[This article was originally written in January 2007]
The 2006 Wonders of Cannabis festival held in late October, the second annual since Ed Rosenthal founded the San Francisco-based event in 2005, was a blazing success for attendees, vendors, and performers alike. This pot trade show cum smoke out party brought out California’s finest as vendors, growers, breeders, bands, and the fans of the culture that support them celebrated the kind herb.
The Best of the Best
To say the herb was top-shelf at this event would be an understatement. Cali’s finest came out to share choice strains, including OG Kush, Trainwreck, and Sour Bubble—many of which were mouth watering examples of outdoor organic. Even after a full day of toking, Bushy Old Grower’s (BOG’s) Sour Bubble cut right through the fog, proving itself as one of the unofficial top strains of the event. It’s unique high type and knockout potency had even veteran tokers appreciating it and those suffering chronic pain feeling blessed relief.
Other superlative medical strains came from the D&M Compassion Center out of Lake County, about three hours north of San Francisco. D&M specializes in outdoor grown true living organics and has been cultivating their medicine in the same pristine outdoor growing spots—sans synthetic fertilizers of any kind—for more than 12 years.
Other Northern California compassion clubs made a strong showing at the event, including downtown San Francisco’s Hope Net and The Sanctuary, both of which brought samples of their superlative medicine. The Sanctuary’s sugary C-4 and AffGoo had some of the best bag appeal seen at the event.
Backstage in the VIP Lounge, Steve and Kevin from Hope Net exhibited some of the finest hashes, oils, and kiefs seen all weekend, administering hits old school style on a ceramic hot plate with a glass straw. Hope Net also makes a modern version of Bhang in the form of infused chocolate milk that will either kill your pain or get you stoned as hell, but you won’t go away unsatisfied.
A highlight of the Wonders of Cannabis festival was the rolling contest, attracting dozens of rollers and hundreds of spectators. The veteran growers and breeders showed the young punks from L.A. and San Fran what they’re made of.
“Ghandi of Ganja” Northern Cali pot farmer Eddy Lepp picked up the fattie award as he rolled a burrito for the judges in record time. Breeder and grow author BOG likewise showed the kids what it’s all about by winning the fastest one-handed rolling competition while giving away copies of his new book Bonanza of Green with the other.
Despite the fact that a few participants complained about the fake herb used in the rolling contest, some concessions to the man had to be made. Besides, there was enough of the good stuff floating around that no one complained very long. The overall mood was relaxed and unintimidating. BOG and I shared a joint of his incredible indica-dom Sour Bubble while having a pleasant conversation with two on-duty California park rangers. Relaxed toking within six feet of a badge…no, Toto, this isn’t Kansas anymore.
Jack Herer & Los Marijuanos
The Kottonmouth Kings and Los Marijuanos (which, translated literally, means “The Potheads”) entertained the crowd with toker-friendly tunes and a message of legalization and medical compassion. Los Angeles comedians Howard Dover and Ngaio Bealum (who also performed MC duties) kept attendees laughing and the entertainment running smoothly.
Jack Herer proved his reputation for tireless activism as the Hemperor schmoozed with those passing by his booth, selling copies of his books Grass and The Emperor Wears No Clothes and demonstrating his beautiful wooden double barrel vortex pipe.
Herer’s amazing organically-inspired smoking implement delivers a smooth, cool hit every time. I watched him tirelessly demonstrate to every customer who purchased one how to pack it, explaining the trippy double venturi ricocheting vortex effect that occurs inside. Don’t worry. After you smoke a bowl out of it, you still won’t understand how it works—but you’ll be really glad it does.
Top-Shelf Vendors & Celebs
If energized hip-hop-influenced musical acts such as the Kottonmouth Kings, Los Marijuanos, and Rocker-T weren’t enough, attendees had an opportunity to visit dozens of top-shelf vendors. From Stinky Clean pipe cleaner to the Marijuana Policy Project (and its legalization effort) to Hemp Hoodlamb’s ecologically friendly, pimpin’-in-style hemp winter wear, the Wonders of Cannabis allowed attendees to get up close and personal—and maybe even share a toke—with their favorite ganja-friendly companies.
S&M Industries showed up with their best-of-show kiefing boards, designed and built in Northern California with standout quality and a commitment to customer satisfaction (such good kit, I picked one up myself). The crew from Vaporstore.com were also on hand, showing off a wide variety of vaporizers.
Celebrities in attendance included Los Angeles dispensary owner Craig X from the hit Showtime series Weeds, who was up from Hollywood checking out the scene. Also on hand was Libertarian presidential hopeful and med pot user Steve Kubby, who was a guest speaker.
Americans for Safe Access had an impressive booth, informing the cannabis world of its ground-breaking research and activism. SKUNK Magazine’s favorite vaporizer, the Vapolution, was in full effect as proprietors Scott and Patrick allowed booth visitors to sample personal herb samples in their impressive and economical vaping device. Toking was believing, with swift sales of the unit proving its value and effectiveness for stretching one’s medicine supply and reducing harmful tars.
Performance artist the Snake Lady, although not on the official entertainment roster, gave a few private performances—one of which included belly dancing with her pet 300-pound snake—and showed off some of her impressive tatts.
Special thanks also go out to Raquel from New Mexico, whose booth was adorned with tons of groovy silk and velvet clothing, as well as infused organic chocolate-covered fruit and other edibles. If not for her wonderful infused-espresso chocolate, I might not have made my flight out of San Francisco back home.
Standout speakers included Lepp and Herer, both of whom spoke from the heart with unprepared speeches. Lepp told the audience of his plight to legally (under California’s Compassionate Use Act) grow medicine for the sick and dying while the DEA removed more than 32,000 plants from his farm in Lake County in 2004—leaving thousands of patients without medicine.
Some members of the audience were brought to tears as Herer described how, in the early 1980s, his mother visited him in California while suffering from severe Alzheimer’s. She was suffering so badly, said Herer, that she no longer recognized many family members. After smoking cannabis with Herer for six weeks, she displayed zero Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Upon returning home, however, her husband forbade her from smoking (thanks for nothing, patriarchy), even if it did help her, based simply on the fact that it’s illegal. “Two years later, she got so bad she was put into a hospital,” Herer told the audience. “One year later, she didn’t recognize me or my children whatsoever. She died in 1990. For the last four years of her life, she didn’t recognize me when I came to visit.”
Spirituality & The Most High
For those not from California, the spirituality of many vendors and attendees might have been surprising. Lake County’s Reverend Tom Brown was selling his Holy Anointing Oil, a multi-thousand-year-old recipe dating back to the Old Testament. Lepp and members of his multi-denominational Ministry of Cannabis and Rastafari made the rounds, spreading love, smiles, good ganja, and words of optimism.
Craig X, of Temple 420, a Jewish/Christian ministry based in Hollywood that also functions as a compassion club, believes strongly in the religious and spiritual right to consume cannabis. “We feel that God created all plants on earth with His Word according to the Bible in the Book of Genesis,” reads Temple 420’s Web site. “This includes the cannabis plant, with its many uses.”
Not Your Average Trade Show
The 2006 Wonders of Cannabis wasn’t your average trade show with a little entertainment on the side. Professional facilities, open toking, standout edibles, compassion clubs that understand the meaning of compassion, world-class entertainment, some of the most outstanding outdoor organic herb, and more cool pot-centric vendors than you can shake a cola at made for a memorable weekend.
Even though a few attendees probably don’t remember much of it….
All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2017 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.
Gooey Rabinski is a photographer, writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The Kind, SKUNK, Cannabis Culture, Whaxy, Heads, Weed World, Green Flower Media, Cannabis Health Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.
He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.