For several years, we have covered happenings around the New England Cannabis Convention in these pages. Ever since the former brass and ownership of this newspaper started NECANN back in 2015, packing heads inside the Castle at Park Plaza, I have watched with wonder as the golden herb has grown from outrageously taboo and barely legal to trendy and flirting with mainstream acceptance. As someone who has been arrested and harassed for smoking and possessing weed on multiple occasions, I pinch myself whenever this whole brave new world comes into view, and nowhere is it more focused than NECANN.
Before pumping more positivity, I have to note the places and faces that are holding us back. Namely, more than 100 towns and cities across the Commonwealth are dragging their feet making decisions about whether to permit recreational cannabis activity, and placing moratoriums to stall the industry from popping up, or banning rec altogether through rushed referendums that draw prohibitionists (and have in only some rare cases spurred adequate pro-cannabis counter forces). Beyond that ongoing municipal madness, and the stubborn ignoramuses on aldermanic councils statewide who think nothing of approaching microphones in public to push cheap distortions of the truth, are rifts among the rest of us that will cause strains between consumers, advocates, and businesspeople now and probably forever after.
We strive to help air all sides of these debates and issues, other than the sheer moronic and anti, of course. In a series of special issues and from week to week as well, DigBoston and our companion cannabis newsletter, Talking Joints Memo, will pack interviews, news, and analysis aplenty, touching everything from recreational and licensing, to the black market, to homegrowing, to medical. We’ve been all over these issues for 20 years and plan on staying that course until the district attorneys on Law & Order, after a hard day of work, retire to their offices to take bong hits.
Not to say that things haven’t already changed for the greener. Personally speaking, these days I’m a board member of NECANN (disclosure alert!), and I will be speaking on a panel Sunday about cannabis and media. I will also be working a booth for the Dig. If you’re in the area, please stop by and let us know how we can provide more of the coverage that you want to see.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.