TRACE to Host Cannabis Symposium in Burlington

Heady Vermont Staff 21 Feb 2019

This Friday, the founders of TRACE seed-to-sale software are holding a cannabis symposium from 6-9pm at the Karma Birdhouse Gallery (Maglianero Cafe) at 47 Maple Street in Burlington, Vermont.

The casual event will include food, free beer, networking, and four ‘Pecha Kucha’-style presentations featuring:

+ Aimee Burke of Phylos Bioscience, speaking about the state of genetic testing and research in the cannabis universe.
+ Joe Veldon of Seven Leaf Organics, speaking about “selective hemp breeding to keep Vermont farmers competitive.”
+ Justin Decatur of Wintermute, will be giving a simple anecdotal talk about his experience making compost tea and how it has lead to some pretty unreal results and challenged his own vegan lifestyle.
+ Kamani Jefferson of the Massachusetts Recreational Council will be speaking about the recreational council’s experience in Mass advocating for consumers, in particular, how happy, informed consumers create stronger industries, especially within cannabis.

In this interview, Heady Vermont cofounder Eli Harrington speaks with Eli Jager, marketing director for TRACE seed-to-sale software company about the event and what to expect.


Eli Jager: My name is Eli Jager and I am the marketing director of Trace which is a seed-to-sale compliant software for all levels of the cannabis industry. Because of that we have connection with like everyone that you know, we know it’s a small world of course, and so we found ourselves with friends all across the board from growers, to processors, to test facilities, to government regulators, to you know those people that are so enthusiastic about cannabis that you can’t just help but notice them.

We’ve noticed all these interesting people that we knew in our little black book and we just wanted to get them in the room together, to not necessarily talk about anything really, really specific. Because we’ve all been to those events where this is about how to press rosin, these is about how to do this one super specific thing that is very technical. And we want to sort of have a little event for the cannabis industry that will stress a little bit higher level deep down blue sky type stuff and just get some people that we really like and respect to give funky little presentations where there is free beer in the same room.  

Eli Harrington: I really respect that you didn’t lead with free beer that would have been way too easy.

Eli Jager: I should have.

Eli Harrington: And you guys are way too… you guys are way too high-minded. So, this is super cool because I know that you know bringing people together with the kind of cannabis community and especially as it grows into more of an industry, right, like just creating these space where people can come together, have conversations, do networking, sometimes, like, you know usually it’s these trade shows or, you know, presentations or something.

This event that you guys are doing is a little bit more interactive right? And it’s actually kind of got some structure and I have only started to learn about Pecha Kucha, but maybe you can just start by explaining broadly kind of what the structure of this event is and then maybe kind of what Pecha Kucha is

Eli Jager: Yeah for sure so the event just to get real specific and boots on the ground about it is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Karma Birdhouse Gallery which is the front space where Maglianero Cafe is, the bottom of Maple Street – or the corner of Maple and Battery. Their street address is 47 Maple Street. Yeah, it’s just a little presentation series, followed by… we have four presenters, followed by a panel discussion of all these presenters just sort of talking about the state of cannabis, which as you pointed out, is certainly an interesting, sort of, shifting point as we get from a more community-oriented, like, what is going to be happening and the legislature starts falling into place, and we begin to understand what the industry is actually going to look like.

So, we wanted to give a light-hearted presentation about some of those subjects which are, you know, enormously broad. And so we came upon the idea of doing it in the Pecha Kucha style. Because it’s such a huge topic, this could be a six week long seminar with ten speakers every day, and five different offices, and take up the whole convention center, but that will be kind crazy and a bit beyond my scope, to be honest.

So, we want to do something a little bit more humble. And there’s this presentation style that was invented in Japan called Pecha Kucha, which means “chit chat” in Japanese. And basically, this architecture community in Japan would have these talks, and they sort of noticed that the architects really, really like to talk, which I think is sort of similarity between many people in cannabis – myself included.

And so, they decided we can’t be having these presentations last 30 minutes. Like as cool as the buildings are, we’ll just be here forever, these are so many cool people and so many cool subjects and we just need to like cut to the chase.

So, the format is 20 slides, usually just raw images, and 20 seconds per image. So that’s being a 6.6-minute presentation, so a little over six minutes. It just adds a really strange energy and brevity to the presentation because like, even when you practice these things to a T, twenty seconds just like clockwork, is a pretty involved in a high-energy thing to take part in, and even to watch.

So, yeah they are just super high energy and fast, they don’t take a lot of time and they force everyone to cut to the chase and explain stuff in a way that basically anyone could understand. You don’t have to be a grower, you don’t have to be a recreational rights advocate, you don’t have to be an expert in one of those fields of the people speaking to sort of engage with it. And it allows for a broader sort of networking and sort of community building event that isn’t just about one thing in particular. Which is a real tendency to do as the industry becomes more and more serious.

Eli Harrington: Well Eli love this I love this for so many reasons but especially you guys doing it. You know as a couple of guys who are younger in your in your 20s you know, so that kind of the Millennial and I’m on the older end of that generation, you know, short attention span. And so you need to present, you want to present thing in a way that people want to be consuming right?

Eli Harrington: Yeah sure

Eli Jager: And so, this is kind of the best of all worlds where we can have broad opinions and diverse perspectives all in a room, you can get that physical interaction, that real connection but the information is kind of structured in a way where it’s like… it’s almost like Instagram stories in real life, right?

Eli Harrington: I mean that’s to kind of dumb it down to the most like Millennial meta thing of all time within probably totally disrespect Pecha Kucha and everything behind it but…

Eli Jager: No I think it is interesting you said that because I think Pecha Kucha was invented before Instagram as far as I understand it, it’s fairly old. But it’s interesting people responded to it has only grown since it’s been… since it was sort of created, I think 10 or 15, maybe 20 years ago. And so it’s just… it was built for a world that they didn’t even know was coming and it happened to fit really, really well.

And yeah I think whether – no matter how you feel about sort of this lack of attention span in this digital age that we find ourselves in, it’s, you know, true. And just because something is shorter, it doesn’t mean it’s any less polished or you know content laden. The content just happens to be the person in front of you rather than the slide and I think we all agree that we’d rather engage with the person than a slide deck or a Power Point presentation.…

Eli Harrington: For sure and I think it is so much…. well and you know it forces you to be concise in the information that you’re sharing, so I love this and you know again credit to you this event is so interesting that you didn’t even mention the free beer that’s going to be there, there’s going to be some food there. Tell me a little bit about, real quickly, who’s speaking kind of give us an idea of the breadth of topics that we’re going to cover during this time that we’ll spend together Friday evening.

Eli Jager: Sure, we have four speakers, before a panel of discussion between all four of them plus the whole of that will be overseen by trace CEO Josh Decatur who is a gregarious and friendly gentleman as I’m sure everyone who has met him will agree.

Eli Harrington: I will cosign that as well absolutely, MC to MC it really get those probs but very talented I’m happy to do it

Eli Jager: Well he is a good personal friend of mine we went to high school together as well and I’m engaged in another business with his brother, so it is a really tight affair, Som we have Amy Burke from Phylos Bioscience doing a presentation on excuse calling on the search for marijuana holy grail, which is just about the contemporary, the state now of genetics in cannabis and how we test things and how we improve plants in the modern science realm.  

Eli Harrington Phylos is a genetic cannabis mapping company, so the perfect people to be talking about this.

Eli Jager: Exactly and we’ll be seeing some of their mapping technology on the computer and it will be pretty wild. We’ll have Joe Veldon from Seven Leaf Organics giving a presentation on how to use those same genetics, how to put those genetics that sort of modern high-tech cutting edge research into practice, to sort of keep Vermont competitive. And whether that’s just like super high-yield stuff or just sort of using genetics and the granularity you can find within that, to sort of create a new paradigm akin to, you know, micro-brewery about what is genetics and organic.

Eli Harrington: Smokin’ Joe is one of the foremost authorities on cannabis in this state, very experienced out West. We’re very proud to have hosted some of his writing. And another handsome bald man. Yes, okay love Joe okay very-very strong

Eli Jager: Yeah, and Justin Decatur, who is my business partner, and he will be giving a presentation on the whimsy it took to make a batch of vegan compost and actually grew a bunch of cannabis in vegan soil. And sort of the conversation in the weird like real bioethics problems that start coming up where you draw a line within soil and veganism.

Justin is vegan and so he wants to figure out if he can make a vegan soil and do you draw the line at chicken poop or worms or microbes because there is a spectrum there and it is not so black and white and you know strangely, not so black and white.   

Eli Harrington: If anybody was going to question the credentials or the crunchiness or the Headiness or the consciousness of this event, the bioethics of vegan composting is absolutely fucking outrageous man, it’s going to be an interesting six and a half minutes. I’m super excited for that, okay.

Eli Jager: Have seen the soil in person, it’s quite a crazy thing and Justin never pulls any punches. and then Kamani Jefferson, who is the final speaker from the Massachusetts Rec Council, and he is going to be talking about how really strong consumer advocacy in Massachusetts led to a stronger cannabis industry. And consumer advocacy is a huge thing for us at Trace, and so bringing him was very important for us.

Eli Harrington: And Kamani I know he’s also very active with cannabis coalition consumer rec advocacy, also social equity programs in cannabis down there in Mass, the Boston area. Interviewed him like last year, and he is definitely outspoken. He’s going to be solid, so I know that he will be great to talk about social equity very relevant to Vermont combos

Eli Jager: A lot of that stuff is coming out as our legislature falls into place as well, so we are watching with rapt attention.  

Eli Harrington: So, well I’m already I’m pumped for this I’m signed up you know this 6:00 to 9:00 this week all of our local heady Vermont friends and crowd will be there. What’s the vision for this event? I mean I don’t want to count on anything, you know we haven’t we haven’t been there and done it yet but are you guys envisioning this being something that you know you can repeat on the subject of cannabis and bring it around?

Eli Jager: Absolutely.

Eli Harrington: And you know and kind of how does this tie into what you guys do with Trace, I mean I guess it’s kind of all connected you guys build networks and put people together, so it’s a perfect alliance.

Eli Jager: Yeah absolutely, well on the poster there is a big old number one on it. So, you know, there is plenty of room after the ones. There will be plenty more of this presentation, so the idea is definitely to do more of them and we are just going to see how it goes basically, we just have all these friends and we just want to see what they want to see and what they want to engage in and if that’s more Pecha Kucha presentations or it’s more structure or more people or anything in different places we’ll just sort of feel it out, but no matter what that final form takes it will definitely not be the final one.

So, come and comment on what you like and tell us what you want to see more of and we are just going to be bringing more of our friends in the room because we realize we just have a bunch of friends and they should all be friends with each other because we all need as many friends as we can possibly get.   

Eli Harrington: Man it’s a beautiful cannabis community and it’s really awesome you guys, I know how hard planning these events are and this is such a cool, original event in such an awesome space and time. So, super looking forward to it, really appreciate you talking we’re going to be talking about Trace, Wintermute, Maglianero all of this stuff later in further detail. But in the meantime we’ll see people there Friday. It’s funny because you mentioned the poster number one, I saw that at first I thought it might have been a dollar sign. But it is free to attend which is also very cool.

Eli Jager: Yes, important to mention that

Eli Harrington: Right free to attend and I was like yeah hashtag one, it’s going to be very popular on Twitter.

Eli Jager: Yeah

Eli Harrington: I feel like you’re going to get some serious traffic.

Eli Jager: Yeah, hopefully.

Eli Harrington: Is there a capacity though?

Eli Jager: So, I’ve been doing a lot of events at KBH and Maglianero for years, if you can keep up to the Burlington state scene you know coming out in full force, I challenge you cannabis community, to show up in those numbers because I was afraid for my life when that happened. So you can fill a lot of people in there

Eli Harrington: Cool alright awesome um that sounds great man. Well I’m going to hit record here and stop this. Eli thank you again, where can people find more information online about what you guys are doing and hit you up on social?

Eli Jager: Well you can hit us up on the Trace website which is and that’s basically it, we are working on Instagram but it’s pretty early days as far as marketing stuff we just want to get all our friends in the door and talk about it.  

Eli Harrington: Beautiful, it’s going to be a good time, well thank you again for joining us, we will see everybody Friday from 6 to 9, 47 Maple Street, that’s the Karma Birdhouse building, Maglianeros in the front, we will see you guys there.

Learn more about TRACE online here

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