Land of the Lotus Eaters

The Chalice 2017 Festival

Yesterday I had the opportunity to help my brother with his booth at the Chalice 2017 Hash Festival. I have heard a lot about the weed business, but it was pretty much background noise. I took the first chance I got to get a few clones and that has been it. I haven’t bothered with a card, because I didn’t smoke until California decriminalized possession. This came back to haunt me, but my day was saved by seeing and meeting the awesome people in the community.

That was the real story around the event: The community’s cooperation and freedom of information is amazing. It is what every business should be, and I sincerely hope that the marijuana industry keeps corporate interests out of it for as long as possible.

I drove two and a half hours to get to the San Bernardino Fairgrounds and pulled in just after lunchtime. The fairgrounds were basically a large open kiln at this point in the day. The temperature was well over a hundred degrees, and my polo shirt and jeans felt like an arctic snow-suit. The wind did nothing to cut through the heat. Legend has it that dabbers on the East side of the event saved butane by just holding their glass up to the wind.

I was probably sunburned in the four minutes it took to walk to the ticket counter. The search going in was surprisingly perfunctory and non-invasive. Then came the bad news: I had failed to accurately research the event regulations. A Rec-card was needed to smoke, or even to go to the areas where people could smoke. Well… fuck-berries.

I called Jay, and he laughed into the phone. He explained that he had put my information down as a vendor for his group: Twisty’s Treats Seeds. While I was annoyed at throwing away $80 trying to surprise him, I didn’t get to see him often and I didn’t want to waste it worried about that. He came out front where attractive ladies in lycra and smiles were handing out flyers for a company buying and selling pounds. He gave me the vendor's bracelet he had for me and we walked back to his booth.

The instant you get through the gate dividing the “smoking section” you smell delicious aromas wafting around you. Weed and extracts from all over the country were here and being sampled. A guy, covered head to toe in tattoos, with a green man-bun was discussing the life cycle of haploid plants. A middle aged soccer mom was sniffing a jar of shatter and asking about the hydraulic method. No one looked like what they were, which was customer and business owner. They looked like friends. Like back in the days when the grocer and butcher knew you on sight.

They don’t wear suits and ties, nor do they hold degrees in anything at all. However, they have made a new business model: Cooperative. Now, this is not a new thing, but it is normal people trying to avoid the market altogether, not a business model. I can’t think of another industry that works together in the grass-roots way that the marijuana industry does.

Moreover, I was thrilled to see Jay doing something he really enjoyed and being a success. I mean, people recognizing him from the videos he posts on Instagram, and industry personalities like “The Dabbing Granny” and “Sasquash” knew him by name. Everyone and I mean everyone, declared that my brother makes the finest TERP extracts available. That is saying a lot.

Of course, it helps that it is true, and you should definitely check out his videos on Instagram under the tag “tnt_extractions1” if you are into dabs. Yes, the elite share their secrets in the weed industry. What an incredible concept that someone else may be missing a piece of the picture that you have. By connecting, instead of insulating, the weed industry spurs growth. It is all there on social media, and they want you to work on it. The invitation is open to problem solve, and get recognized.

We toured the grounds to mingle and shake hands with other vendors and suggest sales cooperation. Jay meant to use social media to release a codeword, that word would open up a kind of “scavenger hunt” from one Colorado vendor to the next. It was a stroke of genius, held back by the thin bandwidth available at the event. Still, it was a good idea to build brands for several companies and make direct sales for, at least, one of them.

It was amazing to talk to all of these industry icons, and hear their praise of my brother’s product. The head extractor for EarthGrown Solventless sharing his wisdom and experience out of respect and Jay bouncing ideas off of him, as well. We got sidetracked with idea exchange at every booth and were always greeted with smiles and Jay, with recognition.

TnT Extractions is a highly recognized brand, and Jay goes the extra mile to make the cleanest extracts with the best flavors. It comes out looking like a glass of whiskey with ice in it. With fragrant flavors like “Chocolate Covered Oranges,” “La Mange” and “Gelato #1,” he was a smash hit and sold out before I left at nine. The failure of the video to load hadn’t even slowed his sales down.

I am staggered by the positivity in the industry right now, and I think that the key to its success will be hanging on to this grass-roots mentality. It’s a Garden of Eden, right now, but it’s current residents need to keep their eyes open for the temptations of the Serpent: Corporate structure.

If it hasn’t happened already, it will. Someone will take a marijuana company public, and the party will come to a screeching halt. The MBAs and attorneys will want a slice of this extremely profitable pie and everything will change. Harvesting will pay minimum wages, strains will become proprietary, techniques will be hidden away from competitors. Instead of industry growth, people will simply seek to grow their share of the market, at the expense of others.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day, and I recommend getting out to the fairgrounds today while the event is going on. Even if you aren’t a smoker or a dabber. It is just amazing to see the spirit of this growing business. Behind the tattoos, piercings and other things that you are not used to seeing is a whole lot of positivity and communal effort. That’s something we used to have in this country, and it is good to see it back.

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Land of the Lotus Eaters