Humble Bloom - A Men's Session.
When Danniel and Solonje from Humble Bloom asked me to join their first Mens event, I was excited to join for sure- though I really had no idea what to expect.
I’ve been to several cannabis networking events, Black Market/Grey Market events, expos, etc. In Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, though nothing of THC base was being vending at this event, it was more like a secret session then say The Cannagather events, or other business networking events. This style of approach was much better, from my point of view.
When I first entered The Assemblage I was excited to see the layout and vibe of the room. The dimly lit room with its low tables and floor cushions, attributed this vibe as it was warm and inviting.
I set up my table on the rooftop which at 5pm in July, had the sun blazing. I brought with me several examples of my luxury Rolling Trays, some of The Planks, Mini New Classics, and some new pedestals that I designed to hold glassware like Bongs and Dab Rigs. .
I was happy to find out that the vendors were to participate in the event directly which meant being in an Air Conditioned spot. I still really had no idea what was in plan for the evening.
Danniel was setting up the raffle table for the day. All contributions went to the Drug Policy Alliance, because no drug should be illegal.
After set-up, I went back downstairs into the cold, to grab a seat before the event started..
It was at this point that I was really able to take a step back and look at the lineup of presenters. I got an overall feel of the crowd and was happy to see that the room is mostly POC. I should mention that this was billed as a Men’s Only event, so there were no womxn at all, aside from Danniel and Solonje and a few workers from the Assemblage. I was pleased to see the diversity in this setting. Most were wearing business attire, button-downs and dress shoes. This session was on a Wednesday evening so I assume most people were coming straight from work. It was nice to be in a more stylish setting rather than the 4/20 pop up that I attended on Staten Island; though that had its own awesomeness. So the crowd being mostly POC, is cool in an industry that is known for being run by rich white men for the most part.
At the start of the event, Solonje and Danniel thanked everyone who came: the sponsors and those who run the venue. They then gave a one-minute overview of who they were and what they were trying to accomplish as a whole for Humble Bloom.
And then, Solonje and Danniel left; that was it for them. They did not come back to join us until the very end, where they closed the session and again, thanked everyone. I mean, how amazing is that?! They spent months putting this together, which I can imagine had its stress points. They got everything composed and organized it beautifully - and it was all just amazing. And Solonje and Danniel are just amazing! I think it’s very cool of them, that they did all of this for us to have our talks and meditations – to the point where they only made themselves present in the beginning and end of the session.
The event opened up with José Rodriguez from The Reflex Media. José gave a talk on how Journaling has been a powerful tool in his life. Humble Bloom was kind enough to provide everyone with these really sweet journals. José went on to walk everyone through the steps on how to recognize some of the small emotions that you’ve felt over the day and write them down. This is done for the purpose of holding on to those thoughts until later in the evening and come back to them at the end.
SirRoan Smiley from Dropping Seeds gave a beautiful overview of the power of natural medicines, his back ground and where his intentions were coming from. He performed a ceremony and passed around a tincture from his company. Super cool.
Carlos Alberto from Time To Sit set the intention for the night, both for the group as a whole and for the individual. He gave a 25 min guided meditation, I believe it was that long, I was so comfortable sitting on the floor I kept drifting off to near sleep. During the whole sitting, there was music being play by Elias Meister on guitar.
After the Meditation there was a breakout session where we got into three groups.
The groups were led by Andrew Kippen from Evryman, Josh Rasp from Mankind Project, and Talib Fleming of Mastermind Connect. Talib is a really awesome coach I was able to talk to later in the night. I was put into the group with Andrew from Evryman and our group went up to the roof.
I thought, OK. I was not expecting workshops and this could be a little strange. Sometimes a little strange is good.
We formed a circle, and Andrew gave a brief rundown of who he was and what his organization does. He mentioned how today men have forgotten how to make friends. He expressed that we are closed off emotionally and told to suck it up and move on. Our interactions with other men, for the most part, are business based or just set in their ways; that it was hard for men to comfort each other with true feelings and emotion. This sounded about right. Andrew supplied a sentence on safe space and confidentiality about what was said.
He asked us to form two lines of people and pair off. Then we were to move as close as possible to each other. To stand as close as possible, face-to-face, with comfort. We were practically nose to nose. Right off the bat this was a bit uncomfortable and weird. The task was to then take turns sharing for 60 seconds, things that we are proudest of - if the other person truly knew us. Next up we shared 60 secs of “If you truly knew me you would know I’m worried about…”. This was hard at first, but then we both kind of realized that we share the same worries and fears. There is a connection made and it got a little easier to talk to this other stranger. We then shifted to other people down the row. We shared 60 seconds of things about our lives and what makes us happy and worried. Next, another 60 seconds of the other responding on what they heard the other person say. This was another comforting connection, to have someone truly listen.
So, it was unusual compared to things I’ve been a part of - but it was cool. You learn a little about preconceived judgments of others, and they are almost always wrong..
Then a short break for mingling, music by Graham Garlington, and refreshments. Please note that there was no alcohol at this event. This was cool and different, as most networking events I’ve been to were flushed with drink. But again, this was not really the standard networking event. Also, I find it a bit strange when there is los of drinking at cannabis events. The longest lines and most crowded booths at the Emerald Cup last winter were for the beer, which I thought that was funny.
After the break was a presentation of The Endocannabinoid System and how it works by Rob Tankson of PrestoDoctor.
Next up came the main headline: The round table discussion, titled A Men’s Session: Achieving Homeostasis in Vulnerability, Wellness & Cannabis Consumption. The discussion was moderated by Nicholas Hoge from Aurelian. Nicholas also pointed out how it was refreshing not to have any of the typical people sitting on a cannabis panel. The panel consisted of 5 men from three companies. One of the panelists, Treveon Graham from the Brooklyn Nets, had just been traded that night and had to fly out to Minnesota to sign a contract. His partner DJ Haley was there to talk about alternative medicines and their company Apply Recover. He discussed how and what athletes can use to alleviate not only the physicals stress on the bodies, but also to help calm the mind of working in such a high-pressure career such as the NBA. Treyvon and DJ Haley are working together to help end the stigma of cannabis in the athletic communities. Jacobi Halland from Revel talked about how important it is to have a room and space like the one we were currently in. He comes from Denver and explained to us that in a business that is dominated by white men, it’s important for POC to take charge and take the lead to help each other going forward. He explained that in Denver, this type of diversity just does not exist.
Then there was Adrian Robinson and Andrew Robinson, from High Street Co. They are based out of Canada but doing business all over the world. They are pair of partners who got one of only (around) 100 legal permits to cultivate commercially in Canada. They run a fund to help the young Start Up companies in the cannabis industry. Adrian and Andrew do their best to help minorities rise-up in the industry. They obviously have a ton of experience within the industry and have made it through several waves of different cannabis legislations; both in the States and in Canada.
The discussion was quick, but informative and fun.
The event closed with Jose Rodriguez and a final journaling talk. The talk was quick but important. This focused on checking back in with the feeling we had earlier in the session. We jotted a few more notes down and he encouraged us to continue writing in life - if we found some peace behind it.
The evening concluded with hanging out on the roof, selling my trays and meeting new people.
I loved this event and would be honored to be a part of future events, put on by Humble Bloom.