STORIES

Doug Benson and Henry Rollins Headline Fall Conferences

By David Jenison on November 20, 2017

Green rush is a popular term that describes the rise in cannabis-related business opportunities, but it's certainly not the best or the most accurate. The gold rush, to which the term alludes, was just about making money, while the cannabis movement is also about social justice, national health and personal freedom, which is why the more accurate term is green revolution. A rush is nearly breaking down the doors at Target on Black Friday; a revolution is comprehensive change driven by great leaders. Henry Rollins and Doug Benson are two such leaders—the types who will join a just revolution but won't rush to the latest media trend—and both pop culture icons will lend their leadership to upcoming cannabis conferences in Oregon and Hawaii. 

First up, Oregon Marijuana Business Conference (OMBC) comes to Ashland on November 18 and 19, and Rollins will deliver the keynote address. The former Black Flag frontman went on to experience success as a solo artist, book publisher, actor, spoken-word performer and writer, and he's long served as a fierce advocate for social-justice causes like ending cannabis prohibition. 

Asked what parallels he sees between cannabis advocacy and the themes he expressed in Black Flag, Rollins told PRØHBTD, "Using cannabis sensibly is part of self reliance and responsibility. I think, in a lot of ways, Americans have been infantilized. Their government has told them they can't handle cannabis, but they can handle guns and alcohol just fine. It's not the clearest message going. [Cannabis advocacy] speaks to common sense and responsibility. Millions of people use cannabis in America every day and, so far, America's still here. If you can have a bump stock on your stupid gun, you should be able to use cannabis."

The two-day event takes place at the Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites, and other participants include Senator Floyd Prozanski, radio host Russ Belville and hip-hop vets the Souls of Mischief. 

For those who prefer a green wave, the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) follows on December 1 to 3 on Kauai island in Hawaii. Comedian Doug Benson, whose many credits include Super High Me and The High Court with Doug Benson, will take part in a celebrity interview and the after-party kickoff. As a leader in cannabis-themed entertainment, Benson has lots to share about creating shows in the cannabis space. 

"I've learned that anyone can have their own show dedicated to cannabis or inspired by cannabis," Benson explained to PRØHBTD. "There are so many platforms out there now, anyone can have a show about anything they want. When podcasting first started, I decided to do an audio podcast about movies. Doug Loves Movies has been going 11 years now. And that helped lead to the creation of my YouTube show, Getting Doug With High, that has been running for a few years. Both of these shows are generating income for myself and others involved in their production, but they both started because I had ideas and found people to help me execute them. Like Nike says, 'Just do it.' I'm sure I'll be full of more sage advice at ICBC!"

The business expo will take place at the Kauai Grand Hyatt, and other participants include Senator Will Espero, DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill and Andre Bourque of Entrepreneur Magazine. ICBC also hosts conferences in San Francisco (Feb 1 to 2, 2018), Berlin (April 11 to 13) and Vancouver (June 24 to 25). 

"In my comedy, and in my life, I just try to be honest about the good and the bad when it comes to cannabis," added Benson. "And let's face it, it's mostly good. I'm just looking forward to coming to Hawaii and hanging out with nice people who share the love of cannabis."

Taking part in both events, PRØHBTD Media will host a cannabis branding workshop on November 19 in Ashland, and PRØHBTD co-founder Drake Sutton-Shearer will speak at both conferences.  

"If all these people want to do is make money, they are cheapening all the hard work that it took to get the perception of cannabis to the point to where we can even have this meeting," Rollins declared. "I am hoping all this means more to them than merely making money. The legalization and decriminalization of cannabis is part of the struggle for Civil Rights in America. By being a vendor, you're part of that history. Cannabis will be able to help everyone from the elderly to people with PTSD. I want these vendors to be an asset to their communities. This is what is most important to me. As making money and all that, there's other people who will be speaking who are all over that. I'm the hearts and minds guy."

And this is why we call it a revolution. If you want to join, these conferences are a good place to start.  

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