Pubdate: Sat, 10 Feb 2018
Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2018 Star Advertiser
Author: Kristen Consillio


Hydroponic systems to grow your own pot, an on-site bud trimming
school and hand-blown glass pipe demonstrations are among the mix of
exhibitors at this weekend's Hawaii Cannabis Expo.

Drew Gennuso, owner of Trim Ready Hawaii, showed Ari Medina how to
trim legal hemp, which looks like cannabis, Friday at the Hawaii
Cannabis Expo at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.

Hydroponic systems to grow your own pot, an on-site bud trimming
school and hand-blown glass pipe demonstrations are among the mix of
exhibitors at this weekend's Hawaii Cannabis Expo.

More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the event, the first
time since medical marijuana dispensaries opened last year.

Pot experts, advocates and doctors will be on hand to speak about the
benefits of the drug and help residents become certified patients,
while educating them on which strains are most beneficial for their

The more than 100 vendors includes all three Oahu dispensaries, those
for pure medicinal purposes and others who are straddling the line of
recreational use, including a number of exhibitors selling apparel
along with "souvenir seeds," or seeds by donation.

In its third year, the trade show has grown substantially from about
6,000 attendees last year and nearly 4,000 in 2016. Vendors looking to
profit from the fledgling industry grew to 115 from 88 last year and
57 in 2016.

"I found out it's very educational with the different varieties of the
different strains that's out there," said marijuana patient Lovey
Nakahara, who has had chronic pain for 15 years. "It's great,
actually. I get to see whatever's out there 'cause they never actually
had this stuff before. You could buy seeds. You couldn't do that before."

Massage therapist Debbie Cadiente has been selling topicals and
tinctures at the show for the past three years, along with a massage
to demonstrate how the nonintoxicating CBD-only products work. CBD, or
cannabidiol, is derived from hemp and does not contain THC, or
tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

"Some are still apprehensive ... but a lot of people like it. They
like the relief," she said, adding that the event has helped raise
awareness of the benefits of her CBD products. "I've had clients that
are kind of conservative, but now they're more open to it. They're not
going to go smoke a joint, but they're more open."

Molokai vendor Micah Buchanan of Pakalolo Seed is selling
cannabis-related apparel for the second year after initially entering
the Aloha Cup, Hawaii's version of the Cannabis Cup, a competition in
which judges from around the United States and overseas sample and
vote for their favorite varieties of weed.

"The first year we were just in the weed competition. We all just got
together, smoked some weed and found out who had the best weed that
day," he said.

This year is more about business.

"We're not selling directly seeds. We're selling stickers and T-shirts
that come with souvenir seeds. Our gimmick is it comes with a pack of
seeds," Buchanan said, adding that the event has been getting better
each year. "With the amount of vendors and people already, it's better
than last year."

Drew Gennuso of Trim Ready Hawaii is offering hands-on training
classes at the exposition and take-home trim kits and curriculum using
legal hemp that looks exactly like cannabis for those interested in
working in the industry.

"It's probably the only legal thing you can do hands-on," he said.
"Lots has changed over the years, so it's very important that people
looking to get into the industry understand the laws, understand the
regulatory environment and also have some type of hands-on

His student Ari Medina, who does inventory for one of the
dispensaries, was excited to master new skills at the event.

"That was something I was really interested in just in case I didn't
have the opportunity to do so with the dispensary," she said. "It
would also just give me extra experience."

Interest in marijuana is growing in the islands. There were 20,279
medical cannabis cardholders as of Jan. 31. That compares with 15,275
patients a year earlier and 13,021 patients in 2016.

There are currently four dispensaries: Aloha Green Apothecary and Noa
Botanicals on Oahu and Maui Grown Therapies and Pono Life Maui. Cure
Oahu is expected to open within weeks, while Green Aloha on Kauai is
slated to start marijuana sales this month by appointment only. Two
others, on Hawaii island, are projected to open by the summer,
according to the state Health Department.

"The industry's really taking off. A lot of us are riding the wave
that other people are paddling for," said Jonah Tacoma of lifestyle
brand Dab Star, which promotes cannabis products around the world and
has 2.3 million Facebook followers. "Cannabis came along, and it gave
so many people a chance at economic mobility that never would've had
it. For us this is potential to move up in life."
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MAP posted-by: Matt