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Canna’Curious about July 1, 2018: Crossing Vermont’s Cannabis Divide Into…Community!

Rob Williams dishing up his yak snacks.
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Rob Williams 6 Jul 2018

Sure, it was Vermont’s hottest day of 2018.

Yes, it was the Sunday before the 4th of July holiday (and July 7th – Vermont independence day).

Granted, Johnson is not the most convenient of Vermont locations to get to.

But wow! What a historic Heady Vermont legalization celebration at Willow Crossing Farm on Route 15 last Sunday, July 1st!

I spent 14 hours at Willow Crossing Farm on 7/1, arriving at 8 am in the morning and not leaving until THE GRIFT finished their incredible musical finale, including their own wonderful originals and sweet covers (David Byrne’s “Home,” voiced by bassist Peter Day, seemed incredibly appropriate for the occasion).

And, as the 7/1 day unfolded, I realized that at long last, members of Vermont’s hemp and cannabis community can come out of the closet and greet each other, face to face, as old friends do, exchanging information, sharing ideas, asking questions, and gifting each other with the most amazing array of hemp and cannabis related products, in the spirit of humanhood, good will, and mutual learning.

Here are just a few of the highlights I experienced over 14 hours at Willow Crossing Farm:

  • Volunteer Arthur Hynes greeting me at 8:00 am with a big smile on his face, even as he worked to finish final signage for the event.

  • Heady COO Eli Harrington doing one last power brush hogging of the event fields at 8:15 am, in advance of the local ambulance corps arriving to set up the first aid tent for the day.
  • Willows Crossing Farm’s owner Keith Morris’ giant Green Mountain Boys/2nd Vermont Republic flag flying over the main stage as the sound guys finished their final morning set up. I almost wept.

  • The out-of-staters who came to Johnson, Vermont to be a part of history, particularly the two growers from two different mid-Atlantic states (who shall remain nameless because growing cannabis is still illegal there), but who were so excited to be a part of Vermont’s historic day, and honored to bring their years of “grow” wisdom and expertise to the Heady event.
  • Heady CEO Monica Donovan seemingly everywhere, all the time, and never without a big smile.
  • The adorable couple from Vermont511, who are starting a niche business handcrafting beautiful wood boxes for paraphernalia, and were just so excited to be a part of the 7/1 party.
  • Melody, the young and energetic organic farmer from Westport, New York, who came to Vermont to help us celebrate, who cussed like a sailor, and whose energy and vision gave me hope for the next generation of small organic farmers in New England, and all those eaters who enjoy their fresh and local produce.

  • Heady Events Queen Kathy Blume, resplendent in a super cool blue cowgirl – excuse me, cowLADY – hat to ward off the sun’s heat, keeping the energy real at the Heady Vermont tent at the festival’s entrance.
  • All of the incredibly talented musicians, who provided a heady mix of tunes from noon to ten pm. What a tremendous vibe to welcome the 7/1 occasion. Every band kicked it, and kudos to the sound guys for keeping it chill.

  • Ashley from New York, and her husband Tim, who drove hours to Johnson to mark Vermont‘s historic 7/1 occasion, and who gifted us some incredibly aromatic CBD-infused cannabis salve for strained muscles and all around body relaxation.
  • The entire team at Maple Plus, based in Jeffersonville, Vermont, for doing such Vermonty stuff with satia-derived hemp CBD, infusing it into maple powder (coffee lovers, be advised – this product may change your life.)
  • Heady marketing guy Kevin Driscoll – ubiquitous, gregarious, and gettin’ it done all day long.
  • The late afternoon Lamoille River squad, from all over the country, reminding all of us bathers how to truly bliss out and enjoy a summer river in Vermont.

  • The snow cone guy, for just being welcoming, generous, and an all around righteous human being all day long.

I could go on, but my biggest takeaway from our 7/1 day is this: Our Vermont hemp and cannabis community is nascent, real, and emerging.

If what I experienced in Johnson, Vermont at Willow’s Crossing farm is any indication, Vermont’s hemp and cannabis future is looking very bright indeed.

Happy 7/1 post-Prohibition, Vermont.

Let’s learn from one another, and elevate the state!


All photos by Shawn Cimonetti and Erin Doble.

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