Cannabis Week: Next Stage highlights budding industry

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PUTNEY — Whether you are a recreational user, want to learn to grow, or are interested solely in the health benefits of CBD-based products, Next Stage Arts Project presents a week of events that focus on cannabis, April 14-20.

"This is a topic of great current interest to a wide range of people in our region, including farmers, healthcare practitioners, scientists, economists and consumers. We're pleased to be able to bring so many experts together to explore in depth, through the versatility of our programming and our facility," said Maria Basescu, executive director of Next Stage.

She said the mission of Next Stage is not just to present entertainment, but to be a resource to the community on many levels. In fact, its stated vision is to be "a magnet for community connection and exploration."

"This event will be a wonderful networking opportunity for knowledge, resources, information on the business of growing and producing CBD products," adds Carol Berry, Next Stage board member. Both hemp and marijuana are cannabis and there is little difference in growing either one. "This industry is in its infancy and it's going to boom," Berry said, adding that she likes the idea of supporting young entrepreneurs, bringing them together and connecting them to other people who can help them.

"The passing of the farm bill opened up new opportunities for farmers in Vermont to grow hemp," said Berry. "This is quickly becoming a big industry, and Next Stage saw this as an opportunity to bring people together who are knowledgeable in various aspects, including growing, processing, medicinal use, legislation, and anyone who is interested in learning more."

On July 1, 2018 Vermont legalized adult personal possession of one ounce of cannabis and allows individuals to cultivate two mature plants and four immature plants per household. The same principles apply to growing hemp and marijuana, so organizers say people interested in learning about either will come away from Cannabis Week events better informed and more knowledgeable.

Cannabis Week schedule

Sunday, April 14

- 9 a.m. to noon: Growers Workshop. Learn how to grow indoors or outdoors. Speakers are Pete McMahon, owner of Liquid Sun, and Brian Berry, master grower and entrepreneur. Online registration required. Cost is $35.

- 2 to 4 p.m.: Panel discussion on the Science of Cannabis & CBD. Panelists include moderator David Hull of Vermont Prerolls, Scott Keeler of Origin Therapeutics, Carl Christianson of Northeast Processing, Deane Wilson of Southern Vermont Wellness and state Sen. Becca Balint, D-Windham. The panel discussion is sponsored by Northeast Processing, which does lab testing for CBD products and processes hemp. Attendance is by donation. Online registration encouraged.

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- Noon to 5 p.m.: The Cannabis Marketplace, with includes products, food vendors and music. Free and open to the public. Vendors include Good Body Products, 100% organic therapeutic body care products, including CBD products made with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible; Bordertown Farm, a local hemp farmer showcasing CBD products; Northeast Processing, a local hemp processing facility with full lab for testing both CBD and THC; Sophia's Favorite, CBD dog treats; Doobie Design, novelty gifts; Bold Maker Studio, high-end silicone candy molds; Ceres & Tree Tap, local CBD store and new CBD infused beverage products; and Heady Vermont, Vermont's Source for Cannabis advocacy, events and news.

- Noon to 3 p.m.: DOSA Kitchen and Healing with Food will be selling lunch and food items at the Marketplace.

Monday, April 15

- 6 to 9 p.m.: Cooking with Cannabis (CBD). Join Putney chef Sarah Dal Balcon, owner of Healing From Food for a cooking class in Next Stage's commercial kitchen. Dal Balcon, who recently moved here from San Francisco, served as a personal chef to celebrity families, and did menu consulting for restaurants. Balcon will show attendees how to infuse olive oil, hemp seed oil, cream and butter with CBD, which uses buds from the hemp plant. The class will then participate in making a delicious meal using these infused staples. While the class will work with CBD, the techniques are no different if you chose to make THC infused staples at home with buds from the marijuana plant. The menu for this class includes a mixed green salad tossed with CBD infused hemp oil dressing, pasta with pesto made with CBD infused olive oil, and fried bananas in caramel sauce made with CBD infused butter and cream. Wine will be available to those 21 and older. The cost is $65. Register early; class limit of 12 people.

Thursday, April 18

- 7 p.m. A film: The Legend of 420 (Documentary, 2017). This documentary explores the growing trend of marijuana decriminalization in the United States and the use of cannabis in medicine, art, fine dining and more. A $5 donation is suggested.

Saturday, April 20 (4/20)

- 7:30 p.m.: Returning to Next Stage by rousing popular demand, Bread & Puppet Theater will cap off the week of events with a new show, "Diagonal Man: Theory and Praxis." Active since the 1960s, Bread & Puppet is based in Glover, Vermont, and founded and directed by Peter Schumann. Tickets are $15; but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Winner of grant awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and Art Place America, Next Stage is a non-profit organization that seeks to be a magnet for community connection and exploration. Since its founding in early 2011, Next Stage has hosted hundreds of events including classical, folk, and popular music concerts, films, theater, a spoken word series, art shows, school workshops, community suppers and cooking classes.

Next Stage, at 15 Kimball Hill in Putney, is in the former United Church of Putney, a Greek revival building, originally built in 1841.

Register online for all events, including the Marketplace and panel discussion which are free. For tickets and registration visit nextstagearts.org or call 802-387-0102.


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