MMJ America Founder Launches Hemp and CBD Company

A new hemp and CBD company has hit Colorado retail outlets, and the founder has a familiar name to Colorado marijuana. Jake Salazar, the founder of Denver dispensary chain MMJ America, has moved on to launch Solari Hemp, a line of hemp and CBD gummies, lotions, gel capsules, tinctures and more.

Solari co-founders Salazar, Colin Gallagher and Myorr Janha spent over a year planning their new company, from designing the product lines to having the right genetics in place for a successful hemp crop.

“We founded the company on the vertical integration model,” Gallagher says. “We wanted to create a company with real partnerships, so our farmers are our equity partners, and we have strategic partners in different parts of the company.”

Through a vertical integration model, Solari Hemp has partnered with fourth-generation farmers who are currently manufacturing products from hemp grown over 150 acres of farmland in Eaton and Longmont. The company has control over every production step from seed to shelf, including cultivation, extraction and manufacturing. Solari will also sell wholesale industrial hemp to other infused-product manufacturers, as well as white label for other brands.

MMJ America Founder Launches Hemp and CBD Company

Courtesy of Solari Hemp

“It’s the most efficient and cost-effective way to produce a quality product and offer it to consumers at an affordable price,” explains Salazar.

The founder and former CEO of MMJ America, one of the first medical and recreational dispensary chains in Denver, says he sold his share of the company and left a little over two years ago. According to Salazar, there is greater opportunity in the hemp industry.

Marijuana Deals Near You

“I wanted to get away from the traditional marijuana industry and dive into something more cutting-edge,” he says. “Hemp is this gateway to clinical studies, and has different types of cannabinoids that can help people that aren’t as prominent in the marijuana industry.”

Legal approval from the feds and easier state regulations than legal pot has doesn’t hurt, either. Unlike state-licensed marijuana businesses such as MMJ America, Solari Hemp can sell its products online and even ship them across state lines. And by focusing on familiar wellness items like lotion and gel capsules, the brand believes it can reach even more consumers.

“People use vitamins or supplements on a daily basis,” Gallagher says. “We wanted to create a line of products that people would feel comfortable with and have at least some prior experience with. The goal was to gear the brand to cater to everyone and anyone trying to better themselves.”

Solari products are now sold online and at health and wellness, pharmacy, convenience, tobacco and grocery stores across the country, according to the company.

Toke of the Town

Incredibles Founder Bob Eschino on Future of Edibles and Infused Products

Founded in 2010, Incredibles made a name for itself with its popular cannabis chocolate bars. But the infused-products brand has expanded its line to include live resin, tinctures, bath salts and suppositories, and it’s even entered the emerging legal markets in California, Illinois, Nevada and Oregon.

To learn more about the edibles trade and what’s next for infused products, Westword spoke with Incredibles founder Bob Eschino about what’s been going on in the kitchen.

Bob Eschino: I used to own a packaging and distribution house in Denver. Rick Scarpello, my partner, used to be a customer. We were always talking about ideas for side businesses, and most of them were about food. But nine or ten years ago, my brother became the medical caretaker for my grandmother. She was 89, had a lot of pain, couldn’t sleep, had a loss of appetite and had arthritis, and my brother made infused cookies and topicals for her. That was the first time I saw cannabis as medicine.

Rick and I were talking about side businesses again, and that was when HB 1284, Colorado legislation that set up a regulatory framework for medical marijuana businesses, was coming [in 2010]. When I brought up making edibles in Rick’s kitchen, he said no at first, but then he met my grandmother. Once he saw what I saw, he was in.

From a business standpoint, people didn’t like edibles nine years ago because they were so inconsistent. No one could get an accurate dose on a edible, but that was Rick’s specialty. For us, it came down to testing, accurate products, demarcation — all the things that are required today kind of came from us pushing the envelope years ago. Things like testing the cannabis oil or activating the THC: That’s what people are looking for now.

We honestly we thought we’d make a couple hundred edibles a week. Years later, we’re selling a couple hundred thousand units per month in Colorado.

Incredibles is well known for its candy bars and sweets, but what are some other parts of the industry in which you’re participating or emerging?

The Wellness line we came out with about eight or ten months ago, those are items — bath salts, tinctures and suppositories — that had already been around for a while, but they’re things that one of our partners used to help save his life years ago. A surgery had him on opiates, painkillers and all these prescriptions; doctors said he’d never get out of a wheelchair again. They ended up being wrong.

Bath salts, suppositories, tinctures — those were always a part of the company, but we just didn’t have enough [plant material] to supply their production. Once there was more trim on the market, we could start taking some of those plants off the shelf and begin making products.

We started the extracts lines a couple of years ago with premium vape products and live resin. We also started a closed-loop-system business that provides the [extraction] technology to other companies. We ended up having to build our machine back then because none of the traditional [equipment] manufacturers were concerned with cannabis extraction — they thought it was just a Colorado rule. So we became the second approved business to make these closed-loop systems, and we’ve sold over 100 so far.

Incredibles founder Bob Eschino.

Incredibles founder Bob Eschino.

Courtesy of Incredibles

There’s a lot of chatter about advancements in vaporizing, concentrates, nasal sprays, sublinguals and other infused products. What are the next big steps for edibles? What are some cool innovations that are on the way or taking place right now?

We just bought a new chocolate machine, so we’ll be coming out with some single-serve products soon. It’ll be more of a premium line, with chocolates that are filled with caramel or marshmallow. One of the things we’re focusing on with these new products is making the effect more specific. Everyone wants an indica or sativa, daytime or nighttime designations, maybe some giggly effects — stuff like that.

We didn’t know if we wanted to do that for our established candy bars, but some of these new products will be indica or sativa and have added probiotics or other additives like nutraceuticals. But we have to watch that, because our regulators’ first responses are to already say no to something new. The hoops to jump through to add some of these additives into products is just unreasonable. We need to find out what we’re allowed to even add into these before we start thinking about recipes, strains and things like that.

Incredibles is available in several other states and Canada. How do Colorado’s cannabis market and consumer habits compare to those of states like Oregon and Washington — or newer states to come online, like Nevada?

I think Colorado is the breakdown of where every other state will end up. I think we’re the most robust market, next to Washington, but I think Colorado’s is even further along. We’re seeing more of those products and trends drift into other states now, too.

A lot of that comes down to the manufacturers and people that were there. It took a while for people in Colorado to trust edibles. I think that was key to our earlier success: Everyone’s tolerance is different, but once you figure out your optimal level, they’ll keep coming back. As that starts happening in other states, we’ll see that happen more.

Oregon’s one of those states where people don’t trust edibles, but that’s starting to change. They’re becoming more consistent out there. A lot of that is due to the black market: Consumers out there are so used to cheaper ways [to ingest], with no testing or dosages.

The East Coast is also moving toward commercial pot. Do those markets differ much from western states?

The emergence of our Wellness line was also kind of our East Coast line. States on the East Coast were banning hydrocarbon extraction processes and banning edibles, but we still wanted to serve that market and get out there.

Having those limitations on the East Coast and not having any products that were proven, that kind of prompted us to get everything forward into that market. We were already doing a really good line of tinctures for some patients, and their response to that helped propel us forward.

When you’re banning some of these products, you’re going to end up getting the results you want to avoid in the first place. If consumers don’t have access to these vape pens, tinctures or edibles, that is when you force [them] to make these products at home.

Toke of the Town

LA Animation Fest to Honor Titmouse Founder Chris Prynoski

Chris Prynoski

Chris Prynoski

The Los Angeles Animation Festival has announced that its 2018 honoree will be Chris Prynoski, the artist, animator, director, president and co-founder (with Shannon Prynoski) of Emmy-winning animation studio Titmouse. The studio produces original and licensed content, including TV series, commercials, VR experiences, digital content, music videos and feature projects.

“We selected Chris P. as this year’s honoree for his talent and work across the company’s three studios, based in Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver. Titmouse’s operations have helped keep the spirit of independent animation both alive and growing,” said John Andrews, LAAF co-founder.

Co-founder Miles Flanagan added, “Having Chris P as LAAF’s first honoree in our new venue, The Mayflower Club in North Hollywood, is just exactly the right fit for the time and place.”

Chris Prynoski, began his animation career in New York in the 1990s, working for MTV on Beavis and Butt-Head, Daria and his Emmy-nominated creation MTV’s Downtown. Chris and Shannon Prynoski launched Titmouse in Los Angeles in 2000. Prynoski has since brought to life a string of hits, including the feature film Nerdland (2016, directed by Prynoski) and the series Metalocalypse, China IL, Black Dynamite, Superjail! and The Venture Bros. for Adult Swim; Turbo FAST and Big Mouth (Netflix); Megas XLR (Cartoon Network), Niko and the Sword of Light (Amazon) and his original creation Motorcity for Disney XD. A special festival program will review career highlights and showcase future plans.

In a written statement, Prynoski said: “It’s an honor to be recognized for being a leader in independent animation! Usually I’m recognized for wearing a dumb bucket hat. The LAAF festival is always great and full of amazing films and incredible talent. I guess I didn’t have to say festival at the end of LAAF because that’s what the ‘F’ stands for. I can’t wait to be a part of it!”

LAAF debuted in 2007 at the Silent Movie Theater, featuring guests Teddy Newton and Sean Lennon. In 2010 it honored Will Vinton, unspooled an array of international features and presented the debut live performance-to-picture of Alan Goraguer’s Fantastic Planet score by the band Jesus Makes the Shotgun Sound. In 2012, the festival moved to the much larger Regent Showcase Theater in Hollywood with guests including Aeon Flux creator Peter Chung, director Brad Bird — part of the Iron Giant cast & crew reunion — honoree Bill Plympton and emcee Tom Kenny, as well as a retrospective of MTV’s Liquid Television and a Japanese animation showcase curated by Sean Lennon.

LAAF will run from November 30-December 2 in North Hollywood. Submissions for competition entries are open now via FilmFreeway.

Chris Prynoski

Chris Prynoski

Animation Magazine

Daily News Bytes: Remembering Bhimsain, Phosphene Founder Talks Women in VFX, A Nickelodeon Tour & More


Ace Animator and Filmmaker Bhimsain Dies at 81
Indian animation legend Bhimsain Khurana made his debut in 1970 with The Climb, which won the Silver Hugo at the Chicago Int’l Film Fest. He won a National Film Award for children’s classic Ek Anek Aur Ekta (1974), and went on to direct live-action features as well as TV series, including the nation’s first CG-animated show Lok Gatha (1992), which earned an additional three National Film Awards.

Founder of VFX Studio Phosphene Vivian Connolly on How She’s Diversifying a Male-Dominated Industry
“I’ve certainly been in a situation where it’s been all men on the floor of [VFX] artists, and the vibe is different. I don’t think it’s as successful as when there’s a balance across gender, and not just across gender but racially and gender identity and all sexual orientation. All of it,” says Connolly, whose studio has delivered VFX for The Greatest Showman, HBO’s Fahrenheit 451 and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

A New York Employee’s Walk through the Wondrous World of Nickelodeon Animation in Burbank
Viacom’s Lisa Di Venuta explores the hallowed halls at Olive Avenue, which received a modern and eye-catching makeover in early 2017, guided by Nickelodeon’s Culture and Digital Community team.

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Animago Awards 2018
Submissions are now open for the illustrious Munich event, with a total of 12 categories representing CGI disciplines, including new Best VR/AR/360 and Best Feature Film awards. These join Young Production, Still, Visual Effects, Short Film, Character, Game Cinematic, Motion Design, Advertising Production, Visualization and Jury’s Prize. The animago Award & Conference is set for Oct. 25-26. Deadline: June 30, 2018.

’Mutafukaz’ Fest Heads to Lille
Ankama’s riotous adult animated feature takes over the Aéronef and the Cinema Majestic in Lille for a full weekend of fan fun, April 21-22. Highlights of the program include an expo with cast and crew guests, masterclass, art exhibit and merch shop — plus a concert featuring The Toxic Avenger! Mutafukaz opens in theaters in France on May 22.

Animation – Why It Still Matters
Emma Kiely for the University Observer takes a big-picture view of the artform’s impact, from the blockbusters of Disney-Pixar to the feature masterpieces of Cartoon Saloon, classic Looney Tunes slapstick to the political barbs of modern adult animation, and beyond.

Bhimsain Khurana. Photo credit: Scroll staff

Bhimsain Khurana. Photo credit: Scroll staff



Animation Magazine

Blue Moon Founder Wants to Create THC-Infused Craft Beer

Keith Villa was working at Coors Brewing in 1995 when he created an unfiltered, Belgian-style beer that became the inspiration for the Blue Moon Brewing Company, which got its start as a special division in Golden and soon spread to locations at Coors Field and then RiNo. When the brewmaster retired from what’s now MolsonCoors early this year, he hinted that he had a plan to create a new beverage with “cutting-edge” ingredients.

And now we know what those are: Villa and his wife, Jodi, have partnered with an established Colorado cannabis extraction lab to start Ceria Beverages, a new line of THC-infused drinks with the “same onset time as alcohol,” according to a press release announcing the company’s launch.

Using technology from its partnership with Ebbu, an extraction lab known for its water-infusing technologies, Villa promises that his new drink will be “brewed just like an alcoholic craft beer” in order to maintain a beer taste and aroma, but any alcohol will be removed before the liquid is infused with THC. In Colorado, it’s illegal for any brewery or licensed cannabis infused-product manufacturer to make a beverage with both alcohol and THC.

“I’m ready to introduce another high-impact brand to the industry again, this time with a new line of custom cannabis-infused craft beers,” Villa says in the announcement. “Today, the opportunity and the demand are here, inviting Americans to enjoy a more social way of consuming cannabis — by drinking rather than by smoking it or through ingestion of edibles.”

New Belgium Brewing and Dads & Dudes Breweria have both made headlines in the past with their CBD-infused and hemp-infused brews, but Ceria maintains that this creation is unique because it will be the first drink to be brewed like a beer without losing the THC. And with terpenes — plant compounds that affect the smell, taste and way your body reacts to THC — also heavily present in hops, the possibilities of mixing the two are exciting.

“We have always loved what Keith stands for — great-tasting mainstream beers that really kickstarted the entire craft beer movement,” Ebbu CEO Jon Cooper says in the announcement. “We are honored and thrilled to partner with Keith, Jodi and CERIA to bring this groundbreaking new product to cannabis consumers in legalized states.”

The Villas named Ceria after the university campus in Brussels, Belgium, where Keith received a doctorate in brewing science. Naturally, Keith will be the brewmaster for the company, while Jodi will serve as CEO. The drinks will only be sold in cannabis dispensaries, not breweries. There’s no solid distribution date yet; a spokeswoman for Ceria says she expects them to be on store shelves “later this year.”

Toke of the Town

Pornhub Founder Invests Big in German Cannabis Startup

“Porn King” Fabian Thylmann, the founder of numerous adult websites, is financially backing a German cannabis startup founded in 2017. Initially, Thylmann invested a six-figure sum, but by the end of 2017, his investment company SN Invest poured at least a million into the Cologne-based Cannamedical, company CEO David Henn told In November 2016, […]

MPP Founder Rob Kampia Transitioning to New Role

As MPP’s role in national and state marijuana policy reform efforts continues to grow and evolve, our leadership structure must also evolve. As such, MPP founder Rob Kampia is stepping down as executive director and will be assuming a new role in the organization.

We would like to thank Rob for his leadership and his continued work to end marijuana prohibition. Rob released the following statement:

I am excited to announce that I will be transitioning to the new position of director of strategic development with the Marijuana Policy Project.

Matthew Schweich, who joined MPP as the director of state campaigns in early 2015, will serve as interim executive director as the organization searches for a permanent executive director.

Back in 1993, I moved to D.C. three days after graduating from Penn State for the sole purpose of legalizing marijuana. Fully 19 years later, in 2012, MPP stunned the world by legalizing marijuana in Colorado, and in the four years since then, MPP legalized marijuana in four more states, being responsible overall for five of the eight states’ legalization laws.

When I co-founded MPP in 1995, medical marijuana was illegal in all 50 states, and it had been a decade since a good marijuana bill was even pending in Congress. Since 1995, MPP has passed half of the 29 states’ medical marijuana laws, and MPP was the lead organization that successfully lobbied Congress in 2014 to block the Justice Department from interfering with those state laws, and that amendment from Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is still the law nationwide.

I’m looking forward to spending more time on Capitol Hill to help craft and pass the best possible legalization law nationally. I also want to focus on legalizing marijuana in three of the 10 most populous states – Texas, New York, and Michigan.

Just yesterday, our Michigan campaign submitted a sufficient number of signatures to that state government, virtually guaranteeing that Michigan will be the only state to vote in November 2018 on a statewide ballot measure to legalize marijuana.

I’m honored to have served as executive director, I’m excited the board chose the person I nominated to serve as interim executive director, and I’m energized to help identify a new executive director to finish the job of ending marijuana prohibition in the U.S.

The post MPP Founder Rob Kampia Transitioning to New Role appeared first on MPP Blog.

MPP Blog

Sketch Blue Founder Michelle Esrig Joins WBTV Boca Board


Michelle Esrig, President and Founder of motion graphics and animation house Sketch Blue Studio in Delray Beach, Florida, has been tapped to sit on the Board of Advisors for Boca Raton local broadcast affiliate, WBTV Boca. The Board governs the overall execution of WBTV Boca’s mission in selecting members who are local leaders, who can positively impact the lives of residents.

Esrig will serve on the programming committee as well as serving as the network’s Creative Director, and Sketch Blue Studio will function as the network’s production team. WBTV Boca is scheduled to launch January 2, broadcasting local, original, and syndicated programming.

“I’m truly looking forward to working with WBTV Boca,” said Esrig. “The initiatives I see already in progress make me especially excited to work creatively with a group that wants to bring the local community together and highlight the wonderful things Boca Raton has to offer.”

Sketch Blue Studio is a recently launched premiere studio in South Florida for high-quality motion graphics and animation at an affordable price point. Esrig leads a team of artists creating cutting-edge content for clients in a variety of industries, including advertising, PR and marketing; automotive; consumer products; and hospitality.



Animation Magazine

Animae Caribe Founder Camille Selvon-Abrahams to Sue University over Firing

Camille Selvon-Abrahams

Camille Selvon-Abrahams

According to a report by the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian, local animation pioneer Camille Selvon-Abrahams plans to file suit against her former employer, the University of Trinidad & Tobago, for wrongful dismissal. Last Friday, Selvon-Abrahams was fired from her lecturer position apparently without warning and escorted off campus by security.

Salvon-Abrahams told the Guardian that she is consulting with attorneys and union representatives about her options.

“This came to me like something in the night, it has never happened. There was never a verbal warning, there is nothing I could say to you officially that would explain why this happened,” she said.

Salvon-Abrahams is an animator with 15 years of experience, and head of FilmTT (Trinidad & Tobago Film Company). She has been instrumental in bolstering the local animation and film industry, having started the country’s first higher education animation program and founding the Animae Caribe Animation Festival (taking place October 26 – November 1 this year).

It is suspected that Salvon-Abrahams was removed from her post to make room for another applicant to the department head position, with the ousted lecturer saying that she had been told by university management they would require someone with a PhD for the position.

The University of Trinidad & Tobago

The University of Trinidad & Tobago

Animation Magazine

Florida medical marijuana opponents include “Just Say No” founder who thinks pot leads to AIDS


Now that the Florida Supreme Court has approved to have a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana on the ballot this November, the group responsible for getting it there, United for Care, is all about getting the word out.

This week alone, the group has a daylong campaign scheduled to call registered voters and get the word out about Amendment 2.

Also on the docket will be United for Care’s campaign manager, Ben Pollara, going head-to-head in a debate with former Ronald Reagan drug czar Carlton E. Turner.

Turner is famous for coming up with the “Just Say No” campaign that bombarded radio, TV, and comic books back in the 1980s, warning kids of the dangers of drugs. He’s also known for claiming that marijuana is not only a gateway drug to other illegal substances but apparently also the gateway drug to AIDS.

“Marijuana leads to homosexuality, the breakdown of the immune system, and ultimately, AIDS,” Turner famously said in 1986.

Read more over at the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.

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Toke of the Town

Eidos Montreal founder leaves over ‘lack of leadership’ from Square Enix

The founder and general manager of Eidos Montreal has departed from the studio, citing irreconcilable differences with Square Enix Europe’s management. Stephane D’Astous gave a statement to Polygon explaining his departure.

“Since last year’s financial short-coming performance of Square Enix Europe, we (HQ London and GM Eidos Montreal) have had growing and divergent opinions on what needed to be done to correct the situation,” D’Astous said. “The lack of leadership, lack of courage and the lack of communication were so evident, that I wasn’t able to conduct my job correctly. I realized that our differences were irreconcilable, and that the best decision was unfortunately to part ways.”

Square Enix reorganized much of its Western leadership last month. Former Deus Ex: Human Revolution executive producer David Anfossi will succeed D’Astous as GM of Eidos Montreal, which is currently working on Thief.

D’Astous founded the studio in 2007 as part of Eidos Interactive. Eidos’ operations were acquired by Square Enix in April 2009 and folded into its nascent Square Enix Europe group.

GamesRadar – Xbox News

White suit of KFC founder Colonel Sanders to be sold at auction

NEW YORK | Fri Jun 7, 2013 3:29pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A double-breasted white suit and bow tie worn by KFC founder Colonel Harlan Sanders and a signed portrait of the fast food pioneer will be featured at an Americana sale this month, Heritage Auctions said on Friday.

The trademark suit, portrait and photographs are expected to sell for $ 10,000 or more at the June 22 auction in Dallas.

“It’s impossible to think of Colonel Sanders, or KFC, without thinking of this white suit,” Kathleen Guzman, the managing director of Heritage Auctions, said in a statement.

“To this day, 33 years after his death, the Colonel is just as popular and recognizable as ever.”

Mike Morris, manager of a hotel near Cincinnati, Ohio, is selling the suit, portrait and photographs of the colonel, who was a friend of his family’s. Sanders gave him the suit after Morris, as a teenager, borrowed it to wear to a Halloween party.

A gun belt worn by American outlaw Jesses James, one of two he owned when he died in 1882, is expected to be another top item, along with a violin once owned by gunslinger Jim Younger, a member of the James-Younger gang.

Both items have pre-sale estimates of $ 10,000.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Vicki Allen)

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Katalyst Leads the Way in ‘Creative Social Programming’ Market and Appoints BUZZmedia Founder Anthony Batt as President Katalyst Continues to Bridge Media, Hollywood and Technology

of social media, as the company’s president. Katalyst is Hollywood’s most innovative studio, creating programming for television, film and the social web. As the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of BUZZmedia, Batt is well-known as a pioneer in marrying
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