With so much attention on Cannabis in the mainstream media in recent years there is no surprise that the UK has seen a surge in cannabusiness’s, cannabis social clubs, patient advocacy groups and with that a growing percentage of the population are warming to the idea of regulating the market for adults. A recent poll by ORB published in The Independent this week suggested that 47% of Brits wanted reform topping the 39% that believed the Governments drug policy is actually working.
Despite the changes that have incrementally, but by no means quietly taken place across the Atlantic in Canada and the US where half of states have medical marijuana laws and 4 states are fully legal for all adults over 21, Britain has sat almost stagnant with only a few minor glimpses for change coming in the reclassification of cannabis from B to C and then back to B again. Not much was happening. But Amsterdam being a 45-minute flight away meant that on weekends weed could be legal if you wanted it to be.
Regarding activities here in the UK…The wait has been long and the years have been slow…until Product Earth Expo made its way into the heart of the alternative culture calendar bringing a weekend packed of live music, late night shenanigans at the camp site and the congregation of the most sought after Hemp and Cannabis brands, that the UK and Europe has to offer.
Well…something had to give finally!
The Wembley Hemp shows prior to 2009 were well attended and well loved by those that went for the few years it was on, but after what seemed like a lifetime hiatus with no signs of returning, a small team of dedicated enthusiasts that work behind the scenes of the UK alternative industries decided that the time was right for the UK to see Hemp get a new shiny light hung over it.
With the fading out of the Amsterdam High Times Cannabis Cup in recent years the UK connoisseur has had to take a look at the map and consider the evolving scene and choose where to take that break…Spain in March for Spannabis, Jamaica in November for the HTCC? Or, how about no flights and a trip to Peterborough? No it doesn’t sound quite as exotic as the former but when you consider that’s where everyone else is heading from around the UK, Europe and even further afar you might just start to feel the excitement.
We caught up with the Product Earth Expo team recently to ask what inspired this all new festival.
“Product Earth Expo aim to support elements from the Cannabis industry which may range from the effective and correct management of Cannabis and its derivatives for use with medical ailments and health related matters, through to supporting the correct process for decriminalisation and/or reclassification of Cannabis to enable the correct mainstream perception of Cannabis and its derivatives, for example, CBD and Cannabinoids.
With so much inaccurate and skewed information in the mainstream media, our aim is to provide our members and visitors, with as much impartial information as possible to enable them to make an informed decision about the subject matter which interests them, from within this exciting, fresh, new, vibrant and rapidly evolving industry.”
Product Earth Expo is pulling together industry leaders from the Hemp, Cannabis seeds and Genetic world, the finest Eco-friendly fashion, Activists and Campaigners from Non-profit organisations as well as a full line up of international music super stars that are going to keep the weekends sound track one that makes it a super high flyer.
Speaking with activist and President of the UK Cannabis Social Clubs, Greg de Hoedt about the UK’s answer to “hemp fest” he touched upon the importance it has within the cannabis culture.
“Events like this are really needed in the UK, it creates a sense of community between the different parts of the movement that are all pushing in their different ways. Product Earth Expo gives anyone in the country a weekend to come and get more information about progress that’s taking place and speak to the different organisations about where they can get help or get involved – everyone has a different reason for coming.”
“UK Cannabis Social Clubs are curating the Product Earth Seminar Zone again this year bringing the educational and conversational arm to the weekend. We have speakers from the edible world, hemp farmers and professionals that use hemp as a building material and even speakers giving presentations on permaculture and sustainability.”
“We have tried to keep the debate rolling over the last 6 years at the UKCSC with the aim to spread the knowledge we have and help facilitate new ways for people with a passion for hemp, cannabis or reform to find ways to express it with an aim for making real progress.”
Speaking at the Seminar Zone there will be Cherry Haze Medibles who is based over in Barcelona and working with a selection of Cannabis Social Clubs that operate under privacy laws. Giving the low down on CBD the non-psychoactive cannabinoid that actually counters the effects of THC (the bit that gets you high), Catherine Wilson from CannaWell will be discussing their range of products and how patients are using them therapeutically for a host of conditions and to mix it up a bit Rebekah Shaman from Living Shamanically, will be relaying some of her accounts from the depths of the rainforest with tales of Ayahuasca and high dose cocoa ceremonies.
Time to chillax! But this is still the UK, so respect that and keep it in mind. Vapes are best.
What is a festival without a quality music line up full of your favourites? Product Earth Expo aims to be a celebration of culture not just-another-festival and for that very reason the artists which have been selected to perform over these very special 3 days has got the crew excited more than they have ever been on the project during its short 2 years.
“The line-up this year has grown into something quite spectacular.”
“It’s a step up from last year and caters for a wider audience and age demographic.”
Just picking a few names that jump right out at me from the quite fun looking event poster, artists like Akala, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Footsie, P Money OG’s, DJ Zink and Hatcha; there really is some diversity across the board.
Those that can’t keep away from the Hemp will be able to catch a pitch on the campsite from Friday to Monday and get the fullest of the Product Earth Experience. And for those that are turning up for the Earlybird Friday will have music lined up in The Atrium until 3am in the morning so there will be plenty of chance to get some moves sliding across the dancefloor.
“Whilst last year had some fantastic acts we really have pulled the big guns out this time around and we think everyone is going to really enjoy the selection and the environment we have created for festival comers.”
With names like Grandmaster Flash, Gentleman’s Dub Club and Mike Skinner headlining, the team at Product Earth Expo don’t seem to be kidding about.
Cannabis Seeds in the UK
The cannabis collectors market is huge in the UK with cannabis seeds being available in around 300 lifestyle shops. The Product Earth team have told us that they currently have 29 different seed banks and breeders exhibiting on the expo hall over the weekend form many countries in Europe, the variety will be in abundance so “seed collectors are going to be spoilt for choice”.
Breeders that originated in the UK but have grown their brand where the grass is greener, will be making appearances; including True Canna Genetics, Lady Sativa and Dank Genetics.
Although it remains against the law to germinate cannabis seeds collecting them is not a crime and this has given way to the growth of an ever expanding catalogue of weed varieties. In some countries that have recently legalised cannabis and allowed home growing seeds are being popped that have sat in a fridge for over 20 years, you can only imagine what kind of resurge in lost and hidden or reserved genetics is going to bring to the table in the next few years.
Ganja becoming legal globally is just the beginning – and we are in the mix of it!
Being conscious about the impact you have on the earth is nothing new but the jury is out and the facts are in on cotton, the most used natural fibre in the western world. The impact that farming cotton has on the environment can be catastrophic, requiring 50% of the water that we use for crops world-wide and over use of fertilizers and pesticides, leaves water resources low in countries with poor levels of agricultural regulation such as china and India. The pesticides used to grow them also have a long lasting toxic effect on the land and the farmers that have to spray the noxious chemicals over them, to ensure the cotton is protected from insect attack.
There has been a growing movement among eco-fashion designers and brands that have listened to the call of the consumer and provided alternatives to this earth devastating industry. Fortunately, there are other options and technology which has made them more of an option than ever before.
Organic cotton’s popularity has become more available in the last decade and there has been campaigning to encourage conscious buying of these products. Hemp which is also included in these alternatives has long been known to be a faster growing crop that produces more, raw material than cotton does in the same space, demands less water and fertilizer and doesn’t need chemical pesticides.
The great thing about hemp is, it is a multi-purpose crop, so, where from cotton you just get cotton, with hemp you get the fibre, the pulp from the stem and seeds which can be used for food, made into food oil rich in omega 3, 6 and 9 and even be turned into a bio-fuel or plastic – for which there are over 25,000 uses.
One piece of information that the team at Product Earth intrigued us with, was that last year in the UK there were only 7 hemp licences granted – jokingly they added “who is going to get the eighth?”
One thing is really certain about the Product Earth event staff, they are all really fascinated with hemp and it doesn’t take long to realise why. The product literally can be used for so many purposes and as a building material for modern environmentally friendly homes seems to be the big thing. You have to consider; we are building 200,000 new houses in the UK each year, which is actually missing the target by about 40,000 a year.
“With the building materials that are being used to create these homes, an enormous carbon footprint is created and will continue to release carbon into the atmosphere for another 10-20 years. The planet just can’t afford this.”
“Hempcrete however, a new solution made from hemp, lime and water doesn’t use the same energy as producing normal concrete, you can literally pour the mix into any shape you want – so you build the frame of the house and then fill it up. This is carbon neutral to start with meaning it has no lasting impact on the environment – but it goes one further by naturally absorbing more carbon from the surrounding atmosphere.
Medical Cannabis in the UK
With the sweeping Cannabis Policy Reform the globe is currently undertaking, it is no surprise that stories of cannabis’ medicinal benefits are coming more to light on an almost weekly basis now. If it isn’t a story about a young child having dozens of brain damaging epileptic seizures a day or a six-month old baby with cancer it’ll be about other life altering conditions such as MS, Crohn’s Disease and depression.
In Colorado where there is now legal access to cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes there has subsequently been a drop in the number of suicides and homicide by 50%! With mental health being a rising epidemic in the UK maybe cannabis really could be a preventative.
Medical cannabis is starting to enjoy seeing the day light in the UK also. GW Pharmaceutical’s second trial drug Epidiolex – a high CBD percentage tincture being used to treat severe forms of childhood epilepsy such as Dravet’s syndrome has recently been reported as having positive clinical trial results; which unsurprisingly lead to an increase in their share prices!
Product Earth is on the 24th-26th of June 2016 at Peterborough Arena’s East of England Showground.
For the full music festival line up, exhibitors list and to buy tickets visit http://productearthexpo.com