#CannabisJournalism — A week in review

From legal discussions, to documentaries and to even grow house tours, this week in #CannabisJournalism has been nothing shy of amazing.

On Monday, Nov. 28 (see my first post), we had the pleasure of opening the course with a quick, yet informative conversation with Mason Jar Events founder Kendal Norris, which was then followed by a stimulating discussion facilitated by the University of Denver’s own Sam Kamin.

Sturm College of Law Professor, Sam Kamin | Photo courtesy of Andrew Matranga

For someone who is entirely new to the world of cannabis, including cannabis journalism, our opening session was a perfect way to introduce the topic, as we touched on a variety of ideas and variables that are so pivotal to this growing and evolving industry.

Our conversation with Norris, at least for me, was both enlightening and informative. This was the first time that my eyes were opened to the various areas of this industry, aside from just growing and selling the plant. I hate to say it, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this industry consists of more people than just your stereotypical “pot heads”.

Norris was incredibly well-versed in the topic and definitely knew her stuff; from marketing to the actual plant itself, it was obvious that she was a great businesswoman with both a passion and the background for the industry. It’s awesome to see that her creativity and business model have been so successful!

The following day, Nov. 29 (see my second post), we made our way down to The Denver Post to meet with Ricardo Baca, the Post’s Marijuana Editor, which was an incredible opportunity.

Filming of The Cannabist Show with Ricardo Baca on Nov. 29 | Jillian Queri

I learned so much about both the real-world journalism industry, along with what it’s like to be a cannabis reporter, in such a short period of time.

Personally, this was an incredibly rewarding day and it fulfilled a dream that I’ve always had: see the inside of The Denver Post newsroom. Plus, Baca and his assistant Vinnie were so kind, amazing and insightful; it’s hard not to like/be inspired by those guys. Talk about true, raw talent. They are the types of journalists that I aspire to be.

On Wednesday, Nov. 30 (see my third post), we headed somewhere totally new- Sweet Grass Kitchen.

Sweet Grass Brownies labeled with “THC” before heading into the oven | Jillian Queri

Sitting in the original “Sweet Grass Kitchen”, which was founder Julie Berliner’s old, cherry-red camper, it was a pretty surreal expierence to be taking in both the discussion and scenery inside of a cannabis grow house and business.

Totally off the radar, Sweet Grass Kitchen initially felt a little sketchy to me, especially as a total newbie to this kind of stuff, but by the end of the tour, I felt right at home with the incredibly friendly and knowledgable staff.

Both Berliner and Marketing Director Jesse Burns were so well educated about both their own business and the cannabis industry as a whole, which fueled really valuable conversations about everything from cookie recipes to the ins and outs of running a business without being associated with a bank.

Our Q and A session with these leaders was truly fascinating and I walked away from that pot-brownie-smelling-building feeling excited about all of the rest of topics of cannabis discussion that we have yet to touch in this course.

Moving forward this week, on Thursday, Dec. 1 and today, Friday, Dec. 2, I primarily focused on pursuing research for my final project.

Burns with Sweet Grass Kitchen was kind enough to send me some resources about cannabis and sustainability and I was also able to locate some more articles and journals about the topic, as well.

Right now, I’m feeling pretty confident about my idea and my research and I’m looking forward to sitting down and putting it all together in the coming days. Hopefully, I’ll bring some new ideas and information to the table for my peers and professor.

As far as #CannabisJournalism news goes in the TwitterSphere, I’ve discovered a few interesting articles through the social platform, one being President Obama’s recent statement that cannabis should be treated the same way that alcohol and cigarettes are in the United States.

Another headline that I found intriguing in relation to #CannabisJournalism was about a recent survey that discovered that the majority of cannabis users indulge in the plant for wellness benefits, not intoxication. To me, this was cool data that further breaks down the typical “stoner” culture/stereotype.

More to come soon, but in the meantime, I’ll be hitting the Internet to dig deeper into pot and it’s not-so-green production cycle.

Until next time!