Sensi Magazine Massachusetts - Summer 2022

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MASSACHUSETTS SUMMER 2022 MIND = BLOWN Interactive art at Meow Wolf THE REAL DIRT Wisdom from the Soil King EVER SO HUMBOLDT Explore California’s Weed Country &FRIENDSHIP,FAMILY,FIRE Northeast Alternatives’ simple three-part recipe for growth and greatness

GOOD TIMES, GOOD FRIENDS, GOOD WEED. _rollone_ • Available now at trulieve.com

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PREMIUM CANNABIS - GLOUCESTER | EAST BOSTON - HAPPYVALLEY.ORG - FOLLOW US @ HAPPYVALLEYMA @ HAPPYVALLEY_MA CONSUME RESPONSIBLY. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. For use only by adults 21 years of age or older. Keep out of the reach of children. This product has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana use during pregnancy and breast-feeding may pose potential harms. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN. There may be health risks associated with con sumption of this product. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. The impairment effects of Edibles may be delayed by two hours or more. In case of accidental ingestion, contact poison control hotline 1- 800-222-1222 or 9-1-1. This product may be illegal outside of M A

50 THE END Lady Buds elevates the stories of women in cannabis as the industry faces a drop in female executive roles.

@sensimagazinesensimediagroup@sensimag 36 SUMMER 2022 SENSIMAG.COM 7

VACATION MINDED Don’t forget to include high CBD and low THC with your out-of-o ce email.

FEATURES 30 Better Alternatives Investing in individuals and showering employees with extra love fuels Massachusetts’ most awardwinning dispensary. 36 Follow the Dopamine Meow Wolf is here to help alter your state of consciousness through immersive art. 44 Proud Endeavor Stone Road has arrived in the Bay State on a mission to continue its groundbreaking commitment to quality. DEPARTMENTS 11 PUBLISHER’S NOTE 12 THE BUZZ News, tips, and tidbits to keep you in the loop ARTECHOUSE MIAMI Global artists and creative technology take you to the future this summer.

EMERALD IN THE ROUGH

The good folks at Humboldt Social help tourists discover California’s Weed Country.

SUMMER PLAYLIST Best beach reads (for free) thanks to Libby the library app.

GRASS ON THE GREEN Practice your swing for the TeeHC Open 20 THE LIFE Hot happenings and hip hangouts around town

THE REAL DIRT Patrick King aka “Soil King” shares the wisdom he’s gained from years as a man of the earth.

MASSACHUSETTS SENSISUMMERMAGAZINE2022

ON THE COVER Northeast Alternatives grew their business on the fertile ground of friendship and family.

PHOTO BY STEVE DILLARD EDITS BY JOSH CLARK

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EXECUTIVE Ron Kolb ron@sensimag.comFounder Stephanie Graziano stephanie.graziano@sensimag.comCEO ADVERTISING Toni Tardif National Sales Director Jade Kolb Social Media / Global Recruiting PUBLISHING Jamie Cooper Market Director, Michigan Richard Guerra Market Director, Massachusetts Nancy Reid Market Director, Florida EDITORIAL Stephanie Wilson Co-Founder + Editor in Chief stephanie.wilson@sensimag.com Doug Schnitzspahn Executive Editor Tracy Ross Managing Editor, Michigan Debbie Hall Managing Editor, Spark Jenny Willden Managing Editor, California Will Brendza Managing Editor, Colorado Radha Marcum Copy Editor Bevin Wallace Copy Editor DESIGN Jamie Ezra Mark Creative Director jamie@emagency.com Rheya Tanner Art Director Wendy Mak Designer Josh Clark Designer Miguel Martinez Designer PRODUCTION Neil Willis Production Director Richard Guerra Digital Production MEDIA SALES CALIFORNIANancyBirnbaum Media Sales Exec. COLORADONancySeidel Media Sales Executive Amy Sharp Media Sales Executive Tyler Tarr Media Sales Executive AnthonyFLORIDA Mckenzie Media Sales Exec. JakeMASSACHUSETTSBoyntonMedia Sales Exec. EricMICHIGANLutey Media Sales Executive Kyle Miller Media Sales Executive Will Oostendorp Media Sales Exec. Leah Stephens Media Sales Exec. OKLAHOMALeviClarkMedia Sales Executive Samantha Grigsby Media Sales Exec. PUERTO RICO Piper Emory Media Sales Executive ADVISORYNATIONAL BOARD NCRMA Risk Management ADVISORY BOARD ColoradoCOLORADOCannabis Company THC Co ee Concentrate Supply Co. Recreational Concentrates Higher Grade Boutique Cannabis Lab Society Extraction Expert + Lab Supplies marQaha Sublinguals + Beverages Monte Fiore Farms Recreational Cultivation Source CO Wholesale Consulting Terrapin Care Station Recreational Dispensary Uleva Hemp Products Witlon Inc. Payroll Processing MICHIGAN Arono Law (Craig Arono ) Licensing Law Firm Cannabis Counsel Cannabis Law Firm Etz Chaim Attestations Grapp Lerash Accounting/CPA Services Great Lakes Natural Remedies Lakeshore: Provisioning Center Kush Design Studio Cannabis Facility Design & Build MRB Solutions Human Resources Northern Specialty Health Upper Peninsula: Provisioning Center Pure West Compassion Club Caregiver Connection & Network Rair Medical Flower Solutions by Dr. Dave West Michigan: Hemp CBD Helping Friendly Hemp Company Hemp Topicals CornersMASSACHUSETTSPackaging Packaging Green Goddess Supply Personal Homegrown Biochamber The Holistic Center Medical Marijuana Evaluations Revolutionary Clinics Medical Dispensary Royal Gold Soil Tess Woods Public Relations Public Relations Vantage Builders Construction CALIFORNIARedDoorRemedies Dispensary: Cloverdale Uleva Hemp Products Witlon Payroll SUMMER 2022 SENSIMAG.COM 9

617.787.7400 | 617.510.8191 office@THCevaluation.comwww.THCevaluation.com Open Monday-Friday 11am to 7pm & Saturday 12pm to 5pm 384 Washington St Brighton, MA NEW LOCATION! 233 NeedhamNewtonSt. Expert medical care & counseling so you can achieve maximum wellness. HOME VISITS FOR BOUNDHOME-PATIENTS We Haitian/SpanishSpeak508.718.8842 RECERTIFICATIONS BY PHONE - IMMEDIATE UPDATE | $105 FOR OUR CURRENT PATIENTS; $125 FOR ALL OTHER PATIENTS NO NEED TO LEAVE THE COMFORT OF YOUR HOME - MAKE A TELEHEALTH APPOINTMENT TODAY: WWW.THCevaluation.COM Obtaining a medical marijuana card still makes sense. We can help. Medical marijuana is used to treat these conditions INSOMNIA, CHRONIC PAIN and ANXIETY Our process is 100% confidential. HIV+ ALS AIDS CANCER HEP C CROHN’S MS PARKINSON’S GLAUCOMA Why get a card? • With a card your medicine may be discounted and tax free (without it, recreational sales are not discounted and taxed 20%) • Dispensaries currently provide a 10% discount if you are a MassHealth or SSDI recipient, a veteran, or a senior • You may be exempt from future taxes if you continuously maintain your patient registration • You can choose from a greater variety and strength of CBD and THC strain products Why come to our center? • We were one of the first medical offices to issue cards in Massachusetts. We’ve been at the vanguard of medical marijuana treatment since 2013 • We specialize in internal, geriatric, family medicine, and women’s issues related to medical marijuana treatment • We offer medical certifications and other holistic treatments including acupuncture • Our personnel are HIPAA certified to protect your privacy • We provide the most affordable prices in Massachusetts.

stephanie.graziano@sensimag.com SUMMER 2022 SENSIMAG.COM 11

Sensi will continue to be a leader in building our community and serving you at the highest level. We look forward to bringing you along on this journey.

GrowInnovateListenLead

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE

At the Cannabis Business Awards 2022 in Miami, Sensi had the honor of winning “Most Influential Media Source” and we couldn’t be prouder. Ever since we launched in 2016, we have been working both to reimagine the perception of cannabis culture and keep a finger on the pulse of trends and new directions in the industry. We want Sensi to be the leader as the entire nation opens its arms to cannabis medicine, the industry, and innovations in science, as well as new important uses for the plant.

June

Magazine published monthly by Sensi Media Group LLC. © 2022 Sensi Media Group. All rights reserved. SOCIALFINDUSONMEDIA somenewsofnewsfeedGroupLikeFACEBOOKSensiMediatoinfuseyourwithmoreourgreatcannabislifestylecontent.TWITTERFollow@sensimagforneed-to-knowandviewsfromSensiheadquarters.INSTAGRAMPrettythings,prettyplaces,prettyawe-people:nditallon@sensimagazine.

We want Sensi to be the leader as the wellmedicine,nationentireopensitsarmstocannabistheindustryandinnovationsinthescience,asasnewimportantusesfortheplant.

One disturbing trend in the cannabis industry, however, is a falloff in the number of women and people of color who serve in executive positions. We are proud to be heading in the opposite direction. There is a plurality of women in our top-level positions, and we see women as thought leaders in the business and drivers in dismissing tired old stereotypes about cannabis—and we intend to lead the way in bringing more women and people of color into important roles in the industry. We must prove that this industry can set an example that all should follow. We are also in the midst of an exciting revival of our brand and there are many bold changes afoot here at Sensi. In these new summer print issues of our magazine in all markets, you will see a renewed focus in support of brands who represent the roots of this industry. We are celebrating people like Patrick King, who was incarcerated for his belief in cannabis, but now stands at the forefront of a renaissance. King, along with others know the potential cannabis has to heal those suffering from chronic pain to combat-induced PTSD, and we advocate for him and his vision for the healthy cultivation of the plant. This is the future. Sensi is committed to connecting you with the important voices in our community and to celebrating the value they bring to our everyday lives.

With exercise, your body produces its own cannabis-like molecules of bliss. So, by now you’re probably familiar with cannabinoids—they’re the compounds in the cannabis plant that are responsible for its effects. THC is the one responsible for the psychoactive “high.” CBD is the one with all sorts of medicinal benefits. And those are just two of more than 128 phytocannabinoids (“phyto” meaning “produced by a plant”) in marijuana. But did you know that our body produces its own cannabinoids as well? Called endocannabinoids (“endo” meaning “of the body”), these tiny molecules of lipids circulate in the brain and body, working on receptors to cause a variety of effects, maintaining balance in the brain and body in a process called homeostasis. If you’ve ever experienced the elusive buzzy, euphoric I-can-do-anything feeling at the end of hard exercise known as the runner’s high, you have your endocannabinoids—not your endorphins—to thank. Research from Wayne State University School of Medicine summarizes nearly two decades of work on the topic and confirms that it’s not endorphins but rather endocannabinoids that are the star of the show. “We found that exercise consistently boosted endocannabinoid levels across studies,” says Hilary A. Marusak, a neuroscientist at the university. “The effects were most consistent for a chemical messenger known as anandamide—the so-called ‘bliss’ molecule, which was named, in part, for its positive effects on mood.”

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And it turns out you don’t need to go running to experience runner’s high. Running, swimming, weightlifting, and cycling are all shown to deliver a boost in endocannabinoids. What matters most is the level of intensity. Push yourself hard enough, and your body rewards you by flooding your system with cannabis-like molecules of bliss.

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Runner’s High

BY NUMBERSTHE $4.6 BILLION Sales of CBD products in the US in 2020. By 2026, this market is expected to grow to 16 billion dollars in value. 26 PERCENT of cannabiswhichconsumeAmericanscannabisinsomeformaccordingtoMRI-Simmons’ndingsfromitsNationalCannabisStudy,capturesthefullspectrumofuseacrosstheUS. $33 BILLION The accordingrevenueexpectedfromsalesofmarijuanabytheendof2022,toanewstudybyMJBiz CONTRIBUTORS Debbie Hall, Stephanie Wilson SUMMERPLAYLIST

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Libby is the free library app that makes borrowing a book (digital or audio) way easier than baking a pie. A library card and a few taps of your ngers are all you need to access your local institution’s digital catalog. Here are some suggestions from our recent Libby history. Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart An author locks down with friends, lovers, and rivals and lives to write ction about it.

Squeeze Me by Carl Hiassen

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez Reminder: Dogs are the best. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green The power of a post: An out-of-this-world tale involving aliens, social media, and collective consciousness wrapped up in a witty narrative that had us laughing out loud while walking the dog.

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam If you booked an Airbnb in the middle of nowhere this summer, you may want to skip this book. It’ll hit a bit too close to home, and you didn’t travel all that way to be feeling unsettled all week after you’ve nished it in one day because it’s too good to hit pause.

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon What would you do if your college girlfriend joined a cult and blew up your life?

A literal lol modern metaphor involving a giant snake eating the ultra-wealthy denizens of Palm Beach. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Tears were running down our faces just 10 minutes into this YA novel about a teenage girl grappling with the very adult topics of racism, police brutality, and privilege

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Artechouse Miami

Art + Tech + House = Artechouse, which calls itself “the nation’s rst innovative art space for art and technology.” The art incubator is supporting and working with experiential, tech-driven art, merging art, science, and technology to stimulate the senses. You have until August 31 to check out “Renewal 2121,” an Artechouse original production created in collaboration with artists from around the globe—including visual designer Yuya Takeda, scenery from Design Foundry, and music by Mario Hammer and the Lonely Robot. Together, the artists utilize the power of creative technology to transport experiential-art-goers to an imagined future 100 years from now where they traverse through a cyberpunk cityscape, an interactive market, a busy data center, and a taiko drum experience to nd nature blooming in the most unexpected places.

www.EagleEyesTransport.cominfo@EagleEyesTransport.com508-591-3537 HEARD ABOUT EET’S WAREHOUSE AND DISTRIBUTION SERVICES? A Minority Owned Company Put MA’s largest, fully-licensed cannabis transport fleet to work for you! NEW SPECIAL OFFER! $99 per shipment flat rate ANYWHERE in MA FREE STORAGE with pack & pick fulfillment for an additional $25 per shipment NOW HIRING CANNABIS TRANSPORT AGENTS FOR HUB LOCATIONS IN EASTERN & WESTERN MA & IN https://EagleEyesTransport.com/about/careers/PLYMOUTH! SPECIALNEWOFFER! EFFICIENCYINCREASECOSTSLOWER& Our strategic statewide supply chain routes are efficient and well established. We deliver to over 95% of MA cannabis retail stores. #EagleEyesIt with our reliable team of 40+ professionally trained transport agents and warehouse specialist Burlington, VT June 25-26 Albany, NY August 26-27 New Jersey Sept 9-10 Portland, ME Sept 24 25 2022 Convention Schedule For info on exhibiting, sponsoring, speaking, or attending, visit: necann.com New Convention in Connecticut! Hartford - May 20-21, 2023 @ the XL Center New Event: The High Life Style Show! October 7-9, 2022 Boxboro Regency Hotel Vendors | Live Music | Speakers | Consumption Friendly! 14 MASSACHUSETTS SUMMER 2022

All the good intentions in the world don’t make it easier to nd the time to get lost in the books on your summer reading list. So let someone read to you; they’ll do it with more in ection than the voice in your head will, anyway. And, no, it’s not “cheating.” In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, brain scans show that listening to a book stimulates the same cognitive and emotional areas of the brain as reading does. So, you can leave your guilt next to the stack of hardcovers on your nightstand, grab your headphones, and get lost in a good read while you go about your day.

Fact is, you can’t relax on command, even when you want to. Given the ironclad grip stress and digital demands have on you 24/7, your brain’s wheels are still spinning long after you’ve turned on your “out-of-o ce” auto reply. That’s because stress activates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), your ight-or- ght nervous response, and we can get hooked on the adrenaline that fuels it. While it’s helpful when you’re juggling meetings and to-do lists and all the things that make up your everyday life, it also makes it di cult to relax, even when you’re lying on a beach towel on the rst day of your long-overdue getaway this summer.

VACATION-MINDED

How to put your brain on “away.”

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An ode to the audiobook

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Summer Reading

Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”

Science says cannabis may help with that. A 2018 study published in the Journal of A ective Disorders suggests smoking cannabis can signi cantly reduce short-term levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. It may also contribute to worse overall feelings of depression over time, so, you know, everything in moderation. If you’re feeling blue, one pu of something high in CBD and low in THC is optimal for reducing symptoms of depression. For anxiety, the researchers found that two pu s of any type of cannabis will do you good. And if you’re so stressed, you can hear the knots in your back grinding against each other when you roll your shoulders (same, dude, same), pack yourself a big ol’ bowl of Harlequin, Sour Tsunami, or Cannatonic and go to town. Study participants reported the largest reductions in stress after taking 10 pu s or more of a CBD-dominant strain. But before you do, take a moment to try to relax so the bliss-inducing cannabinoids aren’t doing all the heavy lifting. Take some big, deep breaths, pull your shoulders out of your ears, let your muscles relax. The antidote to your SNS is your PNS, your parasympathetic nervous system, which, fueled by the release of beta-endorphins, can create a relaxation response in the body and mind. You can help it along by acting relaxed, even if you don’t feel it quite yet. Lead with your body, and your mind will follow—to someplace more mellow. Enjoy your stay.

—David McCullough, author, narrator, popular historian, and lecturer

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Happy Valley Sponsors Boston Calling

FEEL AT HOME

This spring, Happy Valley became the rst and only cannabis sponsor of Boston, Mass.’s Boston Calling Music Festival, held at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston Stadium May 27-29. Featuring more than 50 bands over the three-day weekend, including such acts as Metallica, Cheap Trick, Weezer, The Strokes, Black Pumas, Nine Inch Nails and more, as well as more than 30 local food vendors, the festival proved a natural t for its fun-loving attendees and organizers. “We were super excited to be a part of it this year,” says Happy valley marketing director Heather Moon Lovett, adding they’re also sponsoring June’s BAMS fest Levitate Music Festival in July. “Cannabis and music have a longstanding history and synergy so it was a great t with their audience. It’s important for us to support arts and entertainment where we do business, and as the largest music festival in Boston it was the perfect match.” The company also hosted several artists in its stores beforehand—including Cli Notez, Ali McGuirk and OOMPA—to try out various strains “to enjoy their creative exploration,” with the artists making appearances at the Happy Valley tent throughout the show. It also hosted a photo-driven scavenger hunt each day, awarding three grand prizes of a free grow tour. happyvalley.org

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Bud’s Goods & Provisions Opens in Watertown

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Raising the bar for cannabis retail, Bud’s Goods & Provisions opened its third store at 330 Pleasant St. in Watertown, Massachusetts, in May, bringing its award-winning owers, pre-rolls, vaporizers, concentrates, edibles and more to the banks of the Charles River. Modeled as the home of Bud, the company’s persona, the store is the state’s rst dispensary housed in a residential building—customers enter via the front porch and then progress from room to room. Complete with a custom exterior mural designed as an extension of the walking path along the Charles, its theme follows that of its other stores; its Worcester location is inspired by a ’50s diner, and the Abington shop takes a modern twist on an old school movie theater. Named the Best New England Cannabis Company 2021 by NECANN and Best Marijuana Co. by the Worcester Business Journal, the company was also the state’s rst to create white-labeled products with its Lil’ Buds brand, also known as “The People’s Eighth.” “I set out to build a store that I’d want to shop in and I’m proud of what we’ve created,” says founder Alex Mazin. “I hope people feel like they’re at home when they’re at Bud’s Goods. We're committed to building a true New England brand that celebrates our local partners.” budsgoods.com

There may be health r sks assoc ated w th consumpt on of th s product This product may cause impa rment and may be habit forming This product has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Adm nistration (FDA) There is im ted information on the s de effects o using this product, and there may be assoc ated health r sks Marijuana use during pregnancy and breast feeding may pose potent a harms It is aga nst the law to drive or operate mach nery when under the inf uence of th s product KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CH LDREN There may be health r sks assoc ated w th consumpt on of th s product Mari uana can impair concentration coord nat on and udgment The impairment effects of Ed bles may be delayed by two hours or more In case of acc dental ingestion contact po son control hot ine 1 800 222 1222 or 9 1 1 This product may be il ega outside of MA

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PLEASE CONSUME RESPONS BLY

Step Up Your Yard Game

Grass on the Green

The TeeHC Open will get even those who don’t play golf out networking and enjoying the day.

If you think golf is a sport for stuffed suits making bad business decisions while slicing into sand traps, you are wrong. It’s a beautiful undertaking open to all and the TeeHC Open—a day-long, industry networking event for cannabis and hemp professionals in the Northeast—is here to show you how cannabis and caddies can get along. “Whether it be over a friendly round of golf, rolling a joint together at the club, or through other fun, non-golf, interactive experiences, this event is designed for any cannabis professional looking to genuinely connect with others in the industry,” say the organizers at Joint Venture and Co. We say, “Fore!” The event takes place on Sep. 9 at the Highfields Golf and Country Club (highfieldsgolfcc.com) in Grafton. Sign up for the event by July 1. Or consider being a sponsor, which gives you a hole on the course with your name on it, exclusive press coverage, brand activation opportunities, and more. teehcopen.com

You’ve played cornhole before. You’ve played darts before. But you’ve never played both games wrapped up into a single, ball tossing, tower game extravaganza. Perfect for beaches, pools, backyard parties or BBQ’s in the park, Tower Ball is an addictive game that only gets more fun with more people. Each round, players must toss a ball through a hole—which seems simple enough. However, with every passing round the holes get smaller and the stakes get higher. calibergames.com

TANGY THC

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Cheeba Chews has been making high potency cannabis candies for over a decade—and the Colorado company has dialed in its secret sauce. The new fruit ta y line is dangerously delicious. These ta y bites are packed with explosive tangy avor, made with natural ingredients. It’s almost ba ing that Cheeba Chew didn’t just go into the candy business. Infused with 10 mgs of high grade cannabis oil, every single bite-sized chew will get you feeling good and high. cheebachews.com

Patrick King has been in the business since the beginning. Like so many who are now at the center of the industry, he was once incarcerated for his involvement in cannabis. Like so many others, he has shucked off those negative stereotypes to become a leader, not just in this industry, but in a larger movement toward health and wellness, and away from traditional business and agricultural structures. More than cannabis itself, King has always been fascinated by and in tune to that which grows cannabis—good soil. An instrumental voice in California’s legalization movement and coveted speaker in the industry and beyond, King is the founder of The Soil King, a marketing,remediation,ing,distribution,turalincludinglegalservicesbusinessCalifornia-basedthatprovidesdowntheentirecannabissupplychainsoils,agricul-products,genetics,manufactur-transportation,retail,cultivation,packagingand

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The Real Dirt

The king of soil spreads seeds of wisdom when it comes to cannabis, real organic agriculture, and listening to the child within. TEXT DOUG SCHNITZSPAHN

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LEARN MORE Soil King / soilking.com Instagram @thesoilking more. He took the time to share a lifetime of wisdom with Sensi. I was born for a purpose. That purpose is being a steward of the planet and building a platform to help educate about the planet. I’ve never grown a plant, but I have grown healthy soil that produced a plant. People always laughed at me. I have a garden center and I quit carrying all bottle nutrients. And people laughed and told me I was stupid. They said that’s the stuff that sells. I just said that’s not my future; that’s not the future of this world. Today, I have a complete team, an army of likeminded stewards of the environment right alongside me who are teaching me as I’m teaching them. If I went to a vineyard, took a leaf sample, and tested it for nants—heavycontami-metals, herbicides, pesticides—they would pop significantly. You could never apply any of that on a cannabis farm because regulation and testing in cannabis has set the bar so high that the rest of agriculture has yet to meet it. Now, everybody says that’s bad, but as a guy who has knowledge of this stuff, I love the bar being set that high. The planet needs cannabis because cannabis has set the bar so high. Cannabis is not just medicinal to us as humans; it’s medicinal to the planet. We have this world of commercial agriculture destroying the planet quickly with unhealthy poison. These commercial guys were just growing, growing, growing. Then all of a sudden, there’s this little circle in the middle—us—and now we’re growing. Now, I see all these massive companies—even totheytalkingganics.andwhatingScotts—areMonsanto,allnowturn-backwardstowardwewerescreamingcomingoutwithor-Now,they’reallthelanguagethattolduswewerecrazyevendiscussbackthen.

A lot of times what I did yesterday or the day before is different from what I know now. That’s evolving. That’s being humble and understanding that we’re not perfect. We’re just striving to do good things.

I always talk about this 12-year-old boy who’s inside of me. He’s been the only one in my life who told me I can; I will. He’s proud of me. I check in with him all the time and he reminds me that we’ve come a long way. We did this together and he’s never quit on me and I never quit on him. Your biofilm, the good enzymes your gut holds— it’s all the same enzymes the soil generates. When I’m digging in the forest on the big island, Hawaii, and I come across this certain smell and it feels so rich and so pure, I take a pinch of it and I put it in my cheek like it’s tobacco. I’m feeding my whole body and my soul with that. That’s my hospital; that’s the pharmacy; that’s everything you really need to keep yourself healthy. People think I’m crazy— but, as soon as I get that certain scent and I feel it, it goes right in my cheek. You hear people say all the time that cannabis is not addictive. Everything is addictive. I know lots of people who have to have it every morning, every day, no matter what. There’s no segregation in agriculture. As long as you cultivate soil and you’re growing a living soil, you’re producing all the enzymes, fungal bacteria, and you’re feeding your soul. I’m not always right.

“Regulationandtestingincannabishassetthebarsohighthattherestofagriculturehasyettomeetit.…Theplanetneedscannabisbecausecannabishassetthebarsohigh.Cannabisisnotjustmedicinaltousashumans;it’smedicinaltotheplanet.

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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I’m just happy for the journey. I don’t look down the road.

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Easy Ways to Wisen Up Upwise Capital helps you get your loan applications approved so you can get back to business. Even though the cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, with numerous states legalizing its sale in one form or another, many operators still struggle to secure the funding they need to succeed and thrive. Due to the countless legal restrictions surrounding cannabis, access to credible business loans through banks is difficult.Luckily,Upwise Capital offers a complete cannabis financing marketplace designed to fulfill all the needs of any cannabis business, from startups to established brands. By working with a broad network of entities, Upwise can introduce entrepreneurs to a wide array of partners that offer funding options – on top of the services that Upwise Capital provides in-house.“Westrive to be the one-stop-shop for cannabis operators, utilizing fintech software to underwrite and understand cannabis businesses. First, we identify and match the best capital source for their specific business needs,” says Sean Lustberg, managing partner of Upwise Capital. “Then, we are handson, working hard for our clients from start to finish, ensuring the funding process is transparent and successful.”

PROMOTIONAL FEATURE UPWISE CAPITAL

Upwise Capital Cannabis Industry Financing upwisecapital.com

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The firm offers a suite of funding options specifically designed for cannabis businesses: short-term loans, real estate loans, construction loans, equipment loans, venture funds, lines of credit, and more. Part of what makes Upwise indispensable is its expertise in building individual funding plans designed to address each of their client’s specific needs. And they can work with the ancillary services that support the industry, such as human resources, accounting, and events companies, to help them secure capital and government-approved loans. What separates their firm from others in the marketplace is their continual, passionate commitment to understanding the cannabis industry, and to anticipating their clients’ needs. By finding working capital, they enable their customers to launch new products, open new dispensaries, and improve existing facilities. Best of all, they are constantly working to stay abreast of the continually shifting legal landscape upon which the entire hemp and cannabis industry rests. Upwise Capital works to ensure that their partners’ financing will satisfy all the rules and regulations – more than enough to withstand any government audit. If you are searching for the right financing group to work with, look no further. Upwise Capital is who you want.

Humboldt County is to weed what Napa is to wine, and the good people at Humboldt Social are here to elevate your California cannacation.

Enter EmeraldtheTriangle

TEXT STEPHANIE WILSON VILLAGOMEZLEONBYPHOTO THE LIFE TRAVEL 24 MASSACHUSETTS SUMMER 2022

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Humboldt Bay Social Club brings visitors together under a shared appreciation of the good things in life.

It’s All Happening The dramatic cultural shift in conversation away from illegal grows to mainstream marketing campaigns declaring Humboldt to be America’s cannabis heartland is already underway, with local tourism boards launching nationwide campaigns spreading the good word far and wide. Closer to home, a host of fresh cannabis-centric properties and activities cater to a higher class of traveler. We’re not talking about 420-friendly Airbnbs or

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ry to rightfully claim its title as the world’s most sacred holy land is a little more hospitality.

coast along Highway 101. It’s a long drive, but you’ll see once you get there that it’s totally worth it. This region known as the Emerald Triangle— Trinity, Mendocino, and Humboldt counties—is to high-grade cannabis what the Napa Valley is to wine: a tentpole of the Northern California economy. By some estimates, this marijuana trifecta produced between 40 and 60 percent of all the pot consumed in America before legalization began to spread state by state. While lumber mills and salmon canneries used to fuel the local economy, today, cannabis is the mainstay, largely on the cultivation side of things. But as interest in cannabis tourism continues to rise worldwide, Humboldt County is poised to step out of the traditional market and into the spotlight to claim the title of marijuana mecca. CNBC estimates that cannabis accounts for two-thirds of the local economy, with about 20 percent of the local population making a living in cultivation across a network of small cities, farms, and tiny agriculture-centric villages. All it will take for the notoriously tightlipped community that housed the largest concentration of black-market grows for the last half-centu-

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As leaders in Cannabis Construction, Vantage Builders combines direct industry knowledge and experience to get cannabis entrepreneurs operating high-end dispensaries on time and on budget. We have successfully delivered over 500,000 sq ft of cannabis construction projects. www.vb-inc.com • 781.895.3270 • SOBUILDWEYOUCANSELL Prime Alternative Treatment BoteraCenter 26 MASSACHUSETTS SUMMER 2022

smoking tours catering to heavy-lidded stoners, but rather nuanced establishments that match the sensibilities of discretionary thecannabisheartlandpilgrimagetravelerslyknowtopoor-qualityclichéchaincializedaswithjustnia’sverywhotravelers—travelersaren’tgonnatakethelongtriptoCalifor-remoteNorthCoasttogethighonabusblackenedwindowsitrollsfromcommer-indoorgrowtodispensarysellingmerchtogowithpre-rollsconsumerswhodon’tanybetterandreal-don’tcareeither.Cannabis-seekingwhomaketheuptotheofAmericandososeekingprofound.Theycome

Humboldt Social Is Here Enter Humboldt Social. This boutique hospitality company friendly to cannabis “creates unique lodging, dining and event spaces that welcome visitors as family. We are boutique lodging with two very different locations: Scotia, nestled in the redwoods, and Humboldt Bay Social Club, on the beach. We also curate authentic, integrated travel experiences that reflect the richness of our region. We are passionate about introducing our guests to Humboldt’s most unique resources—our redwoods, beaches, cannabis farms, and creative community.”

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The people behind Humboldt Social are all about the details. Their aesthetic is inspired by the history and beauty of the North Coast, with an emphasis on reclaimed materials, vintage furnishings, and lots of natural light. The resulting spaces are welcoming low-key retreats that invite travelers and locals alike to enjoy an elevated way of life. Founded by husbandand-wife duo Jon and Amy O’Connor, this new hospitality group—which now consists of boutique hotels, waterfront cabins, and the Social Nature cannabis brand—is in the business of normalization. At any of the venues in Comfort and cannabis go hand-in-hand at Scotia Lodge.

to get a taste of the local culture, to get a glimpse behind the redwood curtain, and to hear crazy firsthand stories about what’s it’s been like to have a hand in shaping modern cannabis culture from the very people responsible for creating the genetics of some of the world’s top strains. The people who heard the government’s demand to just say no and replied no way. The people who risked their lives and their freedom to bring us access of what they refer to simply as the plant. The travelers who come to Humboldt for the cannabis come seeking more than the surface-level experience. They come to get immersed in the details.

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STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT ACT MUSIC & CANNABIS GO HAND-IN-HAND 28 MASSACHUSETTS SUMMER 2022

PRESENTS www.sanctuarymed.com

PLEASE CONSUME RESPONSIBLY. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not analyzed or approved this product. There is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding may pose potential harm. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN. There may be health risks associated with the consumption of this product. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. The impairment affects of Edibles may be delayed by two hours or more. In case of accidental ingestion, contact the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or 9-1-1. This product may be illegal outside of MA.

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HS’s portfolio, consuming cannabis is as normal as drinking wine. This is how it should be. After all, at wineries in Napa, people don’t think twice about raising toasts until their lips are purple. The O’Connors wanted to afford cannabis consumers the same sense of freedom to indulge in the region’s bounties in whatever ways they like. Spark a joint while soaking in a clawfoot tub in the open-air bathhouse at Oyster Beach and watch the storm roll in over the water. Enjoy the food-truck-inspired fare at Jetty restaurant, tucked inside the clubhouse at HS’s boutique hotel property, Social Club. Light up with your friends while sitting around a firepit at Papa & Barkley Social’s smoking lounge in Eureka. If that revs up your appetite, satiate yourself and raise a glass of high seltzer at Pig & Leaf, the on-site food truck. Hit your vape pen in the designated smoking area at the cannabis-friendly Scotia Lodge before deep-diving into a redwood forest bath on the Avenue of Giants. Or don’t—you do whatever makes you most comfortable.Whichofcourse means booking a THC-activated massage at the Papa & Barley Social Day Spa. While you’ve no doubt seen the proliferation of CBD massages on spa menus, THC had yet to make an appearance at any American day spa until HS partnered with Nicole Fryer, co-founder of Social Spas. “I’m the first day spa in the country to be able to have THC activation,” Nicole tells Sensi. She had been interested in creating THC massages for a while, but after speaking with a woman at the department of health, she realized that the state was adamant about topicals being a type of consumption. She couldn’t offer the service unless she had a social-consumption license, which at the time seemed out of reach. Then Humboldt Social approached. “They were like, ‘we’re gonna do this spa thing,’” she says. “And I was like, ‘cool. Let’s do it.’” And so they did. And they’re the first to have done it. Which is almost as amazing as a THC massage. Seriously, you gotta get one. When is the best time to go? Now. You should go right now. Think about it: You’ll be taking a trip to explore America’s cannabis heartland at a pivotal time in our nation’s history, as marijuana prohibition comes to a stuttering end. While you’re there, be among the very first to have a THC-activated massage. You can tour cannabis farms where legendary strains came to be and meet the legacy cultivators and former outlaws who helped shape the culture of cannabis in America. Stay at a cannabis-friendly hotel where you can inhale nature’s bounty out in the open surrounded by stunning scenery and other pioneering travelers like andYouHumboldtthem:don’tyourself—althoughexpecttoomanyofyoudon’tcometoforthecrowds.cometohangoutrelax. humboldt-social.com Papa and Barkley’s Social spa melds THC and TLC.

BETTER ALTERNATIVES Investing in individuals and showering employees with extra love fuels Massachusetts’ most award-winning dispensary. TEXT LUCIE HANES 30 MASSACHUSETTS SUMMER 2022

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There’s no skipping the process when it comes to creating a sustainable, reliable, and respected business — especially in the cannabis industry. We’re past the early days when simply existing as a reliable grower or retailer was all it took to establish your footing. The market is much too crowded for that nowadays. We’re at the point where excellence determines who makes a statement and who gets drowned out. So instead of always looking ahead to the outcome, businesses need to set goals that depend on action rather than result. It’s what businesses do that sets them apart, not what happens to them. This puts the power back in human hands instead of leaving it up to fate. And if the rise of the cannabis industry so far has proven anything, it’s that there’s nothing more powerful than people on a mission to change the way of the world. The key word here is people. If we’re thinking in terms of action, empowered and ambitious people are the ones responsible for making big things happen. Turning any dream into reality means first breaking down your ideal outcome into actionable steps, and then looking to the people who can put those actions into motion. The fact of the matter is that businesses need people who fully buy into their goals. Nothing short of utter dedication to the mission leads to excellence, because excellence requires uncompromised effort and intention. If the doers aren’t fully invested or don’t believe in what they’re doing, that lack of presence will show up in their quality of work. To keep from coming up short, people need to feel like their work and their presence have value. Studies show a strong link between well-being and productivity, which then leads straight back to profitability.

To that end, nothing matters more in business than the people who play a part in it. The primary goal of any business should rest in treating their community, both behind the scenes and in the audience, with kindness and esteem. The feeling of genuine recognition serves as the best fuel for dedication to the work and loyalty to the brand for as long as the tank remains full. No one in the industry proves this point better than Northeast Alternatives. This Massachusetts dispensary has won more awards than any other in the state, including Best Dispensary of the South Coast two years in a row (and gunning for a third). In total, their winnings add up to over 50 different awards touching on everything from their business as a whole to specific flowers, edibles, and concentrates. Co-owner and COO Kyle Bishop attributes such success to one thing in particular: “Our people give a shit.” That attitude starts at the very top. “Our executive team is made up of passionate cannabis enthusiasts who love to compete,” Bishop explains. “Not a lot of these businesses have that type of leadership.”

ALTERNATIVESNORTHEAST HAS WON MORE AWARDS THAN ANY ANDFLOWERS,WHOLETHEIREVERYTHINGTOUCHINGDIFFERENTADDTHEIRSTATE.DISPENSARYOTHERINTHEINTOTAL,WINNINGSUPTOOVER50AWARDSONFROMBUSINESSASATOSPECIFICEDIBLES,CONCENTRATES.

DON’T WAIT - KNOW YOUR GROW Fully at home gender test for sproutlings BEFORE YOU GROW WHILE YOU GROW Unlimited instant measurementspotency S C C Scienti c Cell Company Est. 1963 scientificcell.com/know Reach Us on WhatsApp 32 MASSACHUSETTS SUMMER 2022

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Northeast Alternatives first found traction as a product of personal passion. Founder Chris Harkins turned to cannabis in the aftermath of his mother’s failed battle with cancer in hopes of changing the narrative for his father, Phil Harkins, who found himself in the same boat not long after her passing. The father-son team dug deep to discover how cannabis could offer unprecedented hope in the face of a death sentence. Harkins then partnered up with Bishop and two others, Rich Rosier and Zac Cooper, to put that work in motion on a grander scale. There’s no better inspiration than a good example. From the very beginning, these leaders have emanated a contagious enthusiasm that everyone who’s hopped on board since can’t help but catch. In that sense, every player on the team holds the same stake in the game. They’re all equally committed to their own role in producing something truly great. “If you talk to anyone here, you’ll be convinced that you’re speaking with an owner,” notes Bishop. “Everyone is just that passionate about their contribution to what we’re trying to accomplish. Every plant grown, every edible infused, every medical patient helped and every new product launched is treated, in that moment, as though they’re the only one in existence.” Life still goes on outside the walls of Northeast Alternatives for the members of this determined team. There are still families to take care of, fresh air to relish, and hobbies to pursue. But while they’re here, they’re here. Body, mind, and spirit all funnel straight into the creative process from start to finish. “We can accomplish andofBishop.thisimpossibletheway,”believes“Stringenoughthosevictoriestogethertheimpossiblebecomes the day-to-day.”They’reall in it out of an inherent, authentic appreciation for how they fill those days. “Everyone is trying their hardest, not just going to work,” touts Bishop. He identifies such unbridled passion as the distinguishing factor that gives Northeast Alternatives its edge. “The extra love is how you get the win. If you do not truly care, your weed will reflect that, and you will not bring anything home.”

The thing about true love, though, is that it can’t be forced. It has to be born on its own. For that reason, Bishop and his co-founders put special care into recruitment. “Our strategy starts with investing in individuals. We hire first and foremost

ity,personal-forlooking for people with talent, passion and drive, even if it comes from outside the cannabis industry.”

From there, they look at potential hires like puzzle pieces. “We need people who will fit together to form something far greater than the sum of its Onceparts.”they’ve put together a cohesive team or added a new piece to the puzzle, everyone’s off to work in the way they work best. The executives at Northeast Alternatives believe in a relatively hands-off approach so that all those creative juices have room to flow. “We set high standards with clear expectations right away, and

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It’s not all talk, either. Northeast Alternatives has the employment history to prove it. Budtenders and Packagers have risen through the ranks to management roles, racking up years of unwavering dedication to the same business. They’re not only rewarded with copious praise, but also with titles and responsibilities in line with their achievements. “Each one of them has earned their place and feels an immeasurable sense of accomplishment,” Bishop says with admiration. Just because the cannabis industry has a reputation for ruthlessness doesn’t mean that it’s a practice worth perpetuating. Prioritizing respectful working relationships has universal benefits: both the product and the team are better for it.

“Structurally, this means that every voice is heard and every success is rewarded,” Bishop outlines. “Every victory, large and small, is celebrated as a team victory creating bonds that cross departments and a sense of unity that’s then palpable to visitors.”

Northeast Alternatives proves that putting people first isn’t just about being a good person yourself; it’s simply good business.

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then step back and allow everyone to flourish,” reflects Bishop. Without the initial investment in the right people, though, the trust it takes to step back at all would never have existed. But, the effort doesn’t end there. Even harder than reeling in the right match might be keeping the employee around for the long haul. While fending off burnout and making people feel individually appreciated isn’t an easy task by any means, it’s certainly easier than dealing with a high turnover rate. Everyone and everything, from business model and product to employer and employee, suffer when gratitude falls too far off the priority list. The team makes it a point to program specific methods of support into their everyday operations.

—Kyle Bishop, COO, Northeast Alternatives

“EVERY VICTORY, LARGE AND SMALL, IS CELEBRATED AS A TEAM TOTHENTHATCREATINGVICTORYBONDSCROSSDEPARTMENTSANDASENSEOFUNITYTHAT’SPALPABLEVISITORS.”

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FOLLOW THE DOPAMINE Meow Wolf is here to help alter your state of consciousness through immersive art TEXT STEPHANIE WILSON My mind is blown. I’m on the ground floor of a threestory space that’s both biological and cosmic, larger than life, ethereal— and somehow swampy, too. Everything is alive. The walls breathe color and sound. It’s an ineffable phantasmagorical landscape that seems to exist outside time and space. Not only are there sculptures all around, the room itself is a sculpture, floor to ceiling, visceral and vast. It feels like a sentient being. I’m also on mushrooms.

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ALTERED STATE TRIPTYCH “People often ask, ‘Should I go on mushrooms? Should I go on weed?’ But it’s already mind-blowing on its own,” says artist Andi Todoro. “You don’t really need to be on anything to feel like you might be on something when you’re in there.” All I need to know is that I’m in Numina, one of four multidimensional universes inside the 90,000-square-foot Convergence Station in downtown Denver, close to Mile High Stadium, and, yes, I’m safe. The creative operator keeps reminding me. As he circles me, I spin in place with my head tilted back, jaw slightly dropped, eyebrows raised, eyes wide, trying to process the enormity and complexity of this sentient universe the Meow Wolf artists somehow created—in the middle of a pandemic. Now where was I? Oh, right. In the midst of an immersive art world at Meow Wolf, traversing

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I’m a balloon floating in the sky. I’m spinning in space. And my face must show it, because while I whirl in place with my eyes upward trying to make sense of this complex, maximalist jungle, a costumed character known here as a “creative operator” arrives playing a guitar. He begins to circumnavigate me, singing something. I don’t catch the lyrics at first, but as he gets closer his message is clear: “You are Indeed,safe.”Iam.

This is not some alien abduction. This is opening day at Meow Wolf’s new Convergence Station in Denver. More than an art show, it’s an emotional odyssey delivered through lights, sound, and visuals, summoning deep wells of emotion, vibrant hallucinatory patterns, and an every-day-is-a-trip vibe in a building awash with technicolor and joy. You’re meant to get a little lost in it all. I did. I separated from my friends within minutes (only kinda-sorta on purpose). They were here to solve the mystery of the exhibition’s narrative, which has something to do with four alien worlds joined together during a cosmic event. The bigger mystery to me was how the artists all collaborated to make these universes come alive.

three routes to altered states of consciousness (ASC) at once: on drugs, immersed in art, and in awe. Oh my. While “on drugs” has such a negative connotation, psychedelic drugs are shedding that rep. We’re in a psychedelic renaissance, a time when people are increasingly turning to them not for recreation, but for healing. More and more studies are confirming what hippies and creative types have been saying for decades: psychedelic drugs have a way of shaking us out of our ordinary concerns and pointing our attention toward something higher, perhaps even greater versions of ourselves and others.

AWE IMMERSION Today, when we talk about psychedelics, we’re talking about a mental health movement. And after two years and colossal cultural changes—after seasons of isolation— taking mushrooms to facilitate positive changes to one’s mindset feels like a power move. It’s not a new one, nor is it the only means of accomplishing it. Contemplative practices have similar, albeit substance-free, effects. ASCs have been part of the human cognitive repertoire for at least 100,000 years, and these transcendent states can be achieved any number of ways: through psychedelics, meditation, or breathing exercises (like holotropic breath work). Other methods include ecstatic dance, ritual drumming, fasting, and selfflagellation, which deactivate the brain’s default settings. Oh, and so can Meow Wolf. But drugs offer a shortcut, promising “transcendence on demand,” as the late British neurologist Oliver Sacks noted in “Altered States,” his 2012 essay on self-experiments in chemistry published by The New Yorker—and the ability of art to transport us to other realms is outstanding.Viewingextraordinary works of art can be a catalyst to experience awe. A 2012 Stanford study found that encounters with perceptual vastness triggers a self-negating, time-dilating sense of awe. “Experiences of awe bring people into the present moment, and being in the present moment underlies awe’s capacity to adjust time perception, influence decisions, and make life feel a little more satisfying than it would otherwise,” the study’s authors concluded.

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Coming Soon to Texas. In May, Meow Wolf announced its universe is expanding to Texas, where two new locations are in the works. Meow Wolf’s portal in Grapevine Mills, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, is set to open next year, with another immersive spot coming to Houston’s Fifth Ward neighborhood and historic district in 2024.

Three years in the making with art from 300 creatives (including over 110 from Colorado), this four-story maximalist playground features interactive exhibits interconnected through vertical travel and secret passageways. General admission is $45 ($35 for locals); make your reservations in advance to secure your entry date and time. It’s a family-friendly attraction, so mentally prepare to mingle with all ages. Or look for tickets to the Adulti-Verse, Meow Wolf’s adults-only evenings reserved for a 21-plus crowd. meowwolf.com/visit/denver

House of Eternal Return, Santa Fe, est. 2016. A mind-bending explorable art experience housed in an old bowling alley, the 20,000-square-foot exhibit changed the very notion of what immersive art can be. It’s funky, raw, real, and really fun to explore.

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EXPERIENCE THE AWE

OTHER LOCATIONS

Omega Mart, Las Vegas, est. 2021. Set inside Area15, an entertainment district a few minutes o the Strip, this location is a surreal supermarket where you can discover portals leading to unexpected landscapes.

The portraits offer a lens through which we see Todaro’s experience painting them in the middle of a construction zone amid a pandemic. Think: donning the full protective gear of a construction worker every day while submitting to pee tests to ensure you’re not under the influence of any mind-altering substances, not even a beer. Constantly bombarded by a cacophony of screeching noise, endless concrete dust, suffocating fumes, and erratic temperatures making it unbearably hot or freezing took a toll. “There were so many variables, and I didn’t know how to handle them all at the same time,” she says. “I might get sick at any moment, I’m so frustrated with the lighting, I can’t seem to pull this thing out of me. I’m under so much pressure, and I don’t even know how to start… I absolutely had a mental breakdown during it.”

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Experiencing awe puts you on a readily accessible path to self-transcendent experiences, or STEs, which include mindfulness and flow as well as peak and mystical experiences. These are the sorts of things that make the judgy voice in your head calm down and you feel more absorbed in whatever it is you are doing, and awe is the easiest way to get there.

of neurochemicals like endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and anandamide, aka the “bliss molecule” cannabinoid that’s similar to THC. These pleasure-inducing, performance-enhancing molecules combine forces to amp up focus, block out noise, boost imaginative possibilities, and improve our ability to link ideas together in new ways. So, yes, I am on mushrooms and they are augmenting my experience of the flow here in the Convergence Station. But I don’t have to be. This place is constructed to tap into creativity—the convergence. To make you safe in the best way“That’spossible.all that meditation or doing some kinds of drugs is getting to you: that place where you can see things newly from a different perspective, to jumpstart things you take for granted all the time.”

Todaro says the work is probably better because of it. “I just started painting, and I didn’t stop until it was done. Every ounce of how I was feeling ended up in those brush strokes. It’s like it actually flowed out of me,” she says. She was experiencing the elusive and rewarding “flow”—a kind of intense focus and clarity where you forget yourself, lose track of time, and feel like you’re part of somethingWhilebigger.inthe flow, the brain releases a highly potent cocktail SO YES, I AM

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BACON FLOW Denver-based multimedia artist Andi Todaro’s work appears in Meow Wolf’s original location in Santa Fe, as well as its latest outpost in Denver. Her installation, Bacon Faces, is an 1,800-squarefoot mural depicting raw portrait paintings in the distinct, distorted style of British figurative painter Francis Bacon. The macabre depictions resemble figures you’d expect to meet in a fever dream—all distorted faces appearing on the edge of dissolution. Todaro’s interpretations are made all the more ominous by her discomforting palette marked by blood/organ reds and metallic browns—inspired by the colors of raw bacon, she says, “for the Meow Wolf twist.”

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How do they act so fast? The answer is simple science. In a traditional edible, THC must work its way through the digestive system where the body metabolizes Delta-9-THC into 11-hydroxy-THC. This not only takes time, but the resulting high has a different, heavier body feel, with effects lasting for up to eight hours. Worse, consumers lose approximately 30-40% of the THC via digestion. Most Nano Technology-based products in the cannabis market are emulsions that use varying surfactants as binders, which can impart very bitter notes to the final product. The proprietary technology that Happy Valley Cannabis is introducing will be a non-emulsive Co-Crystal technology that eliminates the harsh bitterness of traditional methods.

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Cannabis products for the connoisseur. T he founders of Happy Valley were once longtime consumerscannabisfrustrated by the industry’s erratic performance and lack of accountability. Now they are on a mission to unlock the premiere cannabis experience. How? By providing consistent quality products and exceptional customer service, all anchored by the industry’s leading technology. Today Happy Valley provides some of the highest quality products in Massachusetts and are leading the charge to create a premium cannabis experience forJustyou.in time for summer, Happy Valley is rolling out their newest offering, X-CELL Nano Stir Stix and gummies, which are sure to upend the edible market in the state and become a customer favorite. Made using the latest water-soluble nanotechnology, X-CELL Nano will enable users to tailor their elevated experience, whether they want an energizing microdose before an afternoon stroll, a quick boost during a night out, or a bedtime relaxation session. The Stir Stix are available in 5mg THC drink sticks in four fun-filled flavors – Raspberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Orange-Pineapple, and Strawberry – plus an unflavored option that you can pour into any beverage for immediate consumption with fast-acting effects. Also available are 50 mg gummies in summer flavors, including Grape, Strawberry Lemonade, and Green Apple. “I have been working in the cannabis industry for over a decade creating edibles,” says Torrin Panico, Director of Product Development Happy Valley LLC. “In that time, I have come across many interesting technologies to create a fast-acting, water-soluble, high bioavailability product. Unfortunately, due to the limited technology of the times, these products did not taste appealing. With our new X-CELL Nano Technology that is about to change.”

So, if you are looking to step up your summer experience, reach for X-CELL Nano Stir Stix from Happy Valley Cannabis, the first brand in the state to offer this exciting product. Happy Valley Cannabis Cannabis Retailer happyvalley.org

PROMOTIONAL FEATURE HAPPY VALLEY CANNABIS

Find Your Happy Place

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The new Solar stores in Massachusetts are part of Stone Road’s more than 300 retail outlet partners nationwide, including 30 new ones in April alone in its home state of California. The catalyst behind the growth: Stone Road’s product and brand messaging resonate. Nature, Minimalism, and Inclusivity Corwin created Stone Road as a family-run brand committed to harvesting and creating accessible, affordable cannabis products without sacrificing style. Raised in New

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California-based Stone Road, which recently launched here in Massachusetts, is doing the same thing for its consumers—no matter their gender, pronoun, race, or sexual preference. One of the country’s only openly queer-led companies actively supporting the LGBTQ community, Stone Road is committed to harvesting and creating accessible, affordable cannabis products for every kind of smoker. From its home in the funky West, the brand is steadily growing presence on the East Coast. It arrives with a simple mission: Stone Road simply wants everyone to be able realize the multiple benefits of cannabis. Sourced from its 57-acre, offgrid biodynamic farm in Nevada City, California, Stone Road’s line of sustainably grown cannabis products—including pre-rolls, flower and concentrates—is targeted for a new age of conscious consumers, “each joint potent, pure and hand-rolled with love.” And the brand is focused on taking that same message, as well as its products, east: in March, it launched a partnership in with Solar Cannabis Co. at its two Massachusetts retail locations. And as many as 15 more collaborations are the works. Stone Road also has plans to expand into New York, which legalized recreational cannabis last year and promises to be a fertile market. Consumers are aboard 100 percent with Stone Road’s first batch of products— including its 10-pack pre-rolls and 1-gram singles, which sold out within 11 days at Solar. “Since launching Stone Road in the Massachusetts market, we’ve had a hard time keeping its products on our Somerset and Seekonk dispensary shelves,” says Solar marketing director Derek Gould. “We sought out to launch this venture knowing that our brands’ likeminded ethos—sustainability, quality, affordability, diversity and inclusion—would connect with an untouched demographic. It has.”

TEXT EUGENE BUCHANAN W hen you grow cannabis, the key is to empower the female plants so they will blossom and bloom.

California’s Stone Road has arrived in the Bay State and the groundbreaking brand is on a mission to continue its work fostering pride, sustainability, and a ordable, highquality cannabis here in New England.

For Stone Road, the move represents a foothold in what is quickly becoming an important market. “Massachusetts is our first East Coast state and is the best market in America right now,” says Stone Road owner Lex Corwin, who founded the company at age 23 in 2016. “It’s helped us expand our national presence. Places like California and Colorado get all the attention, but the East Coast market is going to be enormous.”

Proud ENDEAVOR

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Creating and perfecting the farm, Corwin adds, was a “years-long process,” requiring building an entirely closed-loop system, from composting to internal wells that pull from an internal, 460-foot-deep artesian well, at the ideal pH level of 6.4, which allows them to use water straight from the earth. The farm is completely self-reliant,” he says. “But it doesn’t happen right away. Things like making a good compost takes years.” All this hard work has created a “farm-to-table” cannabis vibe that’s proving popular from the Pacific to its new market in Massachusetts. This ethos is even reflected on Stone Road’s home page, where animated butterflies remind visitors of the brand’s tie to nature.

The heart of Stone Road’s ethos and its inclusive mission really comes alive in the unique marketing messaging it uses to reach its consumers—much of which includes “avant-garde” campaign

York City, Corwin moved west for college and began working as the co-manager of a boutique, family-owned medical cannabis cooperative in Portland, Oregon. Cutting his teeth in the legal cannabis space with roles in cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution while working towards his degree, he has since propelled Stone Road to become one of the fastest growing cannabis companies in the California, Oklahoma, and, now, newly minted Massachusetts markets.

“It takes a lot of time and energy, but I’m six years into it now and word is starting to get out,” Corwin says, adding that the next frontiers for the company are out of state. “Everyone wishes their business will take off and ours finally is. We’re filling a gap we felt was missing and are going to build our momentum across the country, especially on the East Coast. We’re taking a California brand and farm and transferring that to new markets.”

“Justbecausewesellcannabisflowersdoesn’tmeanwecan’tcreateabrandthatinspiresandupliftspeople.”

The packaging for Stone Road’s products is equally sustainable, with everything 99 percent recyclable and made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled goods. The company also uses a rice protein isolate to create the shrink wrap around its pre-roll packs, and reclaimed ocean plastic for lids on its recycled glass flower jars. The packaging’s photography, which depicts the farm, was created by New York designers Santiago Carrasquilla and Alex Stikeleather, the lead designer for Snoop Dogg’s Leaf by Snoop line. All of these steps were hard to implement, Corwin says, but essential for the brand. “We work with several specialty manufacturers to get the most environmentally friendly packaging we can,” he says. “It’s important for us to have the smallest environmental footprint possible, while still remaining commercially competitive.”

—Lex Corwin, Stone Road Founder

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Uplift Everyone

Driving its engine is Stone Road’s premium, sun-grown flower sourced from its biodynamic farm in Nevada City. “It’s entirely off the grid and is the story of our entire brand, producing high-quality craft cannabis for the masses,” says Corwin, adding that the brand also collaborates with more than 20 partner farms in California. “Our main branding is based on nature, minimalism, and inclusivity,” he says, “and a lot of inspiration comes from our farm and the gorgeous landscape that surrounds it.”

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imagery centered around the LGBTQ community. “We strive to push content that elevates our brand and the cannabis industry at large,” he says. “Just because we sell cannabis flowers doesn’t mean we can’t create a brand that inspires and upliftsCorwin’speople.”embraced this ethos from the beginning, with a grassroots effort that resonated instantly with consumers.

“Every brand needs a core audience,” Corwin says, adding that Stone Road is very popular among women and the LGBTQ community. “It’s all about accountability andCorwinsupport.”sums up Stone Road’s approach in an interview in Forbes: “I founded Stone Road because I saw a dearth of high-end cannabis companies marketing to an upscale demographic. Prior to legalization, most marketing consisted of women in thongs taking dabs or the psychedelic route. I just knew that as an industry, we could do better. I want the cannabis industry to be approachable and to be taken seriously. To do this, we needed to elevate the image of who is partaking in cannabis and why.”

And now Corwin’s taking that attitude and philosophy to Massachusetts, where the cannabis world appears to be his oyster.

“The brand started by people willing to make high-end, user-generated content for us, which worked really well on social media platforms like Instagram,” he says. “People are constantly over-stimulated; you need something that grabs their attention and elicits an emotion.”

He then carried that theme over to Stone Road’s house-generated marketing content, including a shoot a couple of years ago when it put out a casting call to people who liked snakes. The response was overwhelming, he says, with the campaign eventually featuring a Black person smoking a Stone Road joint with a huge snake around his neck. “People are still commenting on that,” Corwin says, adding that Stone Road’s Instagram page (@stoneroadfarms) has been instrumental in helping tell the company’s story. Other campaigns have followed a similar suit, featuring members of the LGBTQ community posing with Stone Road products—including a campaign featuring a series of still-life photos with renowned photographer Kate Sweeney. Fostering pride is as important to Corwin and the brand as its marketing efforts to consumers. During June’s Pride Month this year, Stone Road will be donating 10 percent of all profits to New Alternatives NYC, a resource center dedicated to the care and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV+ homeless youth in New York. It also rolled out Pride boxes across California and goes out of its way to highlight queer talent in its imagery, creating content that reflects the diverse spectrum of cannabis users in the LGBTQIA+ community. Its website description reflects this as well: “Cannabis is nature’s best unifier, bringing people together from every place, background, sexual orientation, ethnicity and religion.”

“Their launch here is going great,” says Solar’s Gould. “Stone Road has been widely welcomed within the Bay State so far.” Which just goes to show that empowering people and respecting everyone is always the best way to succeed.

SUMMER 2022 SENSIMAG.COM 49

Grass Ceiling?

RUSSOC.J.OFCOURTESYPHOTO

Russo wants to create real change, too, with an impact campaign of cannabis panels and events that focus on cannabis policy running alongside screenings of the film. “It’s greatly disappointing that the numbers of women in cannabis are declining,” says Russo. “But I hope my film shows that women have been the backbone of the cannabis industry for decades and inspires women entrepreneurs to reach for their dreams despite the challenges.” ladybudsmovie.com

TEXT DOUG SCHNITZSPAHN

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film Lady Buds, which is currently airing on the STARZ network and can be streamed on services including andwomenprisedAppleTV+,Amazon,andiTunes.“Iwaspleasantlysur-bythenumberofentrepreneurswomeninleadership roles in the cannabis industry,” says Russo. “But that was back in 2017, since then, things have changed quite a bit. When I envisioned the film, it was important to me to include diverse voices that spoke to different areas of cannabis history in order for the film to include the LGBTQ history of cannabis activism and highlight the barriers to entry for marginalized communities who were impacted by the War on Drugs.” To make the film, Russo headed to Women In Cannabis networking events and farmers markets and conducted over 100 interviews with mothers, businesswomen, and elders, hoping to bring these diverse stories to a broad audience.

Cannabis is booming, and the industry posits itself as ingDon’tnewershipencethinking—butprogressive,innovative,andforwardthepres-ofwomeninlead-rolesinthisbravespaceisdecreasing.letthatdisconcert-factdiminishtherole of women in the industry, however. They are executives, inersoutmakercannabisandmanufacturers,cultivators,retailers,commentatorsintheworld,andfilm-ChrisJ.Russosettodocumentachiev-inallthosecareersheraward-winning

The lm Lady Buds elevates the stories of women in cannabis at the same time the industry is experiencing a disturbing drop of women in executive roles.

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