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.
SXSW Wants You To Submit Marijuana Panel Ideas For 2020 Event
South by Southwest (SXSW) is soliciting ideas for marijuana-related panels to be featured at next year’s festival.
The Austin-based conference—which celebrates music, film, art and innovation at annual events—promoted its “Cannabusiness Track” in a tweet on Friday.
The 2020 marijuana track will involve panels that explore the “technological, cultural, financial, legal and political ecosystems that are defining the cannabis-focused enterprises of both today and tomorrow,” according to a description.
The Cannabusiness Track will discuss the technological, cultural, financial, legal, and political ecosystems that are defining the #cannabis enterprises of today and tomorrow.
Are you a part of the cannabis industry? Propose your session idea today!https://t.co/3ytdTAC2mw
— SXSW (@sxsw) July 12, 2019
It “presents insights for professionals experienced in this rapidly-evolving industry, as well as introductions for newcomers who are just starting to enter this space.”
Have a concept for a panel that’d be a good fit for the program? There are only a few days left before Friday’s deadline to submit ideas through SXSW’s online tool. The festival will take place March 16-22, 2020.
Marijuana has become a mainstay at the Texas conference, with this year’s SXSW showcasing more than 20 cannabis events—with panels covering everything from female entrepreneurship in the marijuana industry to the state of cannabis politics in the Lone Star state.
Social justice advocates protested a SXSW keynote speech delivered by former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who declined to act on reform while serving as a congressional leader but has since joined the board of one of the world’s largest cannabis companies.
The activists argued that legalization and restorative justice must go hand-in-hand, and Boehner represented a profit-driven “Big Marijuana” industry that’s antithetical to that goal.
SXSW included an advisory on its new Cannabusiness Track submission page, noting that “cannabis and related laws vary.”
“Programming in this track is designed to inform attendees about this fast-changing industry, and does not promote the use or sale of illegal drugs,” SXSW wrote.
Tom Hanks Denies Fake Quote Promoting CBD Company
Actor Tom Hanks wants you to know that he is not, in fact, feeling like a new person after using a CBD product from a California-based cannabis company.
In a tweet posted on Wednesday morning, Hanks denied a quote attributed to him that described advances in the CBD industry as “remarkable” and stating that he was “feeling like a new me” after using a cannabidiol product from a company called Cali Naturals.
FRAUD! INTERNET FAKE! Just so you know. Hanx. pic.twitter.com/UkZiLaVgDl
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) July 10, 2019
“FRAUD! INTERNET FAKE! Just so you know,” the star of films such as Forrest Gump and Cast Away wrote, sharing a photo of the false quote.
For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, Hanks has been featured in several dubious articles in recent years casting him as a champion of the non-intoxicating cannabis compound.
In another quote with questionable sourcing, Hanks reportedly said in 2017 that he was “fed up of taking various pills” and first tried using CBD to “soothe my anxiety.”
"Immediately alleviated 90% of my pain" – Tom Hanks#CBD #CBDoil #Hemp #hempoil #organic #nongmo #healing #painrelief #anxiety #musclespasm #seizures #nausea #insomnia #PTSD #inflammation #depression #skincaretips pic.twitter.com/KADZl1iHCl
— The CBD Hub (@TheCBDhub) December 4, 2018
While it’s not clear if the Cali Naturals cited in the new misattributed quote is the similarly named California Naturals CBD, a representative of that company told Marijuana Moment in an email that the development is part of a pattern they’ve experienced and that they did not know the origins of the Hanks hoax.
Someone “has been using our company name to falsely gain customers, maybe to scam them,” Erin Janson said. “We have received many emails from unsuspecting people saying that they purchased CBD from us and were charged for orders they did not want, or signed up for a monthly CBD club after they got a free trial.”
“We are just a small family business trying to make it in the CBD world,” Janson said. “We hope this does not tarnish our name or products.”
In any case, Hanks cleared the air with his all-caps Twitter statement. He might have been flying high as an astronaut in the 1995 film Apollo 13, but he’s certainly not the spokesperson for cannabis that some would have you believe.
Several Grateful Dead Members Call On Fans To Support Marijuana Reform
Three founding members of The Grateful Dead and a member of the spinoff group Dead & Company used part of their Independence Day to promote marijuana reform.
Songwriter and guitarist Bob Weir and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, who are now part of Dead & Company, each called on their social media followers to get involved with the Cannabis Voter Project, which “aims to educate Americans about about how voting can impact cannabis policy.” Dead & Company bassist Oteik Burbridge also used his platform to promote the organization.
Fans were encouraged to text “CANNA VOTER” to 40649, which prompts them with questions about federal cannabis reform and automatically generates messages to their congressional representatives. The musicians are also inviting supporters to visit a Cannabis Voter Project booth at one of Dead & Company’s shows in Colorado.
No better way to celebrate #IndependenceDay than telling elected leaders what you believe in. If you happen to consider yourself a "Cannabis Voter," text CANNA VOTER to 40649 or visit @Cannabis_Voter Project on #ParticipationRow at our Colorado shows. pic.twitter.com/EvNypwEglO
— Bob Weir (@BobWeir) July 4, 2019
The @Cannabis_Voter Project from @HeadCountOrg will be at the @deadandcompany Boulder shows. To know what it’s all about, text CANNA VOTER to 40649 and tell your elected officials that you’re a Cannabis Voter. pic.twitter.com/13apsRyHFK
— Mickey Hart (@mickeyhart) July 5, 2019
HeadCount, a non-profit organization that partners with musicians to register voters and operates Cannabis Voter Project, has been working with Dead & Company—and the band’s upcoming Colorado shows will put the focus on marijuana reform.
— Dead & Company (@deadandcompany) July 3, 2019
“No better way to celebrate #IndependenceDay than telling elected leaders what you believe in,” Weir wrote. “If you happen to consider yourself a ‘Cannabis Voter,’ text CANNA VOTER to 40649 or visit [Cannabis Voter Project] on #ParticipationRow at our Colorado shows.”
“I’ve smoked a lot of weed. And I vote,” Kreutzmann said. “If you‘re like me you should visit @HeadCountOrg’s @Cannabis_Voter Project booth on Participation Row in Boulder this weekend!”
I’ve smoked a lot of weed. And I vote. If you‘re like me you should visit @HeadCountOrg’s @Cannabis_Voter Project booth on #ParticipationRow in Boulder this weekend! #wavethatflag #deadandcompany pic.twitter.com/khsmcghbID
— Bill Kreutzmann (@BKreutzmann) July 4, 2019
The partnership makes sense given The Grateful Dead’s close association to the counterculture scene and cannabis across the span of several decades. Hart also owns a marijuana company that sells small joints in shops throughout Northern California.
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Any Cannabis Voters out there? Text CANNA VOTER to 40649 or visit @HeadCountOrg's @Cannabis_Voter Project on #ParticipationRow at our Folsom Field shows. #WaveThatFlag @headCountOrg #oteilfromegypt Pic #2 is reposted from @chrisrock I’ve always had mixed feelings about this holiday being part Black and part Native American. #noapologies #taxationwithoutrepresentationishereagain #oteilsegyptiankush @groundswellcolorado #happy4th!
Musicians are increasingly speaking out about cannabis politics. Last month, for example, Killer Mike discussed why rap artists deserve more credit for advancing marijuana legalization. And Rolling Stones’s Mick Jagger gave the governor of Illinois a shoutout at a Chicago concert on the day he signed a cannabis legalization bill.
This piece was updated to note that additional The Grateful Dead and Dead & Company members posted on social media about Cannabis Voter Project.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.