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On Saturday, April 20th, 2019 Darralynn Hutson hosted the first 420 Tasting and Conversation: an editorial event in High End Detroit on the West side of Detroit, Michigan.

Willis Marshall is an ex NFL player who’s a part of a dynamic duo who promised to grow my hair with cannabis-infused hair care products. He is the Co-Owner with his wife of Dao Detroit.

Then there’s the owners High End Detroit, a Cannabis-friendly Bed & Breakfast

Of course, everyone knows Anqunette Jamison Sarfoh, aka Que, from Fox News who left her job in TV news to create BotaniQ Marijuana Dispensary with her husband Richard.

Mark Grier is a friend for more than 25 years is an educator and autism caretaker.

Eric Foster from Banks Company is a Cannabis lobbyist and activist for minorities.

Sean Lanier, local distributor

Tony Whlgn, Cannabis artist and activist came with his business partner Uncle Tae.

Stephen McBride, Mad Grass Collective, a Detroit grower whose working on getting legal.

Kathy Gray, Detroit Free Press, Weed Reporter, expressed the need to want to identify minorities in the cannabis industry and Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press Restaurant Critic joined in on the conversation.

Heather Carter came at the very end of the conversation but was able to seamlessly enter into the conversation as Dr of Comm. at On the Revel.

Products on display that were donated to the event include the cutest W!nk –W!nk Vape pens, delicious Dixie Brands gummies, a NOVA of Ardent Cannabis, Plus Products and My Beverages.

THE CONVERSATION:

Everyone was seated around 6:15 pm and the conversation started out fun with the names of strains and how they pop up, how they’re named and why they’ve taken such a hold to the market.

“Green crack was popular in multiple sclerosis (ms) crowd,” says Que, a sufferer of MS herself. “Granddaddy purple,” “Guerrilla Glue,” and “Girl Scout Cookies” who recently have been fighting to get their name back. No one seems to know how these names were created but everyone knew what an impact they made.

Soon the conversation got a bit deeper with trying to destigmatize the ingrained image of cannabis usage, especially to the old guards. “It’s the reason the CBD marketing is blowing up,” says Willis, Co-Owner of Dao Detroit, now available in Macy’s. Adult usage of marijuana is like the gold rush, even people with the shovel can get rich. “Branding will be huge in this next wave of Cannabis marketing,” we have companies like Coca Cola, Leaf by Snoop Dog, even Whoopi Goldberg has a line of cannabis,” says Que. “It’s like the snake oil that works, especially for people like my mother,” says Richard. “My mom is getting older and she’s experiencing more pain. I offered her some medication and today, she ran through the rain.”

Trust is still the key when it comes to spreading a product to the masses. “I don’t care what you call it, if I don’t trust the person selling it to me, then I won’t buy it,” says Tony who admits he’s never been to a Detroit dispensary. “The way to sell something to me is to sell the feeling. How will it make me feel? Weed has always been about healing”

That’s where we’re losing the fight on these policymakers, they don’t understand the feeling, they only understand medication. “Cultural and corporate always collide on coming together,” believes Eric Foster.

Other cities and states have benefitted from this why not Detroit, why can’t we figure it out. “That’s why we’re putting things like this together, like Ted Talks but about Cannabis,” says Heather. “I know that people are doing hiring fairs in places like Inkster and Women Growing conferences are coming up. But sometimes it’s just a lack of desire why black people are always the last to benefit from the legal train.

In an effort to destigmatize smoking in public, High End has provided a bed and breakfast for conversations and peace pipe sessions for the community of black cannabis businesses to connect.

It was an empowering night and definitely the first time I conducted an interview with a blunt in hand. It felt pretty modern and progressive. I wish they all could be that way.