Bluntly Speaking, The Lift Cannabis Expo Was “Bought and Paid-for This Year” by Corporate High Rollers.

Unfortunately this was and is the truth. The Lift Cannabis Expo is a consumer trade-show geared towards empowering the general public to make more informed decisions related to using cannabis. The Lift corporation started these trade-shows in 2014. This was its 3rd year to be held in downtown Toronto.

The vibe was much different last year and was all about embracing and integrating the cannabis culture into every day life.

Last year, we saw equal representation between the small “Mom and Pop” dispensary-style compassion clubs and the government sanctioned Licensed Producers. They both stood shoulder to shoulder and had equal stage presentation time, to share information with the public.

This year, the take home message was clear…this is a billion dollar medical industry…cannabis isn’t a lifestyle, it’s a medication and if you have deep pockets, you will “pay to play” if you hope to run with the big dogs…legally.

This comes as no shock to anyone who has been following the shenanigans within the Canadian Cannabis Industry over the last 2 years. Our government has set the wheels in motion to achieve the monopoly on the sale of cannabis as the country transitions into full legalization for their “go to date” of July 1st, 2018.

TAX, REGULATE and RESTRICT ACCESS is the current Liberal government’s mandate, with proposed revenue generating fees at each level of their involvement.

I saw only a handful of small businesses that had booth space…even the Vape Lounge (which last year was packed and was so “free” that you could use your own equipment) was corporately sponsored by several big vapourizer companies. The actual Vape Lounge space looked like an Apple Store. It had its own security, was carding people for age of majority (25) and was supervised, with company reps who would assist with “vapourizer handling”.

It didn’t provide a warm and fuzzy feeling…like an inviting coffee shop in Amsterdam would have. There was no encouragement to actually linger and take your time.

Instead, it felt snooty and sterile with an underlying tone of high pressure sales. I did not find the space to be inviting. @knarly327 and I took our turn being ushered passed the security guards and through a turn-style to enter the lounge. Once we experienced the cold grip of retail at every turn, we left. I didn’t even snap a photo because I felt like my gear would be confiscated.

“It was too bad,” we thought.

After this, we finally made it through booth after booth of “For Profit” cannabis resource centres. (This felt like you were passing through a gauntlet of carrots dangling from strings, as one company tried to out-do their competitors with the most attractive sign-up bonuses.)

These cannabis consulting companies put their customers in touch with medical doctors who will become their “cannabis doctors”and will sign and grant  medical cannabis licenses. Then, their doctors will issue a medical cannabis license and assign the customer to THEIR preferred Licensed Producer of choice, not the customer’s.  All of this, for a princely sum, of course. Plus, no mention of the kick-backs that they will receive from the LPs who they have back-room deals with and why no choice of LP is given to the customer… I might add.

We quickly realized that there wasn’t much difference between this type of  high pressured sales tactics and the tactics used to sell Time Shares.  It had a very similar feel and vibe.

Along the way, we did see some very cool new gadgetry designed for “a growing industry” and meant for small amounts of gardening.

This is an automatic seed starter. It was unclear if it was a proto-type. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a company name on it or anyone around who I could ask for more details. 🙁

This little cabinet is called a Grobo. It’s marketed as a fool-proof hydroponic grow box. This is what it looks like in its “closed, nothing to see here, I’m just furniture” position.

Electronically, it keeps the plant in both the correct amount of lightness and darkness for each stage of its life-cycle. Artistically, it also acts like a piece of furniture that you can use for soft ambiance lighting in your living room. (The light it throws off into your room can be selected by intensity and colour.)

Here it is lit, with the plant visible on the inside.

It’s a self-contained system for those who want to grow a single plant. It does all the watering, light adjusting and feeding for you, once all the reservoirs are filled up with the appropriate liquids.

When I asked the Grobo rep, he confirmed that you would have to be somewhat selective in what seed you chose to grow. Smaller strains are going to do better in the unit than a strain that normally gets to be over 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, for example. He also said that 2 ounces of flower produced from a plant grown in one of these Grobos is the average yield achieved.

This unit retails for approximately $1600 USD.

I was also quite taken with the smaller automatic bud trimmers.

This particular one retails for just over $2,000 USD and is a table-top version.

I also talked to some really cool people this year…and I couldn’t help myself, I shared the Steemit opportunity with a few of them.

Like, Michael Mason. He’s a Cannabis coach too.

He helps people to get dignified access to cannabis, teaches skills like how to select strains and how to dose properly. He also runs educational workshops and teaches people how to cook with cannabis. I had a great discussion with Michael and among a slew of other things,  I learned that he has been growing his hair for 13 years!

Michael works for a family run company called Phyto Medical. For more info, you can view the website at: www.phytomedical.ca

They charge a yearly membership fee and then, run all kinds of free seminars and programs for their members to access through their resource centre.

I also bumped into Dana Larsen and got to chat with him for a few minutes.

Dana is well known in the Canadian Cannabis Culture. He’s the Founding Director of the Vancouver Dispensary Society, he’s an author and he was at the Expo, promoting his “Overgrow Canada” campaign which he launched last year.

The goal of the campaign is to bring awareness to the fact that the cannabis industry in Canada should be free and fair. Last year Dana gave away 2 million free cannabis seeds to people across the country who promised to plant them in public spaces. This year he has given away 5 million seeds!

(Although we couldn’t vape in memory of Franco Loja, I had taken some Platinum Banana Kush tincture. By that point, I was having a little bit of difficulty holding my eyes open when the picture with Dana was being taken.)

One more really cool thing was that we were able to pick-up this trade magazine…

It was fantastic to see such an incredible cover shot of Franco doing what he loved to do.

I’m not sure how he felt about corporate involvement in the cannabis culture, but this magazine cover was a beautiful tribute to a fine human being.

I welcome your comments and I invite you to follow me on my journey.

~ Rebecca Ryan

On Location at 420 Toronto.

In 2015, I decided to officially come out of the cannabis closet and support the Canadian Cannabis Culture, by adding my voice to the growing number of Canadians who were and are open advocates for the “freeing of a herb”.

Admittedly, I’m a little late coming out green, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been a huge supporter of the lifestyle for decades. I just never felt like I could safely and openly speak about it without being persecuted and charged like a felon.

In Canada it is still illegal to possess cannabis, use cannabis, grow cannabis from seed and even share information in the form of ANY printed material related to any aspect of this special life-saving plant. If you have an official medical marijuana license issued by the government, than there is some legitimacy and protection of sorts, but really, if we call a spade a spade it’s still a huge erosion of civil liberties at best.

This 420 event, which was just held on April 20th, 2017, will be one of the last acts of civil disobedience and peaceful demonstrations that will be held at Toronto’s Younge and Dundas Square. Next year, the event which has been enjoyed in the same location for 19 years, will be moving to a new location because the city is concerned about the space being too small to safely accommodate the number of event supporters.

Without further ado, let me take you into the heart of the great city of Toronto, Ontario Canada to 420 Toronto!

The day was rainy and cold. We knew we were going to get wet and we had dressed to be in the elements for several hours. (Long-johns under jeans, wool socks, boots, sweaters, jackets and rain coats and for myself, winter gloves.)

The square that we spent the afternoon in, is just a few blocks away from this historic hotel, called the Royal York.

We arrived at the event shortly after 1:00 pm, thinking that we wouldn’t have much of a problem getting to chat with vendors and listening to the speakers. It was already becoming packed 3 hours before the celebration was really going to kick off.

This is a cannabis plant that Justin Loizos, the owner of Just Compassion and a Canadian Cannabis Activist, representing The Cannabis Rights Coalition had on display.  Just Compassion is a private members medical cannabis club that helps medical cannabis patients who have any one of the following government issued medical marijuana licenses: MMAR, MMPR, and ACMPR.

Justin is a well respected Canadian Cannabis Activist in the province of Ontario and he directly and indirectly helps thousands of individuals muddle their way through accessing the plant and using it as medicine. We really wanted to hear him speak and I am happy to report that we were able to do that and meet him in person too.

(Photo credit goes to Paul H.)

This is Justin speaking with his girlfriend Meghan Jefferies at his side. Justin has used cannabis to treat Multiple Sclerosis, which he is afflicted by. This is one thing that we have in common and is also one of the reasons that it was important to me to be in the crowd, on the day to support him.

(Justin and Meghan making their way off the stage.)

As the afternoon wore on, it became harder and harder to move within the crowd of people.

The vendors are all located underneath the white canopies. It was difficult to get close to them, even shortly after we arrived. With that said, here is some of the promotional swag we were graciously given:

3 t-shirts, some medicated edible cookie dough that require baking, CBD seeds and lots of literature to read.

This is John Vergados speaking. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Highway Canada/Skunk magazine and a vendor in attendance at the event.

There was dancing, by a troop called the Goddess Factory Twerk Squad.

Then, the rain came as we waited for Marc Emery, the Prince of Pot, to speak just before 4:20 pm.

Marc said hello to us and I was able to thank him for everything he is doing for the Canadian cannabis movement.

He shared that 420, as a global movement really got started when his team at Cannabis Culture Magazine decided to start the first event in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 23 years ago. Last year, Marc said he was able to celebrate 420 in India.

Back-track to 2010, Marc was extradited by the Canadian government to the United States, where he was tried for selling cannabis seeds via mail order, into the States. He served 5 years, in multiple US prisons, FOR SELLING CANNABIS SEEDS. He was not protected or helped by our Canadian government. It was my opinion that they, just like now, are targeting him and his wife Jodie. Our government seems to be quite content to throw them under the bus to attempt to make an example out of both of them…even though cannabis related criminal charges are currently being thrown out of our judicial system which means no charges that were laid are sticking.

Marc is currently facing more than a dozen charges, after a targeted raid on a chain of dispensaries that he owns was carried out across the country in March, of this year.  The most ominous charge being “conspiracy to commit an indictable offense”. Everyone understands that there are no victims of the crimes he is being charged with and it is a complete waste of time and tax payer dollars which could total over a million dollars by the time everything is said and done.

Marc Emery, taking the stage and speaking for approximately 15 minutes just before 4:20 pm.

(This video was uploaded to Youtube on April 20th, 2017 by John RoXx.)

(Then, this video taken by @knarly327, was uploaded to Youtube on April 22, 2017 on his Scrap Fe channel.)

It’s the actual count down to 4:20 pm.

The Younge and Dundas Square became instantly covered in a thick cannabis haze.

Here’s what Vancouver’s 420 event looked like:

(This video was uploaded to YouTube by Mark Klokeid on Apr. 20th, 2017.)

Here’s what Ottawa’s 420 event looked like:

(This video was uploaded to YouTube by Pat GPM on Apr. 20th, 2017)

Every major city across Canada had scheduled 420 events each with keynote speakers.

I consider myself to be privileged to be able to attend a rally and a protest in my country without being arrested for doing so.

Rebecca Ryan

A Two Week Tolerance Break to Reset your Endocannabinoid System

(I just loved this window decal. It adorns a small window belonging to a tattoo studio, called Skulls Tattoos in Cadiz, Spain.)

Sugar Skulls represent change to me. Traditionally they are used to honour the dead and remind the living that their dearly departed have made a change to a state were no pain and suffering exists.

When my husband and I traveled to Spain recently, we had to take a break from our daily use of medical cannabis.

This was a change for us. The last time we took a cannabis reprieve was about 2 years ago.

In Canada, we both have our medical licenses which permit us to possess and use cannabis, legally. When traveling outside our country, even though this plant is medicine for both of us, our medical licenses are not recognized.  We must respect the laws of the country we are traveling to and visiting. The alternative is accepting the consequences, if caught using a substance that is predominantly still prohibited in most parts of the world.

Such was the case with Spain. Spain’s laws allow for medical cannabis use, but only if you are a permanent resident.

Neither one of us was thrilled about not having the freedom to use the plant if we needed it, but we weren’t willing to commit an act of civil disobedience and risk criminal charges or potential incarceration, abroad.

This meant that we went without the plant medicine for 14 days.  Anytime you abstain from cannabis when you are a regular consumer of it, the process is called taking a “tolerance break”. The minimum amount of time for a tolerance break to be be successful is 6 days. However, a full 30 days is recommended for the maximum benefits to be realized.

The benefit of doing this on an annual basis, is to “reset” the neurotransmitter receptor sites, which are found on cells all over our bodies. These receptor sites are biological structures which make up the endocannabinoid system. They are responsible for binding directly with all the cannabinoids of which there are approximately 111, known to date. The two most commonly know ones are THC, which produces a psychoactive effect in the body and CBD which does not.

The endocannabinoid system is self-regulating. This means that when it is regularly exposed to cannabinoids and they are abundant in the body, some of the neurotransmitter sites retract and close. They become no longer “receptive” to cannabinoids. This self-regulating feature is what protects the body from becoming out of balance. This is why a regular cannabis consumer can ingest more cannabis than a person who never consumes or occasionally consumes the herb. It is not related to the size of the body, the person’s weight or the health of their liver.

What tends to happen is that the regular cannabis consumer will insidiously ingest more cannabis, over time to achieve the same effects. The more appropriate approach is to take a tolerance break which will reset the neuroreceptor sites. This opens them again and after the break, the individually will be able to consume less cannabis to achieve the level of desired effects that they want to achieve.

Our experience validated this.

My husband suffers from chronic migraine headaches which side-lines him for days at a time to sunglasses, ice packs darkened rooms and vomiting. In my case, I am consumed with muscle spasms, extreme insomnia and the lack of patience that results with loss of sleep.

At day two, without our plant medicine, my husband had a migraine and I stopped being able to sleep at night and suffered through some wicked muscle spasming in my feet.

We were both feeling rough.

O.K….maybe not as rough as this person…LOL

In my husband’s case he had lots of double espressos, Anacin, ice packs, osteopathy and massage. By day 3, he considered checking himself into this gallery to see if some “rack stretching” would help.

We persevered.  By day 4, his headache had finally broke and we worked really hard to keep ourselves well-hydrated with water. I started sleeping, every other night which I can deal with and we were both having exceptionally vivid dreams. I had some mild night sweats, but over-all the process was completely manageable.

By the time the entire 14 days had passed, and we were back in Canada, both our systems had successfully reset. I am happy to report that we now only require half the dose of cannabis that we were consuming before our trip.

The reset worked and we survived the entire process just fine.

7 ACRES of Medical Potential, Emerging as a Global Cannabis Production Leader

In October of 2016, I had an opportunity to interview John Fowler who is the CEO of Supreme Pharmaceuticals Incorporated.

Supreme is a publically traded company (OTC PINK:SPRWF)(CSE:SL) and owns 7 ACRES, a hybrid greenhouse, that boast 342,000 sq/ft of medical cannabis growing space.

7 ACRES is located on a 16 acre parcel of land just outside of the small town of Kincardine, Ontario Canada.

(The Kincardine Lighthouse)

It’s close to the eastern shores of Lake Huron and is part of the Bruce Energy centre which is a collection of industrial enterprises including wind power generation.

   (The eastern shore of Lake Huron, at Inverhuron Beach, is a stone’s throw away from 7 ACRES’ facility.)

(Across the street from7 ACRES is Ontario’s first commercial wind farm, known as Huron Wind.)

The existing greenhouse was built in the 1970’s and grew hydroponic tomatoes and peppers.

(This is a picture inside the original greenhouse in 1987. Marilyn Ryan is tending to hydroponically grown tomato plants.)

After sitting vacant for many years, Supreme undertook the process of refurbishing the facility in 2013. They are one of Canada’s largest medical marijuana growing facilities and the only hybrid greenhouse of its kind and size in the world.

The full production approval process has been a long-time coming due to Health Canada’s onerous and heavily inspection process.

In the spring of this year, after almost 3 years of meeting bureaucratic standards and policies, very similar in requirements to what a pharmaceutical manufacturing laboratory is held to, 7 ACRES was given the approval to put cannabis seeds into soil for the first time.

(This is 7 ACRES hybrid Greenhouse. The Greenhouse’s overall foot-print literally takes up 7 ACRES of land and gives concrete definition to its name. It’s also heavily fortified by fencing and surveillance, which is something you would expect considering that 7 ACRES is being treated like a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, by the Canada government.)

7 ACRES’ first crop is currently being tested for safety, efficacy and medical quality. When it meets Canadian government standards, 7 ACRES will be given more access to grow legally sanctioned cannabis crops for re-sale within the country. They are set to become one of Canada’s projected 50 approved licensed cannabis producers. Currently there are 34 facilities operating with full government approval.

7 ACRES employs approximately 20 full time employees. However, on Wednesday, Dec. 7th, 2016, the company announced that it was able to secure an additional $55 million dollars to continue the development of their current operations, on site. This will eventually translate into the creation of 200 full-time jobs, for qualified individuals, on their successful completion of phase four of their business development model.

This is a picture of 7 ACRES’ core staff.

( John Fowler, 7 ACRES’ CEO, is centred in the picture to the right and is the gentleman in a suit-jacket with dark hair. The only structure that is remaining from the original greenhouse is some of the glass roof. Everything else is brand new. (Photo credit: 7 ACRES.)

He was gracious enough to provide some of the internal photographs inside the greenhouse and answer my very specific questions related to their growing practices.

7 ACRES are growing using coco coir, which provides the benefits of a hydroponic system but is more sustainable and user friendly.

In terms of water filtration, they are using multiple systems including media filters, UV and in limited cases, reverse osmosis.

(Photo credit: 7 ACRES.)

The air filtration system that they are using is a combination of Hepa filters, Ultra Violet and inside the growing rooms, the air is ozonated, as well.

In addition to sun-light, the lighting system includes 1000 watt, DE HPS fixtures.

7- Acres’ preferred nutrient brand is “Remo Brand nutrients. This is “veganic”, meaning it is plant-based organic-based food. It’s not certified organic but it’s basically organic without the designation of being certified as organic.

In order to influence the flavour profiles of their plants, 7 ACRES is employing the use of great genetics and tender loving care throughout the entire growing cycle. Upon harvest, they are focusing on keeping their high quality processing procedures strong when it comes to properly drying and curing the harvested material. This includes a slow, whole plant drying and dry trimming process. 7 ACRES feel that this gives them an “artisan” quality finished product, even though they are producing on a commercial scale.

(Photo credit: 7 ACRES.)

At this point in time, 7 ACRES is still only growing in 3,000 square feet, as mandated by the government approval process. Due to the government, they haven’t been able to recognize their full economies of scale, yet.

(Photo credit: 7 ACRES.)

Over the next 2 years, as approvals are granted by Health Canada, they plan to scale up in their production from 100 KG per month to 4,000+KG per month. When this occurs they will realize and achieve their true economies of scale. Exactly what their hybrid model has been designed to achieve.

Raw data is still being collected. Their operating decisions are not all price driven.

The 7 ACRES team believes they can offer unique product quality using both their controlled indoor growing practices and natural sunlight together.

So far, 7 ACRES has been able to achieve indoor quality in terms of look, smell and feel and they are expecting strong analytical results once testing of their first harvest has been completed.

(Photo credit: 7 ACRES.)

Their first harvest has produced more than what 7 ACRES originally predicted it would in their strategic business plan. Originally, they predicted that they would be able to achieve a 30 gram production from each plant. According to Mr. Fowler, they have already been able to exceed that.

7 ACRES is currently still waiting on analytical results which will focus on measuring the strain profiles of the plant material that they have produced but they feel confident that the outcome of the results they have achieved will be impressive based on their own internal evaluation.

From 7 ACRES’ vantage point, they see the international cannabis production industry headed towards global commercialization of cannabis in the not too distant future. As a result, the race is on to finish building out the entire 342,000 sq. ft. facility. This is approximately the size of 6 football fields as a frame of reference.

(Photo credit: 7 ACRES.)

The 7 ACRES team expects to have their facility fully completed within the next two to three years. Currently, 7 ACRES is planning to keep separate growing rooms dedicated to the recreational cannabis market and separate growing rooms dedicated to the medical cannabis market. To them, it’s the same plant but they are preparing this way in order to accommodate any new laws that may be introduced in the future as Canada moves into full cannabis legalization in 2017.

They are also positioning themselves to be able to offer growing room rentals and custom growing contracts to meet the Canadian legal requirements related to personal growing. Currently, all medical marijuana license holders are permitted to grow 5 plants inside for every gram of cannabis prescribed to them by a medical doctor. Any medical marijuana license holders who wish to grow can either grow for themselves or designate a grower on their behalf. The license holders must submit an 18-page application to grow and register as a personal grower with the government, if they wish to exercise their right to do so.

Strategically, 7 ACRES primary business model has positioned them in the Canadian cannabis industry as a “co-packer” of cannabis. This means that they intend to supply other Licensed Cannabis Producers with finished plant material that can then be sold to the “end consumer”.

7 ACRES are not positioning themselves to deal directly with the intended end consumer of their product. If a consumer wishes to know if 7 ACRES have produced the plant material they are interested in purchasing, this information will be clearly listed and found on the packaging label. This will ensure that all consumers will be able to make an informed decision about the cannabis they are purchasing.

Look for 7 ACRES to emerge as one of Canada’s biggest cannabis producers and be a major industry leader with publicly traded stock. They have set their sights high, in more ways than one.