MENDOCINO CO., 1/20/18 — Now that “adult-use” cannabis is legal in California, the rubber is meeting the road in a slew of new cannabis businesses, and years of preparation and dreaming are running into the reality of a legal commercial market. And with the new market, the long -held dreamt of the canna-tourist, a mythical middle-class consumer ready to come to Mendocino and buy some weed, wilderness, wine, but also food, hotel rooms and other services, will hopefully be arriving soon.
But decades of prohibition have left an industry lacking the kinds of institutions and organizations that are common in other tourism sectors. Seeking to address these issues, a canna-tourism seminar will be held this weekend, organized by the Cannabis Culture Museum and featuring presentations by local cannabis business owners and an forum for attendees to connect and discuss their ideas about developing a local canna-tourism industry. The event will take place on Sunday, January 21, at the Little Lake Grange in Willits.
“We’re building the future together,” says Annie Waters, who helped organize the Willits event and envisions it as a “starter conversation” to connect local people interested in supporting and participating in cannabis tourism. “Sunday is about bringing people in, and rediscovering our economy as a group,” she adds, noting that due to prohibition and the often secluded nature of cannabis farms in the region the cannabis community has not always been cohesive in the past. “If we could learn to work together, we will be much more effective for the region as a whole. It takes us all committed together as a community,” Waters also notes.
The event is designed to be participatory, Waters explained, to create an opportunity for people who want to get involved in developing a cannabis tourism industry locally to network and share their ideas. The seminar will begin at 11am with speakers from primarily Mendocino-based cannabis businesses and organizations sharing their expertise on different tourism topics. Following the speakers, people will break out into working groups — to talk about everything from farm tours to cannabis restaurants to tourism bureaus -- and then reconvene to present their discussions to the larger group.
Speakers will include:
- Richard Jergenson, founder of Willits’ Cannabis Culture Museum, discussing the importance of building cannabis archives, museums, and developing local history and educational programs
- Amanda Reinman, VP of Community Relations for the Flow Cannabis Institute in Redwood Valley, talking about developing cannabis education, history, and tourism centers
- Chelsea Lucich, director of the Emerald Pharms dispensary in Hopland, on how dispensaries can help develop local tourism
- Genine Coleman, Executive Director of the Mendocino Appellations Project, on how appellations can serve as a local tourism attraction and showcase local farms, and the current regulations related to cannabis tourism
- Karen Byars, founder of the Mendocino Cannabis Resource, discussing cannabis event permits and farmer markets
- Nikki Lastreto and Swami Chaitanya, cannabis cultivators and founders of Swami Select, on their experience with cannabis farm branding, appellations, and farm tours
- Brooke Horowitz of the Emerald Exchange, on cannabis events and farmers markets around the state
- Matt Kurth, founder of Humboldt Cannabis Tours, on the logistics of cannabis tours around the region
- Brian Applegarth of The Cannabis Trail, and the California Cannabis Tourism Association, delivering the keynote presentation on cannabis tourism
The event will be held on Sunday, January 21, from 11am - 4pm at the Little Lake Grange, at 291 School Street in Willits. Admission is $20. More information can be found at the event’s Facebook page. Tea and snacks will be available.