HempCon 2011 Review
HempCon was held this past weekend at the LA Convention Center and a smoking good time was had by all. Where else can you find old hippies mingling with young hipsters, Rasta’s and guys that look like they could be in Snoop Dogg’s entourage all showing respect and love for each other? This mixed lot of people all came together for one common cause…the love of herb. I met a lot of great people that are passionate about medical marijuana and helping make sure that those that need the medicine are able to get it.
No note was needed to attend the convention, but one was needed to obtain free samples. There were at least ten booths offering instant verification for around $50 and I saw many people signing up. Cute girls in short white lab coats vied for new patients. Funny how a white coat makes everything seem legit.
There were over 100 vendors at the event. There were booths with products for growers, both indoor and out, including grow lights and fertilizers. There were also companies that help set up and give advice to collectives, vending machines like Med Box for collectives, strain testers, clothing, smoothies, food and paraphernalia like pipes, bongs and vaporizers. They even convinced this old school smoker to buy a vaporizer. Many vendors had sexy, scantily clad women to lure customers to their booths. It worked as far as I could tell. Any booth that had either free samples or cute chicks attracted the most attention.
One of my favorites was "Dope on a Rope Soap," (www.dopeonaropesoap.com) all-natural soaps made with hemp oil and shaped like a marijuana leaf . At only $4 each they would make a great gift for the pothead in your life.
They also offered lectures throughout the day on topics such as legal advice, how to open a clinic and growing tips. I sat in on a seminar entitled "Delivery 101" presented by Bob Calkin who runs a mobile collective. Mobile collectives are much easier to run because there is no storefront to operate or staff to pay. All you need is a seller’s permit and a business license obtained through the city to start a pot delivery service. Mr. Calkin’s biggest piece of advice to anyone wanting to open a medical marijuana businesswas: remember to pay your taxes and register your business as a "Home Health Care Delivery Service." That will make things look legitimate.
There were also some celebrities in attendance - not movie or TV stars but stars in the medical marijuana world. Top 420 lawyer and director of the Los Angeles chapter of NORML, Bruce Margolin, was there handing out his Margolin Guide to marijuana laws in all fifty states. There was line of people waiting to get their books signed and have their photos taken with him.
Also on hand was Ken Estes, a medical marijuana activist and collective owner from northern California. Ken is a paraplegic who has been dealing with his pain in a natural way for over 30 years. He is a celebrity up north for his pro-pot advocacy, has been arrested, and has had his clinic raided many times by the Oakland police.
Ken got his reputation as the modern day "Medicine Man" by creating the GrandDaddy Purp strain that is a top seller in collectives all over the state (see kenwestes.com). Card-bearing visitors to Ken’s booth got a free sample of Ken’s Grandaddy Purp. Though smoking was not allowed in the convention hall, there was a semi-designated smoking area about 25 feet outside the hall. Ken shared some of his strain with me and I was blown away. Beautiful tight looking buds with a smooth smoke and a good head rush. Thank you Ken.
My favorite booth was Kushpon.com. Money is tight for everyone right now and finding medicine at an affordable price can be a challenge for many patients. James Wang created Kushpon with those patients in mind. Run similarly to the daily group discount giant Groupon, Kushpon offers patients in the alternative medicine and holistic healing community daily deals on buds from several local collectives. In addition to the daily weed deals, Kushpon also offers discounts on yoga classes, health stores and other alternative medicine products. I think it is a brilliant idea and one whose time has come.
In the evening there were mini concerts by such weed-friendly bands as Fishbone, Year of the Dragon and Ziggy Marley.
HempCon is produced by Mega Productions. The next HempCon convention will be June 10 – 12 in San Jose. For tickets and vendor information visit Hempcon.com