Thinking Green

Massachus’ians are thinkers. There is scant shortage of intellectual pursuit in this state; Cambridge and Boston especially are visibly abuzz with the life of the mind, in all its variety of bloom. So it is all the more notable that the Northeastern CannaBusiness Symposium, held Saturday March 16th in downtown Boston by the National Cannabis Industry Association, was an extraordinarily intelligent event—viscerally, palpably so. If Dr. Howard Gardner had attended, he might have had to make addendums to his list, as entrepreneurial, technological, medical, horticultural, linguistic, political, social, legal, advocative, managerial, and just plain raw smarts were on display both in presenters and attendees. After eight decades of negative propaganda, the reality is that the proponents of marijuana are the smartest people in the room. Anyone who can’t let go of the stereotypes associated with this natural, non-lethal, medicinal plant—which also has reforestation and green manufacturing potential—is not going to be able to keep up.

Not to miss mentioning emotional intelligence. When Ginnifer Murray, co-founder and microbiologist of CannLabs, the foremost medical marijuana analytics lab in Colorado, speaks of measuring a 24 to 1 ratio of CBD’s in the medicine allocated for a patient who has had 60-100 seizures daily her entire young life—a listener might not have a personal reference point for the science, no matter how interesting. But anyone can see what it means to Murray, far beyond business concerns, when she tells how the girl’s mother related that she’d had to consciously try to accept the imminent mortality of her daughter—who now only experiences seizures once monthly due to the use of that precisely quantified herbal remedy. Perhaps the disciplines pursued in the advocacy of responsible marijuana use are as ferociously sharp as they are due to the high humanist quotient? This correlative hypothesis is similar to most posies regarding marijuana, in that more research is desperately needed.

It is also heartening to see how well women were represented at the symposium, and in ancillary fields. To wit: Jessica Billingsley and Amy Poinsett, co-founders of MJ Freeway, whose company provides a patent pending software that allows dispensaries to ‘track every gram’; Executive Director of Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Association Anne Johnson; and Betty Aldrich, Deputy Director of NCIA and Chair of its Women’s CannaBusiness Network, who designed the eight hour symposium so expertly that the event only got more fascinating as it progressed, and who previously worked on Colorado’s Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol.

Women are well busy in a plethora of other offerings honoring their history during March, including:
The WAM (Women, Action & the Media) Film Festival at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge on Saturday and Sunday March 23rd &24th showing films by and/or about women.

The XX PlayLab ‘Festival & Readings’ at the Boston Center for the Arts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday March 22-24th featuring the work of Lydia R. Diamond, Natalia Naman, and Kirsten Greenidge.

“Enter Hallie,” a play and multimedia work honoring Hallie Flanagan at St. Paul’s Church in Brookline on April 5th to benefit the Eastern Service workers Association (ESWA). The ESWA is a free and voluntary membership by & for low income workers whose aim is to counteract the poverty fostered by lack of living wages. Flanagan, in addition to courageous creative productions, provided work for thousands of starving actors during the Great Depression, and stood up to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. For tickets call 617.739.2661 or email

Just gone by on March 16th: SWANday (Support Women Artists Now), an event featuring short plays, monologues, dance, poems & more, put on by Boston Playwright’s Theatre to benefit the Fund for Women Artists. Wellesley College’s Ruth Nagle Jones Theatre ran a second event on St. Patrick’s Day—neither of which got advance mention in local papers. Being that this week was the last hard publication of the Phoenix, and given that they introduced me to the work of Johnette Rodriguez, and further, always spoke truth to power—I’m going to cut them slack on this unfortunate omission. RIP Phoenix, you’ll be missed. But ‘g’ magazine should have been all over this, particularly in the Thursday edition’s theatre listings.

—J. Marechal

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