Ciro Makes Cleaning Bongs a Breeze

I love it when a new product comes along that’s been designed with the core function to make life better, easier and cleaner. A product that makes me say, “Wow, I need that.” The truly revolutionary Ciro bong cleaner is one such item. The first-of-its-kind countertop appliance is the healthiest, most sustainable way to clean your pipes, bongs, grinder and trimming scissors by removing all the sticky resin using sonic waves—and in under 15 minutes without harmful and expensive chemicals.

Derivative of the Latin word for circle, the Ciro glass cleaner is the brainchild of two Emerald Triangle-based women, Laura Costa and Cara Cordoni.

“The Ciro comes from the heart of Humboldt County,” Costa says. “In addition to being great farmers, we’re also engineers, architects and artists.”

The Ciro cleans glassware and accessories in minutes.

How the Ciro Works

By harnessing industrial ultrasonic cleaning technology, the Ciro cleans the dirtiest bongs, pipes and other cannabis accessories and apparatus such as scissors and metal grinders. And it does so without using any nasty chemicals in a few minutes.

According to Costa, the sonic energy creates “cavitation,” tiny bubbles that explode against the resin, blasting it off the surface material and eliminating the need for solvents or other chemicals. 

The device is unique because the product’s design doesn’t require the bong to be submerged. Instead, it only needs to be filled with water. The Ciro’s six-inch base fits most bongs and if you want to clean dirty pipes, grinders or other accessories, simply pop them in a glass of water and place it in the Ciro. Adding a few drops of biodegradable dishwashing liquid emulsifies the resin, making for easy cleanup.

“The cannabis industry is loaded with waste,” Costa says. “One Ciro is about the same cost as about a dozen bottles of cleaner that you’ll never have to buy again. We’re very proud that we created something that eliminates a lot of single-use plastic and toxic chemicals from the environment.”

Ciro Bong Cleaner
The Ciro uses ultrasonic waves to create tiny bubbles that blast even the toughest resin off the glass.

The Benefits

The Full Flavor: Getting the full taste of the terpene profiles is one of the highlights of smoking cannabis. If you’re using a dirty bong containing stagnant bong water, you’re doing yourself and the flower a disservice. “You wouldn’t drink wine from a dirty glass,” Cordoni says. “So why would you smoke weed from a dirty bong?”

Reduced Respiratory Risks: Smoking out of dirty bongs and pipes isn’t just bad for the taste of your flower; it potentially poses health risks, too. Gross stagnant bong water is a haven for bacteria and other microbes that latch onto the gas and resin found inside your bong. Resin-encrusted bongs are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and pathogens. Smoking with them can lead to illnesses like strep throat and pneumonia.

Easy Cleanup: Cleaning bongs can be complicated and time-consuming, not to mention damn near impossible if you have dexterity issues. The sleek hands-free design of the Ciro makes it super easy to use, especially for patients and disabled users who often struggle to maintain the level of cleanliness that they deserve with traditional methods.

Environmentally Conscious Engineering: As well as eliminating toxic chemicals and reducing the need for single-use plastic, the Ciro is also engineered for performance and durability and includes a lifetime warranty. Costa and Cordoni developed a circular business model that will repair or reclaim products at end-of-life.

Ciro Bong Cleaner
Ciro founders Cara Cordoni (L) and Laura Costa (R).

Necessity and Innovation

The Ciro was born out of a two-fold need: a way to clean cannabis smoking apparatus and support her family as they worked through farming bureaucracy, Costa says.

“Many small farmers in the Emerald Triangle didn’t make it through the oppressive red tape and permitting costs of legalization after Prop 64,” Costa says. “Many farmers and their families had to pivot and find other ways to provide for their families.”

Costa is a skilled electrical engineer who spent part of her 20s rewiring airports in the South Pacific. She’s married to a legacy farmer and has spent years overseeing trim crews, tinkering with inventive ways to clean resinous apparatus. Costa built the first Ciro prototype using a thrift store cake pan as Exhibit A to her resourcefulness.

Cordoni is a San Francisco native and accomplished business builder, managing and coaching teams at various Fortune 500 companies and cannabis startups. Her passion for nurturing cradle-to-cradle product development extends into developing profitable businesses that prioritize protecting people and the environment.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished with Ciro,” Costa says. “We have the potential to provide a less wasteful and healthier cleaning and consumption experience for the cannabis community.”

Ciro has launched for pre-sale on Indiegogo. A pledge of $185 reserves one Ciro + accessories at 26% off the retail price of $250. Multiple packs are available for dispensaries at a more generous discount. To see Ciro in action, or to pre-purchase a unit, visit @ciro_humboldt.

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Face of the Farmer: John Casali, Huckleberry Hill Farms

In the mid 1970s, by the time John Casali was five years old, his mother, Marlene Farrell, had relocated them from his birthplace of San Francisco to a farm in Southern Humboldt County.

Starting in 1967, more than 100,000 people gathered in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and Haight-Ashbury district, where mostly young people identifying as hippies engaged in drugs, free love and anti-war activism. Deemed “The Summer of Love,” the social phenomenon offered the world a window into America’s growing counterculture. 

When the festivities ended in 1969, many traveled north to live off the land. Dubbed “Back to the Landers,” they settled mainly in three regions in Northern California: Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties, which all make up the Emerald Triangle. The area is known for its legacy farms that started the cannabis industry. That includes Casali who is still homesteading his mother’s property, Huckleberry Hill Farms, 50 years later.

John Casali of Huckleberry Hill Farms, a legacy, family-run farm in Humboldt County, California.

At Huckleberry Hill Farms, Casali’s mother grew their own food. She planted fruit trees and grape arbors that still produce today, alongside flower gardens woven throughout the idyllic hillside property. The garden isfilled with the history of the cannabis cultivars they’ve painstakingly produced over the years, in memory of loved ones now passed. 

Casali’s earliest memories are of those following his mother around the garden. “Cannabis was always part of our life from the very beginning, but it wasn’t the only crop on the farm,” Casali says. “I can remember running around with my mother as early as 10 years old, helping her cultivate the plant, but also tending to a grape arbor, fruit trees and the vegetable garden we ate from. Cannabis was just another crop that allowed us to survive and thrive in the country.”

Growing their own food, fishing commercially and logging and/or chopping firewood for others are just a few ways those living a rural life survived on the north coast of California and Oregon. Cannabis was grown on the side as a subsidy. Many produce farmers also grew cannabis in a don’t ask, don’t tell scenario that served them well for years. That is, until the helicopters came.

CAMP California

The Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, otherwise known as CAMP (1983 – 2012; 2015 – present) is a multi-agency law enforcement task force under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Justice that coordinates local, state and federal agencies, including Army soldiers and National Guardsmen, with a common goal of eradicating unlicensed cannabis cultivation and distribution in the state.

What CAMP did was federally fund, or subsidize, a bevy of local law enforcement for the failed War on Drugs. Just as with the failed DARE program taught in schools by paying police officers to teach kids about drugs, CAMP created a cash flow to otherwise lowly paid law enforcement, causing them to become dependent, and subsequently support, the failed War on Drugs at the polls. This only perpetuated the ignorance surrounding cannabis, a benign and beneficial plant.

No matter that California legalized medical cannabis in 1996, and had permitted adult-use since 2016. City, county and state agencies were guaranteed an income for raiding local, legal medical farms and associated entities for years under federal prohibition of the plant. With the combined funding, CAMP utilized helicopters in its multi-agency task force, forcing the plant–meant to grow outside in the sun–inside. 

This changed the face of cannabis farming for decades–if not forever.

The Raid

When he was 15 years old, Casali begged his mom to start his own farm. Not young enough to purchase an 11-acre parcel on his own, she co-signed, and he provided the down payment for a sweet spot along the Eel River in Southern Humboldt.

“Mom and I would compete for the best crop,” Casali says with a smile. “But then CAMP started in the ’80s, and by the early ’90s, my parents decided that fishing would be safer, so they left me to take care of the family farm.”

CAMP helicopters forced farmers to grow under trees and often underground in shipping containers to hide. The plant that once provided five or ten pounds at full growth out in the sun now produced substantially less in its hidden, stunted capacity.

But hiding wasn’t enough, and one morning just after sunrise, 30 federal agents arrived at the farm. They never handcuffed the farmer or his friend and neighbor Todd Wick who were both 24 years old at the time. Rather, they handed Casali a little yellow speeding ticket, saying they’d be back if they needed to talk to him further. Fourteen months later, they returned, offering up a hefty $275,000 bail for Casali.

“My mom put up the house and everything else she owned to get me out of jail,” Casali says. “For the next three years, Todd and I drove from Southern Humboldt to the federal courthouse in San Francisco to fight for our freedom as cannabis farmers—as good people, never wanting to hurt anyone.”

Some 100 supporters from Humboldt arrived for the sentencing that included mandatory minimums of ten years, all the way up to life. Casali and Wick surrendered in the summer of 1996, just a few months before California would vote to legalize medical cannabis in the state—the first to do so in the country.

“There was no appeal process based on the new medical laws,” he says. “Because we had no more money left to fight for both appeals, Todd went through the process and lost. After that, we were resigned to be in the system until we served our time.”

Farming In Prison

Because Casali and Wick were farmers, licensed and able to operate heavy equipment, much of their time served was spent working agricultural crops associated with the US Penitentiary at Lompoc, at around 12 cents an hour.

A little-known element of the failed privatized prison system is its eventual transferring of jobs that used to be done by private citizens. Not all jobs in America went overseas during the 1980s. Everything from manufacturing foodstuffs to shower doors to the 411 information line went to prisoners for pennies an hour—a travesty not often discussed in the politicking of job gains and losses in the US.

Since the Lompoc prison camp didn’t have a residential drug program, Casali was transferred to Nellis Airforce Base, where he said he actually learned something about drugs and addicts.

“While the program didn’t apply to me and my cannabis use or farming of it, I learned a lot about true addicts out there, and how they really lose their ability to control what they consume and how much,” he says. “Personally, I don’t believe cannabis falls into that category at all.” 

Casali added that, ironically, the prison system is loaded with offerings of any drug desired, and it’s up to the prisoner to abstain or face consequences of a higher security stay with less privileges.

After serving eight of the ten-year sentence for good behavior, Casali was released to a half-way house in the Tenderloin, San Francisco’s notorious (and worst) neighborhood. He then came back home to Humboldt and began farming his beloved cannabis once more, under California’s newly established cooperative medical cannabis compassionate care program.

“I had 50 people here in this community waiting to help me get my life back in order,” Casali said. “Everyone here knows it could have happened to anyone.”

Call it a barn raising at its finest, the struggle’s nothing new to cannabis farmers across the country in newly legalized states. They support each other while fighting issues of inequality, exorbitantly high taxes and ridiculous ordinances at every turn.

These farmers struggle through the same challenges as our food farmers—drought, storms, frost, low prices at market. But they’re also confronted with the failed War on Drugs, brutal governmental raids, prison time and subsequent criminality upon re-entering society.

The only difference between cannabis farmers and food farmers is that there aren’t any government subsidies for a low return in the ever evolving multi-billion-dollar cannabis market. There’s no category for small, craft cannabis farmers that would help them compete with large-scale corporate operations that sprung up across the state after legalization in 2016.

Price Per Pound

In the old legal medical market of California, the price per pound could fetch somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000. In California’s regulated recreational market, the farmers were promised up to $1,200 per pound, per contract. But in the final analysis of bringing it to market, farmers were offered a take-it-or-leave-it deal of just $400 a pound, contract or not. How did this happen?

“It costs me close to $500 to grow one pound,” Casali says. “To give you an example of a neighboring ag situation, Napa Valley grape growers are taxed $15 per acre and cannabis farmers are taxed between $4,200 to $5,000 per acre. That’s $1 per square foot; making cannabis the highest taxed agricultural crop in the world.”

Add $161.28 California State tax per pound, then $150 or so per pound to trim, plus Water Board, Fish & Game fees and untold thousands of additional dollars for improvements made for most farmers to come into compliance. Anyone can see that, on paper, this is the beginning of the collapse of the historic, heritage small cannabis farmers.

“We’re predicting that by the next season, we’ll lose 50% of our small farmers up here,” Casali says.

To provide a better overall idea about what California’s cannabis industry to the north has been through since the legalization of adult-use began, the County of Humboldt estimated that there were 15,000 small cannabis farmers operating when legalization went on the ballot with Prop. 64 in November of 2016—with no issues of meeting supply and demand, and nary a pound left on any shelf.

Today, there are currently 400 permit holders in Humboldt County alone, with Casali predicting 200 will have to stop farming in the next year, unable to afford to farm in a legal market.

“When we lost the one-acre rule the night before legalization, that put a nail in the coffin of most of our small farmers,” Casali says. “The corporate farms, or those with the most financial backing, began buying up the smaller farm’s licenses, beginning what’s called ‘stacking licenses.’ One large-scale, well-funded farm nearby has maybe 20 licenses stacked right now.”

The one-acre rule was supposed to be the saving grace for the small farmer. The way it was taken away the night before legalization with lobbyists in a secret, closed-door meeting with California Gov. Gavin Newsom left many appalled. Many people called it a “good-old boys club” of wealthy California cannabis entities looking to operate beyond promised limits.

Cooperative umbrellas were another way the small farmer hoped to survive, but with a $400 per pound reimbursement, even those entities fell short at market.

Finger pointing aside, one issue slightly overlooked is the lack of safe access or retail space available for moving plant material from the farm. With a national insistence that the plant is not beneficial, many conservative cities and counties have banned cannabis access points. 

Growing A Mother’s Love

Casalis’ partner, Rose Moberly, joined him three years ago, relocating from her home state of Colorado, where she too learned to farm cannabis at an early age. “We both went to community college but gravitated back to our true passion, farming the plant,” Moberly says.

Sadly, Casali’s mother passed away while he was serving time. One year to the day of his imprisonment, she died of a heart attack while pulling canned goods from a freezer; she had planned on bringing them to Casalion her next visit to see him in prison. 

“My mother taught me everything I know about farming,” Casali says. “This farm is her legacy, and I just had to find a way to honor her. So, we created a new cultivar from a favorite strain she created, Paradise Punch, by crossing it with both Blueberry Kush and Lavender Kush, to make Mom’s Weed.”

When Moberly became part of his life on the farm, Casali said it could no longer be just about him.

“Rose’s mom, Margie Zietz, battled cancer and passed away in 2020,” he says. “We took Paradise Punch and crossed it with Rose’s mom’s favorite strain, Wishful Thinking, creating Margie’s Magic.”

For the small cannabis farmer still standing, many feel that branding is the key to success in the new market. Personalized cultivars grown in the sun for years in loamy redwood soil can’t be compared to indoor, large-scale operations. Promoting this difference is critical, and branding Huckleberry Farms “Mom” cultivars has been key in getting their flower to market.

Crystal Clear

Aside from the hard work and red tape that comes with being cannabis farmers, there are perks and magic to be found in the hills of the Emerald Triangle, with Casali and Moberly offering up wishes to special visitors via crystals.

“We had a load of rocks delivered from the local quarry and noticed some of the rocks smashed were hollow and full of crystals,” Casali says. “So, we began putting them aside and saving them for guests to open up.”

Everything about Huckleberry Hill Farms feels sentimental. The crystals, the mother plants, the fruit trees and grape arbors. The general layout of this small, less-than-an-acre farm has been landscaped with love and intention—with the cannabis plant and the people who love her memorialized at every turn. It’s a true trickle-down culture, straight from the farm, that not many will ever be aware of as they enjoy Huckleberry Hill’scultivars. 

“Cannabis is a profoundly mysterious plant,” Casali says reflectively. “And such a powerful, healing plant, that even after working with it my entire life, it feels like I’ve just begun to truly understand her. Rose and I are just grateful to be here another season. To be able to farm this land that my mother found for us and loved. Did I take one for the team by serving time in prison? Yes, and no. We’re going forward with love and good intentions for this life we love on the farm. That’s really what it’s all about.”

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Capitol Rally to Bring Cannabis Tax Crisis to Doorstep of California Lawmakers

A chorus of industry stakeholders and lawmakers representing “the two populations most harmed by the War on Drugs”—legacy farmers and BIPOC leaders—plan to descend upon the California Capitol steps in Sacramento, California on Thursday, January 13  for the #NODRUGWARV2 Rally and Press conference. The rally begins at 11 a.m. PST, and every local cannabis advocate who cares about the viability of the industry is invited.

The #NODRUGWARV2 Rally and Press Conference highlights two specific actions that the California State Legislature must take before its July 1, 2022 budget deadline: the repeal of the excise tax for equity retailers and the repeal of the cultivation tax for all growers across the state.

On January 1, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration’s tax hike on dry-weight flower took effect—ushering in the latest blow to cultivators. The rates rose by almost five percent, reaching over $161 per pound. Calling the current tax situation in California the “War on Drugs 2.0”—the idea is to bring a sense of urgency to the issue as farms fail and tax rates purge valuable industry members.

Rally speakers include, in order of appearance, Amber Senter, chairperson and executive director of Supernova Women; Assemblymember Mia Bonta (18th District); Genine Coleman of Origins Council;  Kika Keith of Gorilla RX Wellness; John Casali of Huckleberry Hills Farm; Chaney Turner of Oakland’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission; Raeven Duckett-Robinson of Community Gardens;  Casey O’Neill of HappyDay Farms; Henry Alston of James Henry SF; Sam De La Paz of the Hessel Farmers Grange; Malakai Amen of the California Urban Partnership; Karla Avila of Trinity County Agriculture Alliance; Carlton Williams of New Life CA; and Senator Steve Bradford (35th District). Senter will be the final speaker and conclude the day’s remarks.

On Monday, January 10, Governor Gavin Newsom released the 2022-2023 California state budget—promising that he and his Administration will address cannabis tax reform and better support the state’s small licensed operators who are fed up with oppressive tax rates. The leaders behind Supernova Women and Origins Council are among those beating the drum.

“It is very oppressive. Really—we’re in a crisis,” Amber E. Senter of Supernova Women, a nonprofit that works to empower Black and Brown people to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis space, told High Times. “Cannabis sales are down. The whole economy is a bit soft. Folks just have been dealing with these onerous taxes since 2018 and folks are really beyond their breaking point. They no longer have the ability to continue under what we’ve been dealing with—particularly in the Bay Area as well as in LA. A lot of operators—especially social equity operators—are dealing with robberies and burglaries as a result of the economy and people desperate and making acts out of desperation. Folks are getting robbed, and they’re just not able to recover from what’s happening. We need some relief.”

“Not only has the State fallen short on its promise to right the wrongs inflicted upon minority communities by the War on Drugs,” Senter stated, “but it has also perpetuated regressive War on Drugs 2.0 policies through oppressive taxation, which has to end.”

Supernova Women was behind the November 29, 2021, Oakland City Hall Rally and Press Conference, with help from the Origins Council, a nonprofit organization that represents and advocates for cannabis businesses in California’s historic farming regions. There, they addressed the rash of robberies hitting cannabis businesses.

Legacy farmers are among those hit the hardest by the burden of the tax structure. “From a small legacy farmer perspective in a rural area, it’s absolutely urgent. These businesses are starting to fold,” Genine Coleman, executive director of the Origins Council, told High Times. “These farmers are starting to put their properties up for sale and move away. The prospective extinction event has begun and time is of the essence—particularly for farmers who have to evaluate if they’re going to farm this year. It’s always a challenge to work with the pace of government and policy. Bear in mind that we’re farmers—so we’re on an agricultural schedule. And so exactly now is the time that these farmers are facing these painful decisions: are they going to plant or retire their license? Potentially close the farm? There’s other tandem advocacy that we’re doing that’s time-sensitive as well. The opportunity for farmers to fallow for a year—to retain their licensing but not have the cost associated with licensing, including some of the local tax structures that are irrespective of what your crop will look like that year.”

Origins Council represents nearly 900 cultivators and associates through its partnership with Trinity County Agriculture Alliance, Humboldt County Growers Alliance,  Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, Sonoma County Growers Alliance, Nevada County Cannabis Alliance and Big Sur Farmers Association.

“When the tax was enacted, it was in the vicinity of 10 percent of farm sales,” Casey O’Neill of HappyDay Farms told High Times. “With the market crash,  the tax now accounts for as much as 50 percent of farm sales. This is unacceptable, especially when California is running a multi billion dollar budget surplus. Farms are teetering on the brink of insolvency, now is the time for bold action.”

Johnny Casali, a multi-generational small farmer who was sentenced to 120 months in Federal Prison for growing this plant. Casali highlighted the specifics of how the dry-weight tax is impacting cultivators. “I used to sell our Huckleberry Hill Farm sungrown cannabis for around $1,400 a pound. Because of overproduction and the lack of market access, it has brought the value down to $3-400 per pound, depending on quality, and I’m paying 53 percent cultivation tax at $161.28 per pound. After the cost of production, I’m in the red. I hope that with this Rally, the legislators will see the small farmer as I do—as a rare, phenomenal group of hard-working, family farmers who worship the land, who are die-hard environmentalists, and who were taught by their parents and grandparents how to grow the best cannabis in the world with little to no carbon footprint. We are worth saving.”

The #NoDrugWarV2 Rally and Press Conference with Supernova Women and Origins Council is slated for Thursday, January 13, at 11 a.m. PST on the steps of the Capitol building, West side. Please arrive masked and prepared to employ best COVID-19 avoidance practices. 

Live far away from Sacramento? Remote attendees may watch the Rally live via Facebook or Instagram.

The post Capitol Rally to Bring Cannabis Tax Crisis to Doorstep of California Lawmakers appeared first on High Times.

Mendocino’s Cannabis Farmers Market

While much of the country was celebrating dabs and oils on 710 day, here in the Mendocino County “Highlands,” in the heart of the Emerald Triangle, we were focused on where it all begins: cannabis flowers. Mendonesians, as we like to call ourselves, are pros at both working hard and partying hard. So even though the thermometer hit 105 degrees in Laytonville at the first Cannabis Farmers Market, the legacy craft farmers proudly came out to showcase their goods.

After lengthy negotiations with state and county officials, we were finally able to get permits for events where farmers can legally sell licensed flowers directly to consumers. In order to do so, a permitted distributor must deliver the flowers already in packages to an on-site permitted retailer who collects the money and taxes for the distributor, who then pays the taxes to the state and county. 

The Cannabis Farmers Market was held in an open field, which met the edge of an oak grove on the grounds of the Mendocino Cannabis Distribution Center.  Just off Highway 101, it was easy to find with convenient parking and great prices which combined to attract approximately 420 visitors. They came from as far north as the Oregon border – from Del Norte and Humboldt Counties – and as far south as Silicon Valley, as well as Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Rosa and even Nevada City. 

Visitors happily made the pilgrimage to meet and support the farmers, who were delighted to present their wares, share their knowledge and greet the people who buy their flowers. For the farmers, it was equally special to see and even hug those of us who are still in business, as well as all the other friends we have made along the way. Many of us haven’t seen each other since before the coronavirus pandemic. 

Highlighting Craft Cannabis 

Fifteen farms were represented at the Cannabis Farmers Market, and each offered a fine selection of their own sungrown or light dep flowers. Several of the farmers are “legacy,” meaning they learned farming from their parents, and in some cases even their grandparents. These were “back to the landers” who first migrated to the Emerald Triangle in the seventies, and soon discovered the best way to make money was to “grow marijuana under the manzanita bushes” or in pots hidden up in the tree branches. In memory of all of our intrepid predecessors in the traditional market who created our culture, a shout out goes to Richard Jergenson who had a booth for his Cannabis Culture Museum documenting our history. 

Covelo Cannabis Advocacy Group was present at the Cannabis Farmer’s Market.

Partly from local tradition and partly from county law, only small farms were featured at the market. The legal maximum canopy for Mendocino is 10,000 square feet – not even one quarter acre – but most are smaller, some even mini “cottage farms” of 2,500 square feet. Small farmers live at their cultivation sites and over the years have tuned into their environment, becoming experts at cultivating pure and sweetly stoney cannabis plants, with the extra care that can only be given when the grow is on such a small scale. As Marty Clein of Martyjuana brand says, “every plant, every day.”

“There aren’t many of us left,” observed several of the farmers, as we reminisced about all the others who are no longer in the legal cannabis game. It has been a real challenge to survive, what with all the strict rules and regulations, along with the incumbent costs required to get the many necessary permits. This gives us all the more reason to celebrate those of us still here, determined not to give up as we dedicate ourselves to cultivating and sharing the best small-farm, sungrown flowers in the world.  

Customers were overjoyed to be able to purchase this craft cannabis, as opposed to “corporate grown” flowers, directly from the farmers. And what a treat for us farmers to be able to again meet our customers and interact directly. This market was a win-win for everyone. As cannabis attorney Omar Figueroa said, “The deals at today’s Farmer’s Market were superb; definitely worth the drive for those lucky consumers who got a chance to attend this inaugural event.” 

While no consumption was allowed on the grounds due to the high fire risk at this time of year, everyone seemed happy to take their purchases home to enjoy. In compliance with BCC regulations, customers made their choices at the various booths and were given a Purchase Order. They then drove to a location a few blocks away where they showed the PO, paid and received their cannabis. Prices ranged from $16 to $25 per 1/8th, plus tax, making the total costs considerably less than when purchased at a dispensary – up to a third of retail prices!

A Great Success

Nick Smiglys is the owner of Mendo Distro, which hosted the Cannabis Farmers Market. “I really care for our local farmers, and it is an honor to share my space with them for this amazing event,” he said.  Considering all the time and labor that went into preparations, both with legal channels as well as getting the site ready, Nick’s commitment to the local farmers was evident.  The vision for this event stems from Traci Pellar of the Mendocino Producers Guild, who dreamed of hosting a gathering where legacy farmers showcase their cannabis flowers and share stories of their origin and heritage. Through hard work and dedication, this labor of love finally came to fruition. 

In addition to being able to purchase small batch cannabis at lower prices, attendees also enjoyed delicious food from an array of local vendors. Thanksgiving Coffee Company served up lots of iced drinks on such a hot day. The owner, Paul Katzeff, said he was happy to offer friends-and-family-priced drinks because Geiger’s, the local grocery store, sells more of his coffee than any other local store.

Nikki & Swami with Supervisor John Haschak.

The Redwood Remedies booth had a mister and sprinkler going to refresh folks from the heat. Corinne Powell of Laughing Farms was brilliant to design fans featuring her farm logo for sweaty customers, and she surrounded her booth with colorful marigolds. But as Mickey Bailey said, “I didn’t notice the heat much as it was so nice to be with such a great crowd of happy people!” 

Indeed. I especially loved the sign at the entrance that stated, “No Politics,” so people would remember this was a celebration and not yet another meeting to discuss the survival of the small farmer. Events such as this may be the ticket to success at last!

The plan is to host cannabis farmers markets at least 4 times a year, assuming the County grants permission. The next one would take place mid-September, so stay tuned to the Mendocino Producers Guild website for details. You won’t want to miss it. As Happy Day Farms cultivator Casey O’Neill always says, “Great Success!”  

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