Spark the Conversation is a national nonprofit education and awareness campaign that is aiming to change the social stigma of cannabis and its consumers—a subject that we are very passionate about here at DOPE. But what makes Spark unique is the way it goes about its mission. Spark won’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Instead, Spark’s goal is to inform and educate you to make your own decisions. In fact, that’s the campaign’s entire goal, to promote personal freedom.
To get a better idea about how Spark the Conversation works, we interviewed Bianca Green, the founder of SparktheConversation.org and one of the most recognized executives in cannabis media. Bianca is an advocate, entrepreneur and the Executive Producer of the documentary, The Culture High. She started Spark the Conversation in 2014, after being in the center of cannabis media for almost 12 years. She felt that it was time to start having real conversations about cannabis—out from behind closed doors—and created Spark to be the platform, voice and community leader in advocacy.
Spark California Bus Tour
Each year, Spark the Conversation heads out on a bus tour around California to talk to leaders, participants and users in the industry. This year, the tour kicked off with a private event hosted by Jacquie Aiche in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, October 19. The bus will then travel the length of California, ending with an election viewing party in San Francisco on November 8.
As for what the tour is about, “This year, we really wanted to be mindful that there’s a divide between a lot of the industry on the legalization of cannabis—particularly Prop 64,” Bianca shared. “Our goal is to allow people to have a voice in the conversation—right, wrong or indifferent—because, to us, the catalyst for change is having conversations with thought leaders in the industry. We’re trying to create an awareness that we exist, that cannabis issues exist and that we need to have conversations about cannabis on a regular basis.”
The tour will begin with a #HighMyNameIs video alongside a social media campaign encouraging any and all participants to share their thoughts on personal freedom, the drug war, civil liberties, non-violent imprisonment, legalization and social injustice. Also, throughout the tour, Spark will be doing podcasts for Ganjapreneur, recording videos and gathering stories for their website.
“We’re setting out to change the social stigma around cannabis and those who use it by going straight to the source and asking the question, ‘What does personal freedom mean to you?’” Bianca explained. “The tour is an opportunity to create a social experience where people are being mindful about what freedom means to them.” And if you live in California, there’s sure to be a tour stop near you.
“First, we toured Northern California, starting with the farmers,” Bianca said. “Then, we moved down to dispensaries in the Berkeley and Oakland areas. And now, we’re headed down to Los Angeles to talk to dispensary owners and to engage with students at UCLA. Finally, we’ll head back up to San Francisco to engage with colleges and to participate in the DOPE Magazine Election Viewing Party held at SPARCsf.”
Humboldt’s Finest (HF), an alliance of three heritage cannabis farms in Humboldt County, is the official title sponsor of the bus tour. Other sponsors include C3 Farms, Coast to Coast, Ganjapreneur, Emerald Family Farms, Cannibal City, Frontera Group, Salar Group, Evoxe Laboratories, Jetty Extracts, with media partnerships with DOPE Magazine, Civilized and MassRoots. Tour support includes the University of California Hastings College of the Law, Harvest, Spare, UCLA, Bud & Roses, CCIA, BPG, Drug Policy Alliance and SSDP.
To find all the tour stops and dates, visit the California Bus Tour Page.
How to Spark the Conversation
There are plenty of opportunities if you want to get involved in Spark the Conversation. In fact, Spark only works with your involvement. “We’re about unity!” Bianca concluded. “We invited everyone to collaborate. Spark the Conversation is a safe and trusted place to have a discussion.”
There are three things, in particular, that you can do:
- Get Online: The easiest way to participate is to go online and start talking. Post a photo or video that represents what personal freedom means to you and use the hashtags #sparktheconversation #highmynameis #bethechange and #itsajointeffort.
- Donate: $.70 of every dollar you donate to Spark goes back into the community. Your donation will be used to create awareness, raise money for research and advocate ending the drug war while creating safe access for patients. Donate now!
- Attend: Come out and meet Spark at any of their bus tour stops. And, if you can, head out to Sparcsf on November 8 from 3:00p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to participate in the Election Viewing Party with DOPE and Spark!
Also published on Medium.