2016: Thank You for Believing

NCF Team Retreat, August, 2016. From left to right: Erik, Kalacey, Vanessa, Greg, Caroline (holding t-shirt), Nar, Erick, Laila, Nesha, Suey and Mouse (very front).

Hi Friends,

My name is Caroline and I'm one of the founders of National Cannabis Festival (NCF). I wanted to write a more personal letter to close out 2016 and share a little bit more about the journey that brought our team and our NCF community to today.

First, on behalf of the whole NCF team, I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming on this journey with us. If you are receiving this newsletter, there's a good chance you were among the 5,000 attendees that believed in our vision and supported NCF in year one. Without your support, NCF would not have happened.

Not many people know this, but NCF was founded in a one bedroom condo next to the Stadium Armory Metro Station. What started as conversations between friends active in cannabis industry and advocacy in Spring 2015, turned into something much larger by that Fall when we secured the Festival Grounds at RFK Stadium as the site for the inaugural National Cannabis Festival. By November 2015, NCF was starting to feel real. I left my full-time job to spend all day every day on NCF and my teammates would return from their 9 to 5 jobs and spend nights and weekends working to make NCF a reality. Investments were made in festival infrastructure, outreach started to supporters, and in January our Indiegogo campaign went live.

"Would the city work with us to make this event a success? How would MPD respond? Would our patrons be responsible? How would the surrounding community be impacted by the event? What about the 'gray area' in DC laws?"

Despite the fact that the wheels were in motion, we were all still pretty nervous: Would the city work with us to make this event a success? How would MPD respond? Would our patrons be responsible? How would the surrounding community be impacted by the event? What about the "gray area" in DC laws?

It was our Indiegogo campaign that gave us the strength and encouragement to keep moving forward. At first, contributions trickled in. Progress was slow and there were some days when our goal seemed unattainable. It was a major set-back that turned things around for us and showed us that the community was ready for this festival.

Not long after our Indiegogo campaign launched, Facebook and Instagram started sending us warnings banning us from buying ads on their sites. They accused us of promoting illegal activity - which was kind of funny since NCF is all about celebrating progress on cannabis legalization and talking about how we can push for better laws.

Very quickly, all of our ads came down and an email threatening to shut down our pages if we were to submit more ads arrived soon after. Without the online ads we had no way to get out word about our Indiegogo campaign and our path to a successful NCF seemed much longer. As the gravity of the situation settled in, I found myself writing a post on a local cannabis community Facebook page about our struggles - and that's when the MAGIC happened. Suddenly, the Indiegogo page was on fire. People were sharing our campaign with their friends and networks. They were filling in the deficit left when we were banned from placing ads. The cannabis community had our back!

You can see our original Indiegogo video here.

I could go on for a few more pages telling you about the adventures we experienced making the first National Cannabis Festival a reality, but instead, I want to let you know what we - our community and supporters - accomplished together on April 23, 2016:

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More than numbers, we are proud to report that there were no police incidents and no incidents of violence at NCF. Our diverse and caring community defied the stereotypes incorrectly associated with cannabis users and we couldn't be more proud!

As we move towards the 2nd annual National Cannabis Festival, I want to again thank you all for being part of our journey.

"We provide the venue and performers, but it's you our community members, that create the good vibes and atmosphere, and for that we cannot thank you enough."

We provide the venue and performers, but it's you our community members, that create the good vibes and atmosphere, and for that we cannot thank you enough.

From our family to yours, we hope you've had a wonderful holiday season and we wish you the best going into the new year!

See you on #420two :)
Cheers!
Caroline