Are you going? What an exciting time to be alive in DC for the biggest "Block Party"!
If you are a DC Native then you understand the nostalgia of a block party. Growing up we had block parties all the time. I recall dancing to live Go-Go Bands, eating delicious BBQ/Cook Out Food, blowing bubbles, jumping double dutch, playing with a lot of cousins, friends and neighbors and partying outside till after dark. Those are the best memories of a distant past. Nowadays we rarely have those type of Block Parties.
In 2016, Caroline Phillips brought DC to the forefront of advocacy, normalcy and education of Cannabis Laws with the 1st Annual National Cannabis Festival. I was truly excited to read about the exciting events to be held at the 1st Cannabis Festival in Washington, D.C. On April 23, 2016 Inaugural National Cannabis Festival opened its doors with a full day of concerts, a vendor fair, advocacy fair and an education pavilion. NORMLMD was 1 of 12 local and national non-profits who are working together to jointly outline federal and local calls to action.
Intrigued by how this all came together, I was able to have a Q&A with the founder Caroline Phillips:
Q: Do you recall what situation or reason that gave you the idea of bringing (starting) a Cannabis Festival?
A: In 2015, I was hired to produce the first cannabis conference to take place in DC after Initiative 71 became law. On the day of the conference, I walked into the main speaker room and looked around and I was surprised to see a room with virtually no Black or Brown people in the audience. In a diverse city like DC, I know that there are folks from all cultures who are interested in cannabis. On that day, I decided I wanted to develop an event for my community that was affordable and accessible to all.
Q: Have you been a victim of the war on drugs and or excessive policing as a DC Native?
A: Growing up in DC I was acutely aware of the stigma around cannabis and all drugs. I saw friends arrested in high school for selling small amounts of cannabis and had their lives totally thrown off-track. Growing up around the public school system, I saw how kids at certain schools in the city got a tap on the wrist for cannabis violations whereas students at schools in our lower income neighborhoods were being expelled and even arrested. It wasn't until I went to college that I understood this disparity as being one of more than coincidence.
Q: What is your hope for Cannabis Laws in Maryland?
A: I would love to see Maryland's cannabis laws expand to include a robust adult-use program that makes more licenses and license-types accessible to more residents. I'd also love to see Maryland make home cultivation legal. There is nothing more empowering than being able to grow your own medicine!
Q: Do you grow your own Cannabis?
A: I do not. I wish I had a green thumb, but I'm glad to know some incredible home cultivators who are kind enough to share their harvests with me.
Q: What ways do you use cannabis and for what reasons if it's not too personal?
A: I use cannabis to help manage insomnia and anxiety. The work I do is very hard-hitting and we have to manage a lot of hard deadlines. On top of that, we work with thousands of people on events, and absorbing that energy can be overwhelming. Cannabis helps me unwind.
Q: Can you tell me more about your advocacy work?
A: I've been an advocate my whole life. First in children's literacy, then in human rights and now cannabis. I am passionate about cannabis advocacy because while it's thrilling to see the cannabis marketplace grow, I want to use my work and my voice to make sure we don't forget the folks that are still being victimized by unjust drug laws.
All it takes is that 1st step to be the change! This is how I got started in my advocacy outside of introvert life.
Last year was my 1st visit to NCF as a volunteer with NORMLMD. The event was extremely hot being held in August but so worth being there. I partied with Backyard Band, Method Man and Redman, visited local shops booths and meet many advocates and education vendors in person. It is beyond a blessing to see so many Black and Brown businesses in the Cannabis Space and all the bright colors and smiles everywhere you turn. This is my place where I feel I belong. I am looking forward to visiting all the amazing businesses, policy, advocacy, education booths as well as party with Slick Rick and Whiz at this year's festival.
Take a peek at what the NCF Experience is: https://nationalcannabisfestival.com/experiences
NCF returns April 23rd 2022 to RFK Stadium for the 5th year, would be 6th but you know COVID! NCF is the biggest Cannabis Festival on the East Coast. This year will be a 3 days event with the Policy Summit on the 22nd, Festival on the 23rd and Championship on the 24th. Happy Birthday NCF 2022!
Social gatherings are always exciting and fun but what is more fun to me is ensuring my involvement in being the change I want to see. Don't know how to get started? NORMLMD, The National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws and a great place to begin. Sign up here
CANNABIS POLICY & ADVOCACY
Our 2022 National Cannabis Policy Summit will be held on Friday, April 22, at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, DC.
Speakers and panel discussion topics.
8:30am — Advocacy Reception
10:00am — National Cannabis Policy Summit
4:15pm — Speaker Reception presented by Weedmaps
Registration is free and open to the public. Nothing Greater Than Doing What You Love... How are things going with your spring gardens?
Strib'bles April Emagazine is out now, be sure to download today for amazing urban gardening tips, gardening with kids, flavors of the season and Strib'ble Cannabutter Recipe.