Bay Area Cannasseur: Pop-up events going strong
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Thanks to the Bay Area's cannabis entrepreneurs, pop-up events are giving medical marijuana patients a chance to sample new products, socialize with other cannabis enthusiasts, and sometimes, enjoy activities such as yoga and meditation.
The trend began slowly several years ago, with an occasional underground dinner party or casual get-together, but as the industry has blossomed, so have the frequency, size, and type of events held.
Currently, participants are still required to have a doctor's permission to use cannabis in order to attend, but once recreational marijuana regulations begin in 2018, such events will be open to all adults 21 and older.
Just last week, there were at least two events in San Francisco, one sponsored by the Oakland food and music group, the Adeline Co-op, which had a party in the lounge at the Green Door dispensary, and another (which this reporter attended), sponsored by the startup HelloMD, an online community of health and wellness cannabis consumers, held at a rented loft on 16th Street in the Mission.
The latter, part of HelloMD's regular monthly events, was sold out in advance to 125 people who paid $35 for the three-hour event to experience a guided meditation exercise, yoga, and a "sound bath" concert. Before and after the program, a dozen vendors handed out samples of cannabis products, making the event a no-brainer, value-wise, to aficionados.
The party featured four women who work in the cannabis industry, including HelloMD co-founder Pamela Hadfield, a former tech executive who got interested in cannabis after using it to recover from a chronic medical condition and so that she could stop using opioids to treat the pain.
Also participating was Dee Dussault, whose new book "Ganja Yoga" has been reviewed favorably in publications across the country. Dussault has been teaching cannabis-themed yoga for eight years. She offers yoga classes, designed for any body and any level of experience with yoga or cannabis. For more information, visit www.deedussault.com.
Jaene Leonard, a cannabis activist and writer, has been teaching yoga for 10 years and iRest yoga Nidra (which means "sleep") for four years, including classes to patients at Harborside Health Center in Oakland, and with veterans' support group OperationEVAC at cannabis dispensaries throughout the Bay Area. For more information, see her Facebook page, "Jaene Leonard."
Rachel Dugas, a cannabis consultant and sound and music practitioner, presented the sound bath at the HelloMD party. In a statement for the event, she said she "uses sounds to soothe your soul," explaining that she "holds the space for healing through vocal meditation, mantras, crystal singing bowls, tuning forks, and meditative music." Dugas studied music for over 20 years and has a certificate in sound, voice, and music in the healing arts from the California Institute of Integral Studies. For more information, visit https://www.dugasounds.com/.
HelloMD's Hadfield told the participants that the event was created "to bring together our community to enjoy and experience cannabis in a group setting but also to shine a light on cannabis as a tool for health and wellness."
"What's remarkable about being here in California," she said, "is that each of us has the ability to choose cannabis products that are right for us ... whether that be a serious medical condition, insomnia that strikes at 3 a.m., or perhaps you just want to find something that makes you feel good.
"We know at this point that cannabis seems to make people feel good," she added.
The HelloMD parties, she explained, "are about supporting that sense of feeling good ... because although cannabis is an amazing plant, it's not a silver bullet. We still need to support our body, mind, and spirit in multiple ways."
In response to a question about future plans, Hadfield said the next event will be a comedy and cannabis evening because "we feel laughter is the best medicine but really, as we know, it is known to make us healthier, happier humans."
Hadfield said her company has worked for the past two years building the largest online community of health and wellness cannabis consumers.
"But we understand that events in the real world create a sense of connectivity that the online world will never replace," she said. "We feel that the connection of online and offline is the best way to reach our extensive community and bring people together."
For further information about HelloMD events, visit http://www.hellomd.com.
Bay Area Cannasseur runs the first Thursday of the month. To send column ideas or tips, email Sari Staver at firstname.lastname@example.org.