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Event Recap by Kassie

Event Recap by Kassie Kristoff The First Annual East Coast Cannabis Conference Puts Portland, Maine on the Map J40 It is day one of the East Coast Cannabis Conference, will continue to build throughout the day, as patients and cannabis lovers mingle with doctors, vendors and caregivers, all united for one common purpose: to support the cannabis industry, and each other. There are booths lining the room showcasing ev- sex oils and chocolate bars. Regally positioned at the back of the room, a case containing 41 strains of the best smoke in the state sits proudly, housing a drool-worthy collection of cannabis. A handful of these spectacular specimens will later tonight be crowned the best of the best in the much anticipated High 95 Cup, a throwback to the infamous Cannabis Cup. I talk with Greg Matthias, an entrant in the Cup with his as, are growers from New Gloucester, Maine, who also make and bake their own cannabis salves and edibles. They share with me that they are excited to network and to learn as much as they can, as well as to participate in the Cup. This appears to be the theme of the weekend; interested onlookers come and go, milling around and gathering information, and caregivers, medical professionals and others in the industry remain to network and share support and resources. The vibe is one of interest and excitement, and the conference attracts people from all over New England and beyond. I speak to a couple looking to get started in the industry from Hall, Massachusetts, who are impressed with the conference, comparing it favorably to others that they have I run into a man named Andrew at a food truck, while waiting for my fried peanut butter and honey sandwich. As we bond over our mutual desire exploring the medical side of cannabis that he is involved with, along with a host of other doctors, researchers and pharmacists across the United States, he has traveled from Rhode Island to support a friend speaking on a panel this weekend, as well to network - bigger…On the medical side, this is arguably the most ment, or pain doctors, in one of the largest hospital systems in the country. So this is not people just sort - Maine Ganja Grrrl Gang

The Healing Rose ing all over the world. It’s time for this country to get involved a little more seriously, and that’s what I’m working on.” Andrew is not alone in his dedication to expanding cannabis research and providing wider access to patients. The panels are full of passionate and knowledgeable speakers, discussing topics ranging from the endocannabinoid system to genetics to politics, with notable speakers from medical clinics such as Intergr8 health in Falmouth, Maine, and members of a nurse’s activist coalition and patient advocacy group called “Patients Out of Time.” Treatment of adolescents with cannabis is discussed on the “Medical Cannabis, Science, Industry and Delivery” panel, as well as treatment of the elderly population. Cannabis, according to the doctors and nurses on the panel, is showing itself to be a very safe and effective alternative to the plethora of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs that our elderly are currently prescribed, as well as a means of treating the depression and anxiety that many of our elderly suffer from when living in a long term care facility. The barriers that prevent access to cannabis are a common theme this weekend; in any type of medical facility, caregivers are afraid to allow or prescribe cannabis for fear of losing their medical licenses. Though many states have passed medical and recreational laws, cannabis is still federally prohibited. The nurses from “Patients out of Time” are very passionate about working to change this, and have put aside their own fears of losing their licenses in order to fight for a cause that they believe in, and a medicine that is dramatically improving the quality of, if not saving, lives. On Saturday evening Roots of Creation takes the stage, doing a sound check before introducing “Crash Berry”, a very animated cannabis enthusiast who hosts the High 95 Cup in a canary yellow smoking jacket. Crash Berry calls a few of his fellow judges up to the stage, and they recount their experiences testing the proliferous amounts of cannabis entered into the Cup. Luckily for them, elimination rounds had previously narrowed more than 180 entries down to a slightly more manageable 41. Had they been required to smoke all 180 strains, it is possible that they would still be comatose, surrounded by empty Ben and Jerry’s containers. The first award of the evening is entitled “Legend of the Grow,” and it is presented to Harry Brown, deemed the “best grower in Somerset County”. Harry Brown, in addition to growing some mean green, is a longtime activist, who has been hosting legalization festivals on his farm in Starks, Maine since 1991. Legalize Maine is presented a Certificate of Good Citizenship for their continued political activism in the legalization effort. East Coast Gold ties with East Coast Gold for best concentrate with their THC isolates, “Original Amnesia-Caviar” and “Honey Crystals.” Jedi Ganga Warrior takes home best outdoor for their strain “Strawberry Poptart”, as well as the top Sun Grown Flower. Jedi Ganja Warrior doesn’t stop there, also winning Highest THC content for their outdoor strain “Grease Monkey”, which weighs in at a whopping 28.06% THC. Quentin Stevens is awarded best CBD strain for his entry “CBD OG.” Last but not least, best Indoor goes to Portland Cannabis Company for their strain “Ghost Dawg”. For a complete list of all who placed in the High 95 Cup, visit www.high95. com. Once the awards are complete, Roots of Creation march back onstage and end the night in style, with a stellar musical experience full of jam, blues, reggae and soul. I do not think that Roots of Creation are missing a single instrument, save perhaps a tuba and a didgeridoo. They blend their wide array of instruments together masterfully, and the crowd is lost in a musical haze. I return on Sunday unsure of how day two will measure up, and I am pleasantly surprised to find that the speakers are just as engaging and energized, and the crowd just as diverse. Two hopeful political candidates join a politics discussion Sunday morning, describing their stances on both medical and adult use cannabis laws, as well as what we as citizens can do to make sure that cannabis legislation is not further stonewalled in congress. The general consensus is that there is strength in numbers, and the more we show up and demand action, the more congress will be forced to listen. It is ultimately a politician’s number one priority to be re-elected, and if we let them know that their votes on cannabis legislation will affect our votes in the next election, their own self- interest will J41

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