Graham Abbott

Cannabis workers, professionals, enthusiasts, and entrepreneurs came together earlier this month in Zillah, Washington for the 4th Annual Croptoberfest, an educational and engaging B2B networking event for the cannabis space.

This year’s Croptoberfest focused on the leading issues that face the cannabis industry, namely: the proliferation of pesticides and issues related to their use, the standardization of lab testing, continuing cannabis advocacy, and the push for cannabis to be treated as an agricultural crop. On Saturday, Nov. 4, guest speakers and panel discussions were lined up all morning and through the afternoon at Perham Hall in Zillah, Washington.

A special presentation by keynote speaker Dr. Dominic Corva — the founder, co-executive, and political science research director for the Center for Study of Cannabis and Social Policy — steered the theme of Croptoberfest 2017 toward activism, fighting for the mainstream acceptance of cannabis as a culture and not just as a commodity, and a recognition that “legalization does not end the war on drugs.”

Dr. Dominic Corva gives the keynote address for Croptoberfest 2017.

This sentiment was echoed throughout the day as well: guest speaker Michael “Wolf” Segal spoke from his position as a long-time, local cannabis farmer about how to preserve small businesses in the cannabis space as the industry picks up speed and begins shifting toward the world of “big business;” Farmer Tom Lauerman of Farmer Tom Organics spoke about embracing the cultural normalization of cannabis as a staple in his life, home, and garden; panelists encouraged attendees to become more active in their local business and agricultural communities, to meet and greet with their neighbors as proud farmers; and the audience eagerly engaged the various panels with questions about how best to get involved, enact change, and navigate the cannabis space.

Panels covered the formation of a Washington Cannabis Commission, the ins and outs and of pesticide usage in Washington’s cannabis industry, organic growing standards for the cannabis plant, the standardization of testing lab standards, and more. The panels featured impressive lineups of industry leaders, experts, and government representatives, including Lara Kaminsky of The Cannabis Alliance, Dr. Jade Stephano and Jeff Church of Puffin Farm, Erik Johanson and Brenda Book of the Washington State Agriculture Department, Jim McRae of Straightline Analytics, Nick Mosely of Confidence Analytics, and many others.

“The vision of Croptoberfest is to host an agrarian festival similar to the hop and wine events that are such a distinct part of our culture,” said event organizer Jedidiah Haney. “Each year, my goal is to organize a popular educational event so that we can talk about the myriad of beneficial climates that Washington State has to offer cannabis cultivation. We gather together industry thought leaders and influencers to discuss current practice and future theory of cannabis agriculture.”

Croptoberfest organizer Jedidiah Haney addresses attendees and introduces the Organic Growing Practices panel.

“At our inaugural event back in 2014, we compared the crop potential of cannabis to hops and we made the statement that we are primed to be a future export state,” said Haney. “We intend to keep beating that drum every year in an area that already is known for its top-value agricultural commodity production.”

If you couldn’t make it to this year’s Croptoberfest, fear not: the 5th Annual Croptoberfest will return to the region on September 22, 2018.

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