Northern Ireland is an often overlooked part of the UK but the cannabis community there have been working hard to build themselves a home to raise their numbers and provide the support that their local people need.
The Belfast Hemp Market brought a number of local businesses, some with their own shops and others who are just starting out or running their businesses from home. We saw CBD products available from bath bombs to balms and even buds, CBD e-liquids and an assortment of edibles that were getting some serious attention due to the high quality of them all.
Kama Hemp were there with their juices and powders. This couple Marcus and Kate have their own hemp farm right on the border and the produce from the farm is turned into foods. Not the usual, though. They harvest the plants and fresh juice them, fill them into ice cube packs and freeze them up. They also do freeze dried powder so that the goodness of their hemp crop can be delivered anywhere and added to any drink. The couple who farm with permaculture methods and have been vegan for 20 years told us they were 15 days into a 90 day raw juice fast/feast which we are now following the progress of with The Quarter Leaf magazine.
The atmosphere was buzzing and the footfall was busy. Over 400 people came through the doors and took part even if it was just to be there to socialise and do what happens when 400 members of a cannabis social club get together. Herbs were inhaled, dabs were had and edibles were discussed and tucked into. I even got gifted some gluten/dairy/gelatin free gummies medicated with 300mg of BHO.
Marty Giles, founder of Hemp NI and organiser of the Belfast Hemp Market told us: “A lot of the people here would have been brought up to hate each other due to historical differences between their local communities but cannabis naturally teaches people to put their differences aside.
“There is a real need for a voice for the cannabis people in Northern Ireland. It wasn’t long ago, well… it still happens, if a paramilitary group found you dealing a bit of weed you would either be chased out the area or recruited to join them and sell their product, or worse. It doesn’t have to be like that.
“Hemp NI Market in Belfast is a way to bring people together with a common love of cannabis, a need for like-minded friends and on this occasion a love of glass blowing.”
West End 710 made their way over from Glasgow with a selection of their collection of fine borosilicate glass acquired from all around the world. The glass scene has completely blown up internationally now and Josh from West End 710 showed us some of the recent new additions. Straight into the world of dabbing and rigs Josh pulls out a Kovaks Glass directional spiral flow barb cap that when you look at the formation of the piece kind of melts the mind. We aren’t sure how he does it but it does the trick, check out the force of the pull that you can create in a banger in this video of some terp pearls under influence of the Kovaks carb cap. West End 710 are hosts of Scotland’s Highland Flames glass festival weekend which will be returning on 18 September 2019.
It was great to see Josh there too. Several years ago, he was put away in prison after being found making oil for his mother who had cancer. The Judge said he passed the sentence “to send a message to other people who want to live your lifestyle”. Josh is a testament to not being able to keep a man down. He told us that when he was in prison he was getting sent lots of pictures of new glass which he put up on his wall. “I was known as the guy with all the bong pictures on my wall, the other in-mates loved it. Some of the guards were like, ‘I’m not sure we are allowed to allow you to have those’ but they did anyway.” I don’t think there is anyone I know in the UK who loves glass as much as Josh.
Mellow Glass, Hive, Burtango and Sick Note spent the day teaching lessons to the locals who got to try their very first go at glass blowing. In fact, this was the first time any UK Glass artists had touched down in Ireland to do any work – something Marty Giles is extremely proud of.
Many glass heads came out with their collectors’ pieces including an alien egg series by Irish Plug and a super heady dragon by Scoz Glass.
Northern Ireland is currently facing the longest government shutdown in its history with Stormont being closed, meaning there are no ministers to make important decisions for the people.
Marty who is full of energy and ideas told us that the next stage was to keep the events coming, grow the membership and use the time they have wisely to become stronger. “There’s a lot that can be done if the community realises what it is capable of.” Judging by the spirit that was shown and the good time that was had, we think that his aims are achievable.
If you want to join in with the good times in Belfast and Northern Ireland next time please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Hemp NI” and we will notify you of the next event.