All in the Name of Research – Or Hey, Potheads Get Your Act Together


I’ve begun research on my next novel which includes medical marijuana. I sought the advice of a local expert and friend, Bruce Barcott, whose new book, Weed the People, is coming out in April. He agreed to meet for coffee and gave me some solid guidance as to where to begin.Weed the People

“CannaCon is in a few weeks. I’d start there,” he said. The bonus was that I could take the ferry to Seattle and walk up to the Bell Harbor Conference Center along the waterfront. I signed up for the only lectures on medical marijuana on Saturday, eschewing the 95% of the exhibitors and sessions featuring grow lights, best buds (not the bff kind), the new laws for the fun side of MJ, and more. The day bloomed beautifully sunny and I set off to learn stuff.

CannaConThe Bell Harbor Conference Center, unfortunately, was empty except for a few of us potential attendees roaming the entry looking for information. We found a janitor who said that the CannaCon was at Pier 91, not Pier 66 and didn’t we see the sign on the door. What door? Where? He led us to the door where two pieces of tape and the edges of the sign that was torn from the door remained.

“Alrighty then,” as Jim Carey once said when he was still making good movies. I started walking and an hour later I still couldn’t see anything that looked like a conference center ahead. When I turned back to see how far I’d walked I saw a sign that said “Downtown 12 miles.” Not even a selfie with Tommy Chong, who was the star attraction, could have enticed me to keep going.

When I got home, logging in at least 12 miles that day, I sent an email to and asked what pothead had been in charge of the marketing materials? Someone named Grant sent me a reply stating that he was sorry and that only the organizers could issue a refund of my $50. And, mellow as mellow can be, a little note was sent my way letting me know that the refund was on its way into my checking account.medical mj

A week later research, that didn’t include a 12-mile walk, began with emails to a few medical marijuana providers I had met at a small panel of local entrepreneurs in the biz. The panel, moderated by Bruce Barcott, was 5-minutes from home. It came with wine and chatting after–the acceptable drug of choice.

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