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South By Southwest Fans Choose From Dozens Of Marijuana-Themed Panels For 2019

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No longer just something smuggled past security on the way in, festival organizers are now actively trying to cash in on growing cultural (and perhaps financial) interest in marijuana.

In Austin, that liberal refuge surrounded by the rest of Texas, the industry will be officially in attendance for the second year in a row at South By Southwest 2019.

Voting is currently open for choosing panels at next year’s bacchanal of tech, art and industry. Tracks for next year range from blockchain and cryptocurrency to virtual and augmented reality.

And right now, the SXSW Cannabusiness track has 62 submitted panels to vote on, with such topics as:

Cannabis Research Shackled by Politics Since 1968, organized by noted marijuana researcher Dr. Sue Sisley, will focus on “the abuses of the DEA / NIDA cannabis monopoly.”

Breaking the Grass Ceiling: Women, Weed, and Tech will discuss the opportunity for women to lead, and launch companies in, the cross section of marijuana and technology.

Legal Cannabis & Black Male Entrepreneurship lays out the case for why “Black men should be an integral part of the industry to rectify the damage from the drug war.”

When Can We All Get High Together? (Legally) features Denver mayoral candidate and cannabis entrepreneur Kayvan Khalatbari and Vicente-Sederberg partner Josh Kappel talking about social use.

There’s also a few about repairing the harms caused by the war on drugs, several Texas-specific panels and one more focused on women. There’s even Parenting and Cannabis, an expanding issue as more marijuana reform takes place and social attitudes shift. The large majority of proposals, as to be expected, are about starting and running cannabis businesses.

In addition to the 62 categorized under the Cannabusiness track, several other proposed panels in other tracks seem to focus at least partially on marijuana issues. One such panel in the Brands & Marketing track, is about cannabis-based beauty products. Another categorized under Food highlights the flavors and effects of terpenes. And one under Design focuses on the “changing aesthetics of pot.”

At this year’s SXSW event, in March, there were two panels on cannabis tech, one on the Future of Cannabis, a cannabis health meet up and a panel on the role of marijuana in pro sports led by former NFL player Eben Britton. (Noticeably absent? A social-justice-focused topic.) But considering the 62 panel topics submitted for next year, it seems likely there will be more expansive marijuana discourse at the 2019 event.

The number of contenders to talk pot at next year’s SXSW isn’t the only sign of rising interest in formal marijuana programming at prominent cultural events. Last weekend in San Francisco, Outside Lands debuted Grass Lands, a “curated cannabis experience” at the 10-year-old music fest in Golden Gate Park. They’re “the first major U.S. music festival” to do so, according to an announcement by organizers.

For all its popularity, though, the 2019 SXSW cannabiz track doesn’t have nearly as many entries as, say, Intelligent Future (374) or Tech Industry and Expertise (251). But it has considerably more than Touring & Live Experience (25) or Esports Industry (28). Nearly tied is Coding and Development with 61 options.

Through the Community Voting system, participants make a profile so they can cast votes on which panels they want to see next year. Public support only makes up 30 percent of the total programming decision, however, with input from SXSW Staff and the Advisory Board making up the other 30 percent and 40 percent respectively.

Voting on SXSW 2019 panels is open until August 30. SXSW descends on Austin March 8 – 17, 2019.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Chris Wallis is a filmmaker and content creator based in Oakland, California. Over the last six years, along with extensive work with the cannabis industry, he's helped international nonprofits, national advocacy groups and political campaigns tell their stories to hundreds of thousands of eyeballs across media. He watches a lot of TV and movies, often while consuming cannabis.

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Lots Of Politicians And Companies Are Tweeting About Marijuana On 4/20

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It’s 4/20 again, and that means another slew of tweets from politicians and mainstream brands looking to use the marijuana holiday as a hook to get their message out.

Here’s a roundup of some of the best, funniest, most important or otherwise notable cannabis-related tweets of the day…

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate:

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate:

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), a presidential candidate:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate:

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a presidential candidate:

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a presidential candidate:

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), a presidential candidate:

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a presidential candidate:

Former San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julián Castro (D), a presidential candidate:

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY):

House Committee on Small Business:

Congressional Black Caucus:

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV):

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR):

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN):

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA):

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA):

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL):

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN):

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM):

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D):

Los Angeles, California City Council President Herb Wesson (D):

Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney Kim Foxx (D):

The American Civil Liberties Union:

Ben & Jerry’s:

Denny’s:

Hidden Valley Ranch:

Carl’s Jr.:

Boston Market:

George Washington’s Mount Vernon:

Bill Maher:

Miley Cyrus:

311:

The Onion:

Ben & Jerry’s Stands Out From Companies Just Trying To Make Money From 4/20

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Ben & Jerry’s Stands Out From Companies Just Trying To Make Money From 4/20

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Ben & Jerry’s wants to remind people this 4/20 that hundreds of thousands of people are still getting arrested for non-violent marijuana offenses.

As a growing number of companies compete to win over consumers with weed-themed promotions and social media gimmicks surrounding the cannabis holiday, the ice cream giant is pointing out ongoing racial disparities in marijuana enforcement—including in states that have legalized it.

“Happy 4/20, everyone! Now that pot is legal in 33 states and counting, it’s a pretty heady moment for stoner culture. Fans of cannabis can celebrate 4/20 openly and in style in more places than ever before,” they company wrote in a blog post on Friday. “And even if you’re not in a state that legalized pot, there’s a still a pretty good chance that the cops won’t hassle you as you spend 4/20 doing your thing.”

“If you’re a white person.”

The blog goes into detail about racial disparities in the legal industry, disproportionate arrest rates in states like Colorado and also notes that while Republican former House Speaker John Boehner’s stance on cannabis has evolved—from prohibitionist to marijuana firm board member—it also reflects a problematic willingness to profit off the legal industry without recognizing the criminal justice reform work that’s still to be done.

Increased support for cannabis reform, including from former opponents, is “good news,” the company wrote. “What’s troubling is that the criminal justice system hasn’t kept up with the culture.”

Ben & Jerry’s is calling on Congress to expunge the records of individuals with prior marijuana convictions and pardon anyone “whose only crime was possession of cannabis.” The company is also applauding city officials who’ve proactively expunged marijuana records and prosecutors who’ve announced that their offices would no longer be pursing low-level cannabis crimes.

“Want to feel really really good this 4/20? Then let’s make sure that legalization benefits all of us. That’ll turn 4/20 into a day that we all can celebrate.”

To that end, the company is teaming up with San Jose marijuana dispensary Caliva, which is donating 4.20 percent of profits from 4/20 sales to support Code for America’s effort to automatically expunge past cannabis convictions.

They’re also linking to a petition that people can sign to show their support for comprehensive marijuana reform and, to sweeten the deal, they’re offering a a free pint of their “Half Baked” ice cream blend to anyone who orders a cannabis delivery from Caliva.

“At this point where a company can’t just invoke 4/20 for laughs or give lip service to social justice, it’s great to see a campaign use the holiday to call attention to concrete solutions around ‘cannabis justice,'” Shaleen Title, who holds the social justice seat on the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, told Marijuana Moment.

Meanwhile, other mainstream brands are launching 4/20-themed campaigns of their own—most of which don’t address the historical harms of prohibition enforcement.

Fast food chain Carl’s Jr., for example, is hoping to turn out the 4/20 crowd in Denver by selling a burger with CBD-infused sauce on the marijuana holiday. The burger will cost $4.20 and all of the proceeds will go to…the company.

While that move caught plenty of media headlines—in part because the Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly said that adding CBD to the food supply remains prohibited—Carl’s Jr. is far from alone in its overt campaign to leverage the holiday without addressing the inherent privilege it represents.

Pizza Hut is offering a Triple Chocolate Brownie for $4.20 on Saturday.

Boston Market is offering a promotion surrounding…pot pies.

Via bostonmarket.com.

“It is unfortunate to see the white-washing and commercialization of 4/20 by corporate interests with no stake in the fight for marijuana justice,” Erik Altieri, executive director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “While the news will undoubtedly focus on light hearted celebrations, it is imperative we remember that every year over 600,000 Americans are still arrested for simple marijuana possession, those arrested are overwhelmingly people of color and other marginalized communities.”

“While there is still much to celebrate in regards to the progress we have made, we still have a long way to go to right the wrongs of prohibition,” Altieri said. “Instead of focusing on a quick way to get rich, marijuana-related businesses should follow Ben and Jerry’s lead and they must take seriously their social obligation to advance social justice and civil liberties as members of the nascent cannabis industry.”

New York-based Fresh&Co rolled out a line of marijuana-themed offerings like “half-baked salad.”

GrubHub analyzed its own sales data to show what food items were the most popular on 4/20 before and sent out an email blast on the findings.

“Let us be blunt. The ultimate stoner holiday is around the corner, and if there’s one thing Grubhub knows, it’s that one crucial ingredient of a successful 4/20 is food,” GrubHub wrote. “The munchies are a natural side effect of smoking marijuana, so why not indulge on the hungriest day of the year?”

Ridesharing service Lyft—in a promotion that at least advances a harm reduction message—announced that it is offering a $4.20 credit for a single ride in Colorado and various select cities throughout the U.S. and Canada where marijuana is legal—similar to what it did last year.

“Kick back and enjoy 4/20 with the help of Lyft and our designated drivers,” the company wrote. “We’ve partnered with some great folks to help you get to the park, to the store, and back to the couch — easier than ever.”

Increasingly, advocates and some lawmakers are growing frustrated by the country’s lighthearted, or profit-driven, attitude toward cannabis reform. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) no longer wants people to talk to him about legalization without making restorative justice for those harmed by prohibition a key part of the conversation.

Congressional Democrats also held a panel at a recent policy retreat that centered on social equity in the cannabis industry. That marijuana should be legal was regarded as a given, but more to the point, a legal system should lift up those who’ve been disproportionately targeted by the drug war.

Legalization advocate and rapper Killer Mike, whose birthday happens to coincide with the cannabis holiday, said in a press release on Friday that 4/20 should remind people of the need to decriminalize cannabis.

“While there has been progress, we should go one step further and ensure that the very people (African Americans) who have been profiled and punished due to the War on Drugs, have an opportunity to participate in the commercialization of marijuana,” he said. “It is not enough to decriminalize weed, promote its sale in local economies and not think creatively about how Black people can benefit from the very thing that has directly impacted their lives.”

Congressional Democrats Compete In Marijuana-Themed Trivia Game

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Congressional Democrats Compete In Marijuana-Themed Trivia Game

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Democratic members of Congress scored points for correctly answering questions about marijuana during a trivia game at a retreat they participated in last week.

The cannabis quiz was part of a bond-building exercise designed to unite the party around shared legislative goals. The category in question was reportedly titled the “Green New Deal,” a play off climate change legislation that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is championing. But these questions concerned a different kind of green matter.

The marijuana queries weren’t especially policy-oriented, though, according to one reporter who got information about how things went down. Instead of questions about various cannabis bills that have been introduced in the 116th Congress, they tested lawmakers’ cultural understanding of the plant and how it is consumed.

Trivia finalists Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Katie Hill (D-CA) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) made it into the cannabis round, according to Politico’s Heather Caygle. The two congresswomen correctly identified “sativa” as the answer to an open-ended question about variants of marijuana.

A Democratic staffer told Marijuana Moment that the question was phrased: “there are two main types of marijuana: indica and ______.”

But Gallego was ultimately victorious, answering a question about a type of device that uses water or air pressure to quickly draw smoke. Caygle wrote that the question was about a “gravity bomb,” but clearly she meant gravity bong.

The trivia category is the latest in a series of signals that marijuana is a popular topic among congressional Democrats. At the same time, some members like Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) have emphasized that the issue isn’t a laughing matter and should be discussed seriously.

But reform advocates can nonetheless rest assured that cannabis is fresh on the minds of Democratic members as they take their two-week recess—and that at least some of them know their marijuana products.

Joe Biden Applauds Anti-Marijuana Speech At Opioid Forum

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