More than 150 different marijuana-focused panels are up for consideration to be featured at next year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and its related SWSW EDU event.
SXSW solicited the submissions last month, urging individuals to help them fill out the lineup for its “Cannabusiness Track.” The collection of panels are meant to explore the “technological, cultural, financial, legal and political ecosystems that are defining the cannabis-focused enterprises of both today and tomorrow.”
But not all of the suggested panels are going to make the cut. An online vote opened on Monday for people to support the proposals they want to see, and that voting period closes on August 23. Proposed discussions touch on everything from social equity in the industry to protecting intellectual property to setting CBD product safety standards.
Here are some examples of what could appear at SXSW next March:
—Frenemies: Cannabis Activists & Cannabis Industry. Kris Krane, president of 4Front Ventures and former executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, explores the growing tension between the marijuana industry and activists, as debate intensifies over how to create a legal cannabis market that’s socially equitable.
—Cannabis Restorative Justice. Members of the Last Prisoner Project, including Harborside co-founder Steve DeAngelo, discuss the long-term impacts of marijuana criminalization and their experience being incarcerated over cannabis. The panel will also touch on ways “the cannabis industry can work together to repair these past and continuing injustices.”
—Is Cannabis Media Coverage Fair Or Biased? Journalists on the marijuana beat talk about the evolution in cannabis coverage and biases in how mainstream media outlets report on marijuana.
—Cannabis As A Catalyst For Change. A panel of experts, including representatives from the Drug Policy Alliance, will seek to inform the audience about “policy positions they can support to ensure the cannabis industry is operating in a socially responsible manner,” ensuring diversity in marijuana businesses and how to invest in communities disproportionately impacted by prohibition.
—IP Rights And Threats In The Cannabis Industry. Intellectual property attorney Larry Sandell will share his expertise on making sure that cannabis companies protect their innovations and branding. He will offer a “primer on utility patents, design patents, plant patents, trademarks, trade secrets, plant variety protection certificates, and copyrights—all from the cannabis perspective.”
—Full Recovery: Mixing Cannabis With Sobriety. Medicine Box CEO Brian Chaplin will answer questions about incorporating marijuana into a “sober, mindful lifestyle,” drawing from his own experience using cannabis to wean off an anti-depressant.
—The United States Of Cannabis. Experts at the Marijuana Policy Project will give the audience a status update on cannabis reform efforts throughout the country and offer perspective on how reform advances through ballot initiative and state legislatures. The panel will also provide a preview of how MPP plans to allocate resources to continue changing cannabis laws in the coming years.
—Descheduling Cannabis: Be Careful What You Wish. Market analysts will dive into the debate over potential industry changes that could occur if marijuana is federally descheduled. Panelists will raise questions about how descheduling could lend to a market model that favors established corporations like Walmart over marijuana businesses.
—Can The South Rise To End Pot Prohibition? This panel will take a look at obstacles that southern states have faced in legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana. Entrepreneurs from the region discuss what it will take for “the South to ultimately rise above prohibition” and answer questions about how to ensure that the industry that emerges will be inclusive.
—Reporting On The Corporatization Of Psychedelics. Staff at the psychedelics publication DoubleBlind will explore the rapidly changing politics of psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA. Conversations will concern the potential corporatization of psychedelics and “accessibility of psychedelic medicine” today.
—Cannabusiness In Africa: Is There A Future? As several African countries weigh getting into the cannabis export business, panelists will go over how the industry can be “developed responsibly and help support broad based economic growth in some of the world’s poorest countries.”
—The Corporatization Of Marijuana. Panelists including former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) will talk about just how much the government—at the state and local level—should be regulating cannabis as well as concerns about underage consumption and impaired driving.
This isn’t the first time that SXSW has featured marijuana panels. This year’s SXSW festival involved more than 20 cannabis events, including discussions that covered female entrepreneurship in the cannabis market and the prospect of marijuana reform in Texas.
Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who joined the board of a major cannabis firm after leaving office, delivered a keynote address at one panel, which drew protests from social justice advocates who argued that restorative justice needs to be a critical component of legal cannabis systems that profit-minded “Big Marijuana” companies are currently benefiting from.
Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.
Snoop Dogg Has A Salaried Marijuana Blunt Roller On Staff
Snoop Dogg pays a person between $40,000-$50,000 per year to roll blunts for him, he said during a recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show.
Comedian Seth Rogen confirmed that he’s watched the employee practice his craft during sessions with Snoop.
“He knows how to gauge the look on somebody’s face when it seems like they want a blunt, and if they do, he gives you one,” Rogen said.
“Timing. That motherfucker’s timing is impeccable,” Snoop said.
Stern asked Snoop to clarify if this person was actually hired by him and the rapper replied “that’s his J-O-B, his occupation.”
“On his resume, it says, ‘what do you do? I’m a blunt roller,” he said. “P-B-R, professional blunt roller.”
“If you’re great at something I need, I’m hiring you.”
Not only does Snoop pay him upwards of $50,000 to roll blunts, the employee also gets perks: he’s welcome to smoke the marijuana he rolls, goes on all-expense-paid trips while Snoop is traveling on tours and gets free items like clothing whenever companies give their products to the artist.
That seems like a pretty good deal compared to an opening within the federal government to mass produce joints for research purposes. The contractor who secures that position is subject to drug testing and presumably isn’t touring the world on the government’s dime.
That said, the job with Snoop likely isn’t a walk in the park. In a Reddit AMA in 2012, the rapper said he smokes 81 blunts per day.
Rogen said he’s spent hours smoking with Snoop and has found himself mesmerized by the worker’s craft.
“There’s been like 40 minutes where I’m like, ‘I’m just watching this guy and I’m just going to see what is going on here,'” he said, “As someone who smokes a lot of weed, it’s fucking fascinating.”
“Honestly, the amount of time I spend rolling joints, it might be worth my while financially to hire someone to do that,” Rogen said.
A video of the comments, released on Tuesday, is more cannabis content from the same Stern interview where Snoop and Rogen also offered advice on smoking marijuana for novices.
Photo courtesy of YouTube/The Howard Stern Show.
Police Ask Florida Man To Stop Calling 911 About His Stolen Marijuana
A Florida sheriff’s department had to ask a man to stop repeatedly calling 911 to report his roommate allegedly stealing $20 worth of marijuana this weekend.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office shared details about the incident in a video posted on Twitter on Saturday as part of its “#TweetAlong” program, where viewers can a behind-the-scenes look at law enforcement activities.
“Alright, so I just received a call—a guy is calling in saying his roommate stole his weed, $20 worth, and he’s upset,” Deputy Neal Zalva said in the video. “He keeps calling 911 so I have to give a call to tell him to stop calling about this weed.”
— Pasco Sheriff (@PascoSheriff) October 13, 2019
About an hour later, the deputy gave an update.
“Going back to the guy calling in to report his drugs stolen, I called him and let him know not to call the sheriff’s office and report his drugs,” he said. “He started to freak out a little bit on the phone and then hung up on me shortly after.”
— Pasco Sheriff (@PascoSheriff) October 13, 2019
While medical cannabis is legal in Florida, low-level possession (under 20 grams) without a patient certification is still a misdemeanor offense that’s punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
The department told the Associated Press that no charges were filed against the caller.
There are two measures seeking to legalize marijuana for adult use in the state in 2020, including one that’s being backed by industry stakeholders. Organizers for the other campaign submitted enough signatures in July to prompt a state Supreme Court review of its ballot language.
Seth Rogen And Snoop Dogg Offer Marijuana Advice To First-Time Consumers
Seth Rogen and Snoop Dogg have some advice for first-time marijuana consumers: if you bump into them and want to sesh, limit yourself to one hit—or even half a hit.
The cannabis icons joked about their shared love for the plant and offered some tips for novices during an appearance on The Howard Stern Show on Tuesday.
Stern started by asking if the pair had smoked together before. Not surprisingly, they confirmed participating in joint sessions and both agreed that they were enjoyable experiences
“What do you mean when you say you enjoy smoking with Seth?” the host asked Snoop. “Are there people who can bum you out?”
“Yeah, because they talk too motherfuckin’ much and they just get in the way, but Seth enjoys the moment. He’s creative,” the rapper replied. “This motherfucker knows how to make a joint that looks like a cross.”
“He’s a bad motherfucker at that,” he said. “When he pulled that cross out, I was like, ‘God, let there be light!'”
Stern also brought up the fact that one of the show’s producers, JD Harmeyer, planned to smoke cannabis for the first time. For the occasion, Stern told Harmeyer he should probably stick to no more than three hits, and he asked his guests if that was good advice.
“I’d start with one,” Rogen said.
“I’d say a half of one,” Snoop said.
“This is from two guys who have had too many motherfuckers come up and get way too high,” Rogen added.
“And fall out,” Snoop said. “I have a lot of people [say], ‘my dream is to smoke with you.’ Bang. He dying, I’m gone.”
On Monday, actress Jennifer Aniston also gave Harmeyer advice and urged him to “pace yourself” because “it could be the best day of your life or the worst day of your life” depending on how much he smoked.
Later on Tuesday’s show, Snoop and Rogen gave Harmeyer some more advice about what kind of cannabis to smoke while flipping through a menu that appears to be from the nation’s first marijuana cafe, operated by Lowell Farms in Los Angeles.
Snoop said that the producer should stick to a sativa “because it’s a little bit lighter and it’s more of an introduction.”
Rogen agreed that it should be a sativa, but he said the concentration of THC should be on the higher end “to make sure you actually feel something because you might not.”
“But again, one fucking hit,” the actor, who also owns a cannabis company called Houseplant, reiterated.
Rogen has also leveraged his marijuana stardom for philanthropic purposes, putting on an adult carnival where the plant was featured to raise money for research into Alzheimer’s disease.
He appeared at a congressional hearing in 2014 and joked that while people might expect him to advocate for marijuana reform before the Senate committee, he was actually there to promote research into the disease, which his mother-in-law suffers from.
More recently, Rogen participated in a PSA meant to raise awareness of National Expungement Week, a series of events that took place throughout the country last month meant to help people erase criminal convictions, including those for non-violent cannabis offenses, from their records.
Photo courtesy of YouTube/The Howard Stern Show.