October 17, 2011

Internation Cannabis and Hemp EXPO sets a new standard for Northern CA

Int Che Entrance Sign
Kim Cue started the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo as a way to bring Cannabis Education to the public in Northern CA. The first shows were held at the famous Cow Palace in Daly City, a venue housing hundreds of concerts and events over the years. The first Expo of its kind in the area, Int Che provided a Prop 215 Consumption area for CA Medical Cannabis patients and featured hundreds of diverse vendors, industry professionals speaking on educational panels and a VIP Cannabis Cup made only available to those with a golden ticket. This year, the International Cannabis and Hemp EXPO made another movement shaking accomplishment. They moved from the Cow Palace to the downtown Streets of Oakland, CA on September 3 & 4th, 2011. The prop 215 consumption section was situated on the front lawn of Oakland's City Hall. Hundreds of vendors moved from an indoor exhibition space to 14th & Clay Street.

Int Che Golden Ticket
The elements of this show were the same as previous events. Patients with a Golden Ticket received judges boxes complete with samples of flower, hash, kief, oils and medibles. Promotional items and a glass smoking piece also come with the box, so attendees were able to sample the products onsite in the VIP section.  
Selkta Lou, premier resident DJ for most events in the Cannabis Industry held the chill vibe in the VIP section hosting guest DJ's throughout the weekend. Mixes of mellow hip hop and reggae filled the air while patients enjoyed the Hash Bar. Winners are announced at the end of the event. This year's winners included Angel Care's WOW for Best CA Cannabis Strain and Best CA Cannabis Hash, San Jose Patients Group's Purple Dragon's Breath for Best CA Wax, Irish Moss Drinks for Best CA Edible and Granny's Greef Leaf's medicated herbal balm for Best CA Specialty product.

Speaker panels with Anna Rae Grabstein of SteepHill Labs, Cheryl Shuman of Kush Magazine, Mikki Norris of West Coast Leaf newspaper, Steve Bloom of Celebrity Stoner, Melissa Balin of Hemp Can Save the Planet and Angel Reich of Angel Reich Center for Health or ARCH Collective were held on the speaker stages in the general public area. panalists discussed many issues affecting the Cannabis movement today including media, politics, culture, trends and science.

Oaksterdam University, located on 16th and Broadway adjacent to the festival grounds hosted after parties for Golden Ticket Holders and conducted tours of the facilities for folks interested in seeing their grow labs and classroom spaces. Oaksterdam University is the first Trade School University of its kind in the Cannabis industry and has expanded since its inception in 2009 to include 4 locations Nationwide. Oaksterdam also showcased their antique car fueled by hemp oil demonstrating the value of industrial Hemp as a replacement for petroleum. Henry Ford's original car was built to be run on alternative fuels like Hemp oil and corn ethanol.

Oaksterdam Hemp Car
Int Che Main Stage Oakland City Hall
Of course with milestones comes criticism. Many articles were published after the event ridiculing the City of Oakland for allowing a Prop 215 smoking section on the front lawn in spite of the City's efforts to keep the media from publishing photos of people smoking with City Hall in the background. Journalists were required to sign a waiver stating they would not publish photos of people smoking with the municipal building in the background. There were no reports of violence or disruption reported at the event.

Although sales of Cannabis medicines were not allowed, many samples were available to patients in the Prop 215 section including flower, seeds and medibles. Originally, the permit allowed for onsite sales in a Farmer's Market environment, however the language was removed from the permit one day before the show. Vendors were told they would not be able to sell cannabis goods upon arrival.

Glass, clothing and accessories were available to the public in the general vending section located on 14th and Clay Streets including DoobTubes, Illusion Glass and 420 FL Products. The event also featured a walk in semi-truck sized Gro Bot container equipped with lights and a high end ventilation system for optimal plant yield.

For more information about the International Cannabis and Hemp EXPO, please visit their website: Int Che Events or email: contactus@intche.org

Golden Ticket Judges Box and Contents

October 04, 2011

NORML Life Featured Activist Tonya Davis

Cannabis Activist Tonya Davis
Tonya Davis, a featured activist in the documentary NORML Life has many reasons to use Medical Marijuana. Ailed with a rare genetic disease, Pseudohypoparathyroidism, causing nutrients necessary to basic bodily functions to pass through her body unrecognized and therefore, unused. Her Brain is covered in massive calcium deposits. Inflammatory Bowel Disease, similar to Chron's Disease has left adhesions throughout her digestive system, scarred from years of inflammation. Add crippling arthritis, a diseased esophagus and permanent spinal damage to the list of ailments and no one can argue Tonya Davis fits into any State's Medical Marijuana Patient program. Currently, Tonya lives in Ohio where the use of Medical Marijuana is illegal.

An avid cannabis user, Tonya believes her quality of life has improved due to prolonged use of marijuana and the medicinal qualities of the plant are powerful enough to preserve the parts of her brain not inundated with calcium deposits. Before Cannabis, Tonya went through many pharmaceutical treatments, including morphine patches and oxycotin, both leaving her more violently ill than the original  problems themselves. These are a few of the many reasons Tonya fights for patient rights in a State where she is considered a criminal for the very use of the plant in any form.

What does a Cannabis patient do in a State where the penalties for marijuana are severe, risking home invasion style arrests and imprisonment followed by debilitating fines? Lobbying isn't enough. In this environment, an activist has to bring people out of the comfortable confinement of secrecy and band together to affect change in the law. Tonya Davis joined an organization versatile enough to take on all aspects of marijuana prohibition while keeping the focus on compassionate care for the people in obvious need of cannabis medicines. The task requires connecting patients with attorneys, getting politicians to acknowledge people otherwise lost in a failed medical system and inspiring individuals to be more compassionate. The Ohio Patient Network and The Ohio Patient Action Network were established to serve patients in Ohio and continues to change legislation and educate the public today. Tonya currently serves on its Board of Directors as President.

Attorney General Mike DeWine
The battle is not easy anywhere in the war on drugs and Tonya's networks experience obstacles every step of the way.  Recently the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act was rejected by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine for writing technicalities represented in the Ohio Alternative Treatment Amendment. In early September the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 was submitted with 2365 signatures to the attorney general as a continued effort to pass Ohio House Bill 214 introduced 4 years ago which would allow for patient safe access to medical cannabis. The Bill is currently stalled in the Health Committee and volunteers are busily preparing to file the next initiative with more than 2,000 signatures collected.

Tonya uses various media and participates in several organizations working to end cannabis prohibition including NORML, the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws to reach as many people as possible with her message. Since 2006, Tonya's YouTube Channel tonya420 has housed a collection of videos Tonya created over the years as a Medical Cannabis activist. In the videos, she describes living in constant fear of being prosecuted by police and educates the viewer about protecting their rights, using Cannabis as a medicine and more. At one time, Tonya was a co-host on Medical Marijuana Common Sense, a public access TV show with Nikki. Together, the two explored truth in medical marijuana from the woman's perspective. Archives of the show can be found on YouTube.

In addition to all of her production work, Tonya is the Medical Marijuana Director with Ohio NORML, President of Miami Valley NORML,  State Director for Ohio with American Alliance for Medical Cannabis and a member of the NORML Women's Alliance. Her efforts do not go unnoticed. Tonya is asked to speak all over the country and has won activists awards for her extensive work in the movement. In 2009 Tonya was the proud recipient of NORML's Pauline Sabin Award. Pauline Sabin was a lead woman in the movement to end the prohibition of alcohol, establishing the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform in 1929. 

Through the years, Tonya's message has reached mass audiences. Many lives have been changed as a result of her example of strength and courage, her refusal to give up until patients are guaranteed safe access to much needed Cannabis medicines. Her philosophy is simple: She doesn't have to change everyone's mind all at once. She focuses on changing one mind at a time and inspires others to do the same. Learn more about Tonya Davis in the documentary NORML Life, recently released on DVD by Cinema Libre Studios.

Order your copy of NORML Life on DVD today. Use the promotional code HEARTBRAIN when ordering online through Cinema Libre Studio or email StephanieBishop420@gmail.com for more information on public or educational screenings and wholesale distribution.

Words from others about working with Medical Marijuana activist, Tonya Davis: 
"She gave me the courage to come out and be honest with EVERYONE in my life about my use of MMJ for my pain and anxiety. Tonya Davis has helped to change public perception about MMJ for us all and I loudly applaud her for her efforts, especially knowing that she is in declining health. God bless this wonderful lady for her efforts to help many." Rhia R. Ferner Drouillard

"Tonya Davis works to change cannabis laws in Ohio. For the first years of my activism, I only knew of her from her posts to the email list I belong to through NORML. From those posts, I was inspired to keep going at times when I was ready to give up. She just never stops in spite of her continuing health issues. She pushes the envelope every single day to support this cause in Ohio. She is a proud medical cannabis patient in a state that offers her no protection. She is fearless, and I feel fortunate to have had the honor of meeting her in person at the national NORML Conference in Portland in 2010. I am proud to be in her company as a fellow Pauline Sabin Award winner." Oregon Cannabis Activist Anna Diaz