weren’t as manifest, and he continued to partake. Eventually, after his second time getting busted, he made a stand with his parents who, despite being cannabis consumers themselves, disapproved of their teenage son’s usage. He told them that cannabis was something he cared deeply about, and that it would continue to be a part of his life. “I am an only child, so I had some leeway so I knew the penalty wouldn’t be too severe,” says Webby with a grin.
His relationship with the plant continued through high school, spurring him to develop his entrepreneurial skill set. “I sold a little weed on the side and I worked at a Mexican restaurant, and people would hit me up and I would put weed in the chip bags and would slide them chips and salsa with their weed,” Webby recalls with a laugh.
Chris Webby performing live, photo by @thc_samuel
Graduating from a stoned high schooler crafting raps and battling others at parties, he briefly attended Hofstra University in New York, but left at the age of 20 to pursue his rap career full time. Webby has been in the hip-hop arena for nearly 10 years. In that time, his relationship with cannabis has changed slightly. “I run an independent business, I have to be sharp. I use cannabis now, in my twenties, more as a reward system compared to when I was younger,” he says. “Weed is with me but I also treat it with respect and take what I have to get accomplished into consideration with my consumption. When there’s business to be done and phone calls to be made, I’ll save my smoke sessions for later in the day. When I’m in the studio it’s a different story though. That part of the job often benefits from a solid high, at least in my experience.”
“I’ve had experiences with the right strain. Sometimes I smoke weed in the studio and it puts rocket boosters on me and I work at a higher capacity. I think it’s deeper than indica and sativa and really the full combo of what is in a strain. I’ve loved AK-47 specifically since I was younger,” says Webby. Preferring sativa strains over heavy indica flowers, he admits he is still learning about the nuances of the plant, including terpenes and the new technology legal states have brought to the marketplace. “When you’re raised out east, we know and hear the names and know about some of the strains, but it’s not something we are exposed to in terms of having real options. It’s always been what the dealer has, because it’s been the only option. I’ve become a lot more knowledgeable now that I can come to Colorado and California so frequently on tour, and I learn more and more each time but back home it’s still different. The fact that we have an option now in legal states, where we can ask the right questions. And now it’s to the point where you can pick and choose through flower, edibles, oils, pens, and that is an amazing thing. It redefines everything,” says Webby.
Chris Webby in the lab, photo by @thc_samuel
But while the legal market is something special, it’s not the only source of weed for Webby. In the course of cross-country tours multiple times a year, including to states that do not have legal cannabis, he often finds fans more than willing to provide him with cannabis. “Weed always finds a way. There’s good weed everywhere and my fans are awesome enough to bring it to me,” says Webby.
But at this point in his career Webby’s tours frequently bring him to legal adult-use states, like Colorado, where he spent 4/20 weekend and filmed his recent “Twist Again” music video with cannabis enthusiast The Dabbing Granny. “It was a crazy journey and it’s been gradual,” says Webby. A recent highlight was opening for Tech N9ne, one of the most successful independent rappers in the world, on a countrywide tour. He has also collaborated with Tech N9ne on songs and has worked with B-Real of the legendary rap group Cypress Hill. “People are starting to realize that it’s not easy to last this long in this industry and to maintain and stay relevant for this long,” mentions Webby. With a career spanning 13 projects and an outpouring of singles in 2017, he’s more excited for the future than ever before and pouring that energy into his current projects. “I wanted to reactivate my fan base, while at the same make music that will transcend beyond that and connect with new fans,” he says.
No matter how successful Webby may get, and how broad an audience he may reach, his passion for environmentalism still seeps into his music through songs such as “Stand Up“ and “Questionnaire”.
Photo courtesy of Chris Webby
“I’ve been conscious and extremely zealous about environmental issues for my entire life. I’ve always felt connected to nature, it’s important. It’s the world we live in and other things live here too, there’s a way to live in harmony with nature and we just don’t do it. I think we have a duty to leave the planet a little better than when we got here. Not everyone is a hip-hop artist and has this platform so that is kind of my superpower and that’s what I try to do. I linked with the organization 1% for The Planet, so moving forward I will be donating one percent of my income to environmental causes. Everyone can afford to care a little bit and I think it’s important,” says Webby. “Becoming a part of the environmentalist movement is really my calling and my platform is allowing me to get to a point where I can really do something about it. It’s always been the duty of musicians and people with a voice to use it for something other than their own personal gain. Of course I want the money, but at the same time, everyone has to stand for something.” ♦
Higher Grade is a medical-only dispensary located in Denver’s Berkely neighborhood and is stocked with a selection of unique strains I haven’t found at many other Colorado dispensaries. With a wide array of concentrates, edibles and flower, Higher Grade has recently become one of my favorite places to shop. I stopped in recently to give their Birthday Cake flower a try, a strain that I haven’t seen much in Colorado. A genetic mixture of Girl Scout Cookies and Cherry Pie, the aroma of the flower is smooth and sweet. The light green buds were medium in size and had a consistent covering of trichomes along with spots of orange pistils. When smoked, the strain’s sweetness and slight fruity flavor come through very well. After a few bowls in a brand new pipe, I was happily relaxed, free of chronic knee pain and ready to enjoy the rest of the evening. Although not the most potent when it comes to THC content, testing at a range of 15.6-22.6 percent, the flower’s effects is bolstered by the mixture of other cannabinoids and terpenes it contains. This strain provides a relaxing effect that would be great for anyone in need of pain relief or just help with relaxing after a long day. www.highergradeco.com
This year’s Marijuana Business Conference was held in Las Vegas in mid-November, just four months after Nevada legalized the sale of cannabis. Among the more than 17,000 attendees estimated to have participated in the industry’s largest conference, Ebbu positioned itself for something much larger.
Founded by Jon Cooper in 2013, ebbu LLC has been investing in multi-million-dollar pharmaceutical research and development efforts in Evergreen, Colorado for a singular purpose: deliver the exact same experience, every single time. This task isn’t an easy one. And it is the primary reason for the shift in focus of ebbu from consumer-facing products to technology-based formulations that deliver consistent and reliable experiences time after time. Ebbu, as Cooper puts it, has transitioned from a cannabis company to a cannabinoid company. And this transition is about to make big waves throughout the cannabis space with upcoming partnerships.
At a private party held in the gorgeous estate of Wayne Newton, big business was seated at the table, and they were hungry for more than the five-star meal being served. Green Table and ebbu hosted a private, invitation-only engagement for just under 200 attendees ranging from legislators and celebrities to influential cannabis business leaders and Wall Street investors. While enjoying a feast from Chef Randy Placeres, guests entertained business pitches and talked plans for future investments in the burgeoning industry.
“When I actually got into this business, I feared cannabis. I grew up supporting ‘Just Say No.’ We were told that all these drugs were bad, including marijuana,” Cooper offered at the close of the meal. After recounting his first experience with the plant in college — enjoying a 3-foot bong that “totally wrecked” him — Cooper continued that his experience with the plant could be described as inconsistent at best, with experiences ranging from awesome and euphoric, to horrific and anxious.
A beaker of oil at the Ebbu lab. photo by Ben Owens @cannabenoid
As an adult with a family, Cooper had little interest in the cannabis industry. This was largely related to his uneasiness to trust cannabis to deliver an experience that consumers could trust. “Why would I try something that I didn’t trust?” Cooper asked the audience. But after many stories and exchanges with people whose lives had been immeasurably changed or saved by the plant, he started to wonder if there was a way to isolate certain experiences. “What if I could grab those awesome experiences and capture that in a bottle, and it didn’t matter where I went, I could get that same exact experience every time?”
Ebbu developed an extraction machine, Zeus, that can isolate 18 compounds from the cannabis plant. This allows them to create specific combinations in a laboratory setting and experiment on in-house grown cells, like serotonin receptors, to identify the most ideal formulations for certain “feelings” with a variety of cannabinoid and terpene ratios. “We grow live human receptors in house,” Cooper explains, “which allow us to measure and understand how to fix things like anxiety and depression and create things like Chill and Energy sensations.” These formulations can be used in vapes, edibles, topicals and more to deliver a consistent experience. But before ebbu could bring its vast library of human sensations to market, the company was approached by others looking to invest in, or purchase, certain formulations for proprietary use.
While sipping medicated mocktails at the party crafted by Top Shelf Budtending’s Andrew Mieure, the comparison to alcoholic beverages comes up. Cooper posits that if you go anywhere in the world and you buy the same beer, you’ll have the same experience; why can’t people have the same sensation with cannabis? Working with Mieure, Cooper’s idea was that consumers would get a better sense of how many drinks they would require to acheive the desired state of mind if each drink offered the exact same cannabinoid combinations. Knowing how much cannabis you’re consuming becomes as important as knowing the ABV of your beverage, and many companies cannot yet deliver the same exact experience each and every time.
Ebbu’s partnerships efforts are being highlighted in a modest rebrand, moving toward the “ebbu Experience” as a whole, powered by ebbu’s cannabis innovations. These efforts are beginning to see the light of day in the public market, and large moves by global interests are reinforcing the optimism for the future of the industry. Large deals like the recent purchase of a portion of the multi-billion dollar Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth by liquor giant Constellation Brands have reinforced the possibility of mainstream, legalized cannabis. Constellation bet in a big way on the future of mainstream cannabis, but unless they can deliver on consistent, predictable experiences, similar to those that ebbu has already developed, Constellations products may never see the light of day.
If the Marijuana Business Conference revealed anything, it’s that there is a plenty of optimism about where the industry is going, what it will be able to deliver, and how soon it will be able to deliver it. Be on the lookout for products powered by ebbu in the next 8-12 months as partnership efforts become public and the mainstream cannabis industry gets a bit more consistent. ♦
Cannabis is going primetime with the first nationally televised ad for a cannabis-derived product. Palmetto Harmony made history this month by securing the first advertisement of its kind for their line of hemp-derived CBD products set to air across the nation.
The 30-second TV spot (which was produced by DCP Media in conjunction with THC Productions, the video division of The Hemp Connoisseur) is set to air on several nationwide cable networks as well as 71 local stations, featuring the innocuous imagery one would expect from just about any wellness product on the market. What the ad doesn’t feature is any mention of cannabis or the cannabinoids contained in Palmetto Harmony’s products.
“Because it’s a national commercial, we had to be very, very careful what we say,” says Palmetto Harmony CEO Janel Ralph. “In order to get our foot in the door this is the way it needs to be structured.”
The ad may represent a watershed moment in the marketing of cannabis products, but Ralph is all too aware of the fine line required to not just have the ad approved for national broadcast, but to avoid offending federal food and drug regulators. Claims of efficacy are out of the question without scientific studies backing them, a problem raised by a series of FDA warning letters sent to several CBD sellers in September.
With the threat of a federal crackdown looming larger than ever, the ad would seem to represent at least a slight tempt of fate, but Ralph isn’t concerned. “If I conduct myself in a state of fear of what would happen then nothing will ever get done, so I can’t do that,” she says.
Ralph says that Palmetto operates legally under the 2014 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp pilot programs under certain conditions. The CBD in Palmetto’s products is sourced from state-legal grows in Kentucky and Colorado, and as for the ad, she’s being incredibly cautious, hoping that it will lead viewers to the company’s website, where the products’ cannabinoid content is apparent and customer reviews serve as the only indication of its use in the treatment of any medical conditions — though even this gives her some reservations.
With as much surety as one can have in the situation, Ralph is more than happy to be the first to make such a stand. “I’ve never felt like I have an illegal business because I don’t,” she says confidently.
Navigating all of this means that Ralph has to spend less time on her business and more time acting as a lobbyist, lawyer or politician just to be sure that she is staying within the not-so-clearly scribed lines. “I have to wear many hats,” she says. “It comes at you from so many different directions.”
But for Ralph, this tumultuous dance is worth the hassle. “I love and respect this industry, even though it’s wasn’t something I ever wanted to actually be in,” she says.
Ralph founded Palmetto Harmony after struggling to find worthwhile CBD products to treat her daughter’s lissencephaly, a rare disorder in which the brain fails to develop its characteristic folds, leading intractable seizures. Ralph began her ingress into the world of CBD treatment as many parents do, hoping to find a miraculous solution overlooked by the medical establishment, which led her to found the Facebook group CBD 4 Children w/ Epilepsy.
“I figured if I created a platform for these people that are looking for it, then eventually somebody would step up and supply them,” says Ralph. “That was a horrible mistake.”
Rather than serving as a source for product information, the page introduced her to what she refers to as the “Facebook industry” of CBD sellers. In the gray market of online CBD products, Ralph found a wealth of dubious vendors and few properly labeled products. “Most of them didn’t even have CBD in them, to be honest with you,” she says. Some of these products were high in THC, she claims, and some even contained potentially harmful contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides.
The ordeal propelled Ralph into the cannabis industry, where she linked up with a Kentucky-based farmer growing high-CBD hemp to treat his own epileptic child during the first year of the state’s pilot program, and in March of 2015 she launched Palmetto Harmony.
The company takes its name from Ralph’s home state of South Carolina — known as the Palmetto State — and Ralph’s very first customer: her daughter, Harmony.
While the company sources its hemp CBD from subcontracted farms in Colorado and Kentucky, its manufacturing facility is in South Carolina, making Palmetto Harmony the state’s first cannabis company, according to Ralph. South Carolina’s hemp program will be coming online next year, and Ralph is planning to move into their 45,000-square-foot growing facility to allow for further expansion of production.
Ralph’s goal at Palmetto is to address the issues she found when first entering the CBD marketplace as a consumer. She’s striving for transparency in sourcing and verifiable cannabinoid, terpene and contaminant readouts from by labs certified by the International Organization for Standardization that can be independently verified by consumers.
Ralph is a lifelong customer of her own company, having replaced 95 percent of the drugs prescribed to her daughter with CBD products manufactured by her company. She’s posted her daughter’s before and after EEG images on her personal Facebook page, showing what Harmony’s neurologist described as nothing short of divine intervention. “It is so shocking that anybody with a layman’s eyes can see how her brain, on every single level, has now woken up and started to function and connect together,” Ralph says of the images.
Of course, none of this is apparent in the ad, or in any of the company’s marketing material. Instead, Ralph is relying on the curiosity of potential customers and the reviews of existing ones on the website to elucidate the company’s television spot. But even with this cautious approach, Palmetto Harmony is making historic progress. ♦