Alcohol Hinders New Hampshire’s Legalization Movement

NH liquor wants in on the New Hampshire Legalization movement.  The prosperity of such actions has led to a deterrent of cannabis reform for the state.

“The first section of the bill, says it all. The bill is very simple in that it doesn’t address legalization. That can happen anywhere else and probably has (heh) nowhere this committee. What this committee does do, is regulate liquor enforcement.” says John Hunt (R) of New Hampshire.

“At the end of the day, in any state that has gone anywhere near the marijuana issue, the task of it and regulating of it or sales of it, or who’s in charge of it, is the liquor industry. It needs to be clear that if we were to ever legalize marijuana in the state, that the NH liquor commission would have exclusive rights to the retail of marijuana and that the liquor commission can create rules and regulations on the distribution of marijuana and how it will be sold.”

john-hunt
This is John Hunt.

According to bill HB 377:

 If the sale of marijuana for recreational use is not otherwise prohibited by the laws of this state, it shall be the duty of the commission to buy and have in its possession marijuana for sale in the manner provided in this title.  The commission shall be the exclusive retail seller of marijuana, except as provided in RSA 126-X.

It makes sense (unfortunately) that NH Liquor wants their hand in the “pot”. With Colorado’s cannabis now a billion dollar industry, the potential for more money has caught they eye of New Hampshire’s (far less lucrative) $646.9 million dollar alcohol industry.

The bill proposed would hinder the ability of New Hampshire residents to sell their own product. Instead of having many New Hampshirites growing, cultivating, selling and creating a new industry, it will be in the hands of an industry with no experience in cannabis.

On the other end of the spectrum, New Hampshire ranks as one of the highest consumers of alcohol in the country (be proud of that if you want).  With our consumption, cause creates worry about how regulations will safely handle the impact cannabis. Those issues are a real.

The idea should not be to restrict alcohol companies from the cannabis cause, but allow others to join. The possibility of having a free market for cannabis in New Hampshire not only gives people the right to partake in the industry but also provides an opportunity to improve upon standards in contrast to an industry with no known knowledge of the market.

Alcohol has the professionalism that New Hampshire is looking for with cannabis, but to own and monopolize the market is a misdirection for what many believe could open new doors of opportunity and revenue in the state.

 

 

The Image of Cannabis and How it Can Reach Potential New Clients.

I like to smoke weed. As a 20-something trying to make his way as a writer in the Granite State and as an active member of the cannabis movement here, it’s hard to find my way into cannabis without associating myself with the Cheech & Chong’s.

old hippie
We get it, dude.

I don’t mean that to be offensive. I love you all.

Cannabis has been described as a “culture”.  A culture that most people unfamiliar with it steer away from.

The negative connotations such as “stoner” and “pothead” have been taken into the movement which reflects poorly for those “out of the know”.

Listen, we get it. You smoke weed. You don’t need the tie dye t-shirt to prove it. The days when consuming it as an act of rebellion to “the man” or “the system” are done with.

The support, on the other hand, needs you. Without you, we have nothing. Your efforts have gotten us this far, and everyone should have a chance to gain.

If cannabis is to be legalized, it needs to be dealt with professionally. If cannabis wants a chance to maintain a successful and established industry, it needs to be handled with the poise and grace of industry leaders.

The Grateful Dead isn’t going to convince some family from the local yacht club to buy your product. They will buy it from someone they can trust and depend on.

The regular users can still be the regular users (there wouldn’t be an industry without them), but it needs a facelift. It needs to rise out of the hazed sludge that keeps others away and steer their focus on potential new clients.

Cannabis can’t lose its roots, but the soil needs to be turned in order to yield a more bountiful crop.

 

Over The Black Rainbow pt.1

I don’t attend music festivals. I find them to be hallowed by the Millennial impression of what a “good time” can be packaged and sold as.  Just another reason for some bum-fuck, upper-middle class college student to walk around, take drugs and wear a headdress.

On Thursday, June 30th, I received a message from Rebel Love Show host, Rob Mathias.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 9.53.18 PMI called him up to figure out what a “Rainbow Gathering” was. My assumption was that this gathering was some sort of music festival, but according to him, this wasn’t the case.

I thought that I wouldn’t be able to go, considering how broke I was. So I straight up told him that I didn’t have any money, but he was persistent .

“It’s an anarcho-communist community” he would go on to say. “This isn’t a festival with a big stage, it’s how people live- it’s a lifestyle. There’s no money involved, they hate money. Everything is community-based, and it’s your personal choice to donate or bring food.”

He sold me. Seeing as though I had no money, this was a pretty good opportunity to check it out. Also, with how sketchy this sounded, I didn’t have much to lose. As I pried for more information, I had to ask the big question.

“This isn’t a cult, is it?” I asked.

On the other line, I could hear a slight laugh.

“No, but this is probably the closest thing to being one without actually being one that you’ll experience.”

I made a nervous chuckle.

“I’m in”, I said, mentally getting myself together to actually go through with my commitment. There was no backing out of this now. I said yes, and I was going.

“Awesome, dude. You won’t regret going”, he said.

My initial thought was focused on my job. It was 4th of July weekend so I had Monday off, but Tuesday needed to be worked on. I told him that I needed to be back for Tuesday morning because of work and he told me he would call some people and get back to me. After a few minutes of waiting, I got a call back saying that his friend, Nate, was going to head back Tuesday. Everything was in place. The only thing I didn’t have was a tent.

“We’ll figure out your tent situation”, Rob said.

As I hung up, I turned to my two friends whom I was staying with for the night.

“I just got invited to a Rainbow Family Gathering”, I told them. “I’m still unsure of what this entails but I’m definitely going.”

As I tried to convey to them what Rob told me, I decided to look it up. There were images of naked, dreadlocked people running around in the mud, holding each other, and standing in a circle with their heads down in prayer.

“This is totally a cult,” I said with a laugh. “Holy shit this is totally a cult.” The tone of my friends was that of concern. They were skeptical as to why I was going and, for the most part, they had a good reason. They didn’t know what I was getting into, hell, I didn’t even know. I had never been to any sort of festival before. I’m not the kind of person who spends $300 dollars to travel out to the middle of nowhere, listen to a bunch of crappy EDM music and wear a headdress, but from what I had gathered, this was something leagues above any of that. This was something that was real. This was a lifestyle.

According to Wikipedia:

Rainbow Gatherings are temporary loosely knit communities of people who congregate annually in remote forests around the world for one or more weeks at a time to enact a supposedly shared ideology of peace, harmony, freedom, and respect. Anyone is allowed to attend and participants refer to themselves as a “Rainbow Family”. The goal is to create what they believe is a more satisfying culture—free from consumerism,capitalism, and mass media—that’s nonhierarchical, furthers world peace, and serves as a model for reforms to mainstream society.“

“Are you going to get naked and dance in the mud?” they joked.

I was unsure.

“At this point, probably?” I replied.

“Well we wish you the best”, they said.

I went to bed that night thinking about what I had gotten myself into. It kept me up, I stirred over how I would handle myself.

“Should I stay reserved? Should I just go all in? It wouldn’t make much of a story if I stayed on the outside through the whole thing.  That’s just not fun. I’m only going to be there for a day. Some people have been doing this for 30 years. I think I can handle a day, yeah. If I’m only going to be there for a day, I should just go all in. I’m going to come in hot, stay hot, and leave burnt. Like a comet. Yeah, all in.”

On Sunday, the day that I was expected to leave, I got another message from Rob. This time, he told me that Nate, the person driving me back on Tuesday, planned to leave later than expected. That meant I had to call my boss.

I quickly gave him a call and flat-out explained to him what I was getting into. “It would make a good article for my personal blog”, I explained. He was very understanding.

“Good luck”, he said. “I had a cousin go out to one of those in the 70’s. We didn’t hear back from her for about 5 years.”

That wasn’t the best thing to hear as I was getting ready to leave. I got off the phone and tried to amp myself up.

“You’re not backing out of this,” I told myself. “You’ll only be there for, what, a day and a half? This will be fun.”

I left my friend’s apartment and drove home to get ready. As I was packing, my landlady, who I call “Mamma Brown”, asked where I was going.

“Uh…to a Rainbow Family Gathering”, I said.

She stood there, in a simple confusion.

“I’m not even going to ask”, she turned around and waved her hand. “Just be careful.”

I threw all of my stuff in the car and drove to Rob’s apartment. I arrived shortly before him so I hung out on his stoop until he pulled in. I was a little tense.

He arrived, invited me into his place, and showed me around. Colored lights and tapestries covered the walls.  I got to take a look at his broadcasting studio as well as have a discussion about anarchism and the state of things in New Hampshire. Rob’s an Anarchist. He and his fiance moved to the state of New Hampshire for the Free State Project.  After some time, Nate showed up. I walked out, eager to meet him.

Nate is a calm, well-spoken individual. Upon meeting him, I could sense a “lightness” to his presence. His genuine personality created somewhat of a foundation of which, if anything were to happen, would maintain some form of stability, whatever “stability” meant. I was glad to meet him and was glad he was coming with us. We gave our introductions and started talking about our limited festival experience. He was like me – none. I wasn’t alone, thank God. Our opinions of what we were getting into were similar which was nervous but excited. We were going to experience whatever this “Rainbow Gathering” was. Maybe we would uncover something about ourselves…or whatever.

We threw all of our stuff together and headed out. I drove with Rob while Nate followed closely behind. The Sun, with its deep red hue, began to set in front of us. Lighting our direction until slowly falling behind the great woods and mountains of New Hampshire.

Our pilgrimage to Rainbow had begun.

Dead River pt. 2

Dead River was a small creek hidden away behind a rundown mill building.  It was a shit-hole when we were kids and it had only gotten worse the older we got. Time was its worst enemy.

Vines grew between the mortar. Each one widening the foundation, creating spaces. Pushing the distance between each brick further apart until a portion of it had collapsed.

“The cycle of life heeds to no man,” he said, smiling.

The river had created a sandbar in the area in front of the mill. As if nature itself had molded a path to the other side. The water level remained waist deep no matter the conditions. Only our age had shrunk the water.

Just past the mill was a section of the river that owed its name. A small basin where the surrounding trees had died. The decay had kept them there, untouched. Complimenting the crumbling building.

We always kept clear of it. Our superstitions masked by humor. Daring each other, one day, to swim past it. Neither of us expecting to call each others bluff.

He sat on one of the fallen chunks of brick and began rolling another joint.

“Could you picture a more perfect spot?” he asked, cheerfully. “I love coming here.”

“I’ll never tire of this place,” I whispered to myself.

I found a comfortable seat on an adjacent pile of rubble. He passed the joint.

Even under the debris of a dying building, this place remained beautiful.  I took a drag and handed it back. This went on until there was nothing left.

“You ready to swim?” I asked.

He paused, puffed out his last hit and shook his head.

“I suppose there is no time like now, my friend.”

The river was clear, cold and pure. A man could cleanse himself of the dirt on his feet, or the sin in his soul. A cold redemption, a sobering experience.

I began to shake. As if the frigid water had seeped into every fiber of my body. I had to shut everything out of my mind and focus on regulating myself.

“You know, shivering is a form of meditation,” he shouted from the mill.

His words cut my focus. I had to start all over again.

I said nothing. I stood there, waist deep with my arms crossed and eyes closed, shaking.

“This will pass,” I muttered to myself.

I was able to block my senses. The sound of the creek, the birds in the trees, even him. It all went quiet as I acclimated.The white silence.

My shivering began to fade. Soon after that, it stopped.

He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out two cigarettes for us. Then he walked in the water with ease. His reaction to the cold wasn’t nearly as reflective as mine.

“Here. Focus on the fire. Get a grip on yourself.”

The cigarette was warm. The smoke had filled my lungs and calmed me down. The nicotine comfort.

At this point, he began to shiver. He acknowledged it with humor.

“The temperature never changes. It’s always freezing, man. Shit,” he laughed. “Every time we come here, I think I’ll be ready for it, but I’m not.”

I rebuked.

“Shivering is a form of meditation.”

He laughed as if I had caught him.

“Yeah, well at this point, we should be zen masters.”

I sunk myself into the water slowly. Every inch submerged felt like pins crawling further and further up.  As if my body was waking up for the first time.

With the water now up to my neck, I could feel the ice-like headache rush up the back of my skull. Sharp at first, then numbing.

My ciggarette was out.  Just an unlit filter held between my lips.

The wind began to gently rustle the leaves. A sense of clarity, peace, and silence had quelled the noise. It was no longer myself shutting out the world around me, the world, for a moment, was silent.

He turned to me.

“Well, friend. I think it’s time we catch up.”

 

 

Dead River pt.1

He sat on the couch, legs crossed, arms stretched out, with his head hanging almost behind him. A cigarette delicately held between his teeth. His eyes were open and vacant. The thousand yard stare that made me think that he was seeing something through the ceiling. Looking into space or perhaps inside himself. Or maybe he was gazing at the fine spackling. Every dot or smudge, a star or galaxy. I didn’t know.

“I’ll feel this eventually” – He muttered to me. The cigarette still between his teeth.

He took a drag, pulling the nicotine stained smoke into him, and exhaled with a heavy breath. The smoke filled the room for a short while only to be rushed out of a nearby open window.

You could tell he was already feeling it. His form, relaxed. A cynical smile ran across his mouth from almost ear to ear.

“Hey, man. Put a record on.”

I walked over to the player, grabbed an album at random and threw it on. The black circle spinning,- gliding effortlessly around like a carousel. I sat and watched it for a minute. Staring at it as blankly as he had the ceiling. I could feel it hit me too. I gently moved the needle over and placed it on the album like a physicist splitting an atom. Careful and delicate, not to leave one scratch or fuck it up. I couldn’t let that happen. Nobody else in the room had the ability to.

The music started to play. His head lifted slowly from the trance he had just been pulled out of. His eyes focussed back to reality as his motions livened up.

“Yeah, man this album is fuckin’ solid.”

I was getting tired of his antics. Pretending to be a hip child of the 70’s that nobody understood, but everyone just assumed it was a phase for him. A style. A statement. Something to separate himself from “the norm”. He was him.  Who had the guts to tell him he wasn’t, you know? You snap your fingers poetically to a guy like this.

The character that he was. The old soul entrapped in a technological age. Where organic ends and chemicals start. Here he was, in my living room, tripping his face off.

“You should chill out, man,” I said as I rolled a joint. I could definitely tell it was hitting us. The air got lighter. There was a hint of vibrancy that came from what I was feeling, but I couldn’t point it out at the time. Nothing was comprehensible.

I finished rolling the joint and by that time the drugs took hold. My perception of distance had withered away and as I stared down, my arms appeared to be miles away. As I looked past the gaps in my fingers, my eyes focussed to the floor. With the background now coming into focus, it felt like I was looking down from an airplane. I knew I wasn’t. I still maintained the basic cognitive intuitions to understand that it was all in my head. The inner fool. The laughing idiot inside me creating a sense of mental dissonance.

“Dude, what are you saying?” he asked.

I must’ve been talking out loud.

“The inner fool? Th’fuck are you talking about?”

Maybe I was losing the basics too.

“Nothing…” I said. I needed to be careful. By this point, I wasn’t really under any sort of control. I could still walk, talk, and perceive what was around me, but the universe was melting out of every orifice of my face. A rush of colors running slowly out of my ear.  The kind of feeling that you would get if you went swimming, to find out, upon going to sleep, you still had water trapped in your skull only for it to release as soon as that side of your head hit the pillow. The warm drip.

“Christ, man! Look at you!”, the man on the couch exclaimed.

He gripped his cigarette between his teeth and walked over to me.  He kneeled down in front of my face. My mind racing to grasp whatever branch of reality was closest. I focussed on the record player. The sounds pushing their way out of the black speaker. I could see the waves reverberate the surrounding air. Almost as if there was a gas leak in the house.

“You’re in for a long trip”, he said.

I leaned back in the chair, put my hands over my face and slowly moved them back through my hair. I began to laugh uncontrollably.

The record stopped.

“I think it’s you who needs to chill out. Let’s go outside.”

Outside was beautiful. Upon leaving the house, the air was still and warm. The sun’s rays were blocked by the house. We stumbled down the stairs and onto the grass.

I could feel each blade of grass growing underneath my feet. Stretching upward towards the light. I took a few bumbling steps then dropped to my knees. The rest of my body followed that motion to the ground. Flat on my stomach I closed my eyes and used my entire being to roll over.

My eyes remained closed.

The funny thing about acid is that you’re always following yourself. You can’t force your brain one way or another. I tried reflecting on a few things, but that wasn’t the direction my mind was going. Like walking a dog. You’re always trying to catch up.

I opened my eyes. The wooded area to my right was bustling with activity. Birds chirping, small animals rustling around in the leaves. A miniature city. Its residents screaming at each other.

“Yo, check out the barn.” he called over to me.

My eyes slowly panned upwards. At the top of the old red barn were three large birds.

“Turkey vultures,” I said.

“Turkey vultures? You have them here?”

Three large birds huddled together waiting for their next meal. They probably thought I was it. Laying in the grass like a dead animal completely removed from any mental control.

“They’re going to eat us”, I called out to him.

There was a long pause.

“That’s a fucked up thing to say, dude” he called back.

I could hear his footsteps through the grass. He was walking over to me. I closed my eyes.

His shadow blocked out the light. He was standing over me. I felt a small tap on my forehead. He dropped a cigarette for me.

As I could hear him flick his lighter, I opened my eyes, grabbed the cigarette and sat up crosslegged.

“Where are we going?” I asked, lighting up. The hit was harsh.

It wasn’t a cigarette. It was another joint. I coughed.

“We’re heading to Dead River.”

Digital = The Best Choice For Advertising Cannabis.

Cannabis still remains a schedule 1 narcotic. That in itself makes things difficult for entrepreneurs looking to reach out to new clients and establish themselves in a potential and effective industry.

Though many have become succesful in states like Colorado, Oregon, California, and Washington, the ability to reach out to others is limited by the legalities of most states. Like ciggarettes, cannabis businesses aren’t allowed to promote themselves through television. The main focus for many is print, but print is expensive.

Word of mouth was the original advertisers for those looking to relax, but now cannabis has focussed itself in an established, billion dollar industry that seeks to continue its growth to other states.

According to Marijuana Business Magazine:

“About 80% of what you can do in the advertising world is locked off from the cannabis world,” Darran Bruce, the owner and founder of Independent Alternative Media in Seattle, said.

Denver-based Iris, for example, only gets about 50% of its revenue from the cannabis industry, while Seattle’s Independent Alternative Media only gets about 25% of its business from marijuana.

“It’s constantly growing,” said Bruce, adding that his company’s revenues from the cannabis industry have been steadily increasing.

So where can they turn to obtain financial growth?

The answer is digital. Digital has the monitorization that television and print simply don’t have. Social media, for a significantly low cost can bring the reach you need. It provides the metrics that allow you to see how many people your ad is reaching as well as give’s companies insights as to better evaluate who they are reaching out to.

Now, there are some barriers to using social media to advertise your canna-business. Facebook’s strict guidelines provide very limited advertising space even for medicinal uses. But for hemp-based products such as clothing, paper, and various other utilities that come from the hemp plant, the options are slightly more relaxed.

Other than Facebook, social media sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Pinterest have no real censorship in regards to the advertising of cannabis products. The key here is that, with digital, there will always be a successful re-routing of information. If you dam a river, water will always move around it.

Why Portsmouth Is The Best Place To Open Cannabis Shop.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire is a small town located just across the border from Maine.

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It’s community, views, and respect for artisans, make it the most productive and respectable city In New Hampshire. To say it bluntly, it’s progressive.

New Hampshire has an issue with cannabis. The issue isn’t a result of the users, but a result of the law that still has the potential to ruin the lives of many who reside here. The punishment that affects people the most is the ability to arrest and jail residents for up to 1 year or face a fine of up to $2,000 dollars. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that hasn’t lessened the burden of this law.

For legalization, we should look to Maine for an appropriate reaction to legalization. In the city of South Portland, a bill was passed to give adults the ability to carry on them up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis without facing the harsh penalties that New Hampshire still burdens its citizens with.

That is where Portsmouth comes in. Portsmouth, with its small community and more relaxed view on cannabis, has become a hubspot for many young adults looking to reap the benefits of a weekend nightlife without the issues stemming from places like downtown Manchester, Nashua, or Concord. With its attractions, its cobblestone sidewalks, and effectively progressive ideologies, Portsmouth seems like the most effective area to show the state that cannabis users are more coherent and respectable with the freedom to obtain, smoke, or ingest cannabis.

Now, the state has passed a bill giving residents the ability to obtain medical cannabis, but the laundry list is small, and even though we now have people utilizing these benefits for self-medication, the state hasn’t taken kindly to those who qualify and have obtained the right to access it.

With 62% of New Hampshire residents in support of legalizing cannabis and 73% in favor of decriminalization, it appears that the vast majority of citizens in this state are not in favor of keeping these laws in place.

The House of Representatives has also voiced themselves as pro-pot by having most bills pass the house, but get stopped at the desk of Hassan and Ayotte. If there was any consolation as to where New Hampshire can start increasing its progressive “free minded” values, it would be in the City of Portsmouth.