It started at the best of times in what was then one of the worst states for cannabis legalization. The exuberance of the chase to get Florida’s Amendment 2 on the ballot in 2014 and the confirmation of the polls of more than 70 percent support. Then the epoch of disbelief, as Amendment #2 failed to get the much needed 60 percent of the vote, left medical cannabis activists Kathleen Isoldi and Candice A. Marschke incredulous.
Having met many people during the campaign to get 2 on the ballot who wanted to legalize medicinal use of cannabis and many more who needed it to live day-by-day, they began to meet monthly with likeminded people to talk about all things cannabis. During one of those meetings, they were introduced to an up-and-coming cannabis networking organization called Women Grow.
As founders of the South Florida Chapter of Women Grow, Marschke and Isoldi aspire to connect to people in the current industry in legal states, people desirous to start new businesses as well as many more who hungered for the knowledge and information about this amazing plant. SOFL Women Grow’s passion to create opportunities for people to come together to heal and help others became more than a monthly calling – it became a lifelong mission to connect, educate and inspire each other around this plant.
Marschke and Isoldi wanted to do something decidedly different and unique to the SOFL way of life: they wanted to create a “Bhang” in the cannabis networking space. So in 2016, they started Bhang Travel Inc., an events agency dedicated to creating events in amazing destinations with experts in their field to educate, connect, inspire and celebrate all things cannabis.
And Florida now has the advantage of being an industry leader in the conversation around cannabis, after state voters overwhelmingly supported the ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana last week.
Bhang Travel hosts first-ever cannabis cruise
On April 22-29, 2017, Bhang Travel will host its first annual Bhang Caribbean Cruise, featuring experts and professionals across the spectrum of the cannabis business.
The seven-day cruise will include many of the standard features of a cannabis conference. There will be workshops and seminars that include cultivators, dispensary owners, and healthcare professionals. There will be cocktail mixers where cannabis professionals and people interested in the industry can get to know each other better. There will also be a trade show where high-end cannabis companies can educate people about their products and services, and an excursion in Jamaica to Bob Marley’s birthplace.
Marschke and Isoldi, as chairs of SOFL Women Grow, want to make sure people enjoy themselves at the same time, which makes the cruise ship a particularly attractive venue. There will be many amenities aboard, such as a casino, movies and live theatres, a bowling alley, pools, rock climbing, childcare facilities and much more.
“We love the idea of bringing people together on board ships that are their own destinations in themselves, as we sail to some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. We want to make sure that all Bhang Travel Events are inclusive of all people from all walks of life, our events are priced so that everyone can afford to attend and interact with excellent practitioners in the industry while having a life-changing experience," says Marschke.
It’s also a more enjoyable experience for adults, who may tire of the typical, all-work no-play conference.
"It will be fun, not all just seminars and workshops," says Isoldi. "You won't fall asleep with one speaker after another. It's a different spin on a normal convention. If someone listens to one of our medical professionals speak, gets the opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation and leaves empowered to seek out medical advice for themselves or their loved ones, we will consider the whole thing a huge Bhang!” says Isoldi.
The theme for the first cruise is "Freedom!" with countries like Jamaica and the U.S. moving toward liberalized laws to legalize cannabis.
This will be the inaugural trip, with more to come as the idea catches on, which Marschke expects will be the case.
"It offers them something new, something to return to again and again," she says. "It's something unique to offer to a community that has similar values and interests while educating them about the many benefits of cannabis. Look for continuing education credits coming in the future as well. This is just the beginning of an amazing opportunity to be a part of something that is life-changing, and maybe for some, lifesaving!”
Civilized is a sponsor of the Bhang Caribbean Cruise. If you’re interested in setting sail on the first-ever cruise of its kind, buy your tickets now because they are sure to sell out early.
Banner photo: The Bhang Caribbean Cruise will be on a ship from the MSC fleet. This is the MSC Poesia, anchored in Port Everglades, Florida. (Ruth Peterkin/Shutterstock)