As states across the country begin the process of decriminalizing cannabis, it is clear that cannabis culture is here to stay in the United States. While the opening of Downtown Binghamton’s Just Breathe was a sign of the times as New York state was beginning its own legal cannabis sales, so is the monthly Finger Lakes CannaMarket that takes place in Binghamton.
The Finger Lakes CannaMarket is comprised of pop-up markets that have taken place throughout the Finger Lakes region of New York state, with CannaMarket events occurring regularly in Ithaca and Binghamton. Its intention is to create a healthy and safe event to showcase local cannabis businesses and celebrate the growing cannabis community.
The CannaMarket hosted at the Polish Cultural Center this weekend shows how post-legalization cannabis culture began in New York state. Despite the small size of the event space, it can be easy for the average smoker to become overwhelmed. With around 30 different vendors, CannaMarket offers everything a weed enthusiast can imagine and more.
Out of the woodwork of upstate New York, artisans of all kinds have applied their craft to marijuana and put it forth on display. This ranges from handcrafted pipes and bongs to homemade cannabis infusions of all kinds — even including actual cannabis growing and cultivating. Whether you smoke it, eat it, drink it, vape it, grow it, buy it or sell it, there is something here for everyone.
Kenneth McLaurin, one of the CannaMarket organizers, shared his thoughts on the event.
“The way we see it, if you can have wine festivals to celebrate and learn more about wine, cannabis enthusiasts should also have a space to come together and talk about the intricacies of cannabis,” McLaurin said. “People are still approaching cannabis in a traditional way. Cannabis is legal, coming together to have a positive cannabis experience is legal.”
Those attending should try and pace themselves as they walk past the tables. Some vendors will have tables with literal pounds of marijuana in plastic bags open for you to look at, accompanied by labels telling you the strain — whether it’s a sativa or indica — and THC percentage. Don’t be afraid to ask for a sniff of “Cheetah Piss.” The vendors you find here will be overwhelmingly nice. While of course, the vendors are trying to sell their products, they also want to share this passion of theirs with you.
One of the most notable tables was the Cannananas General Score, offering homemade Rice Krispies, red velvet cookies and chocolate chip cookies. Besides offering a small sample of their baked goods, the vendor was also open to talking about the process by which she made them. Like most vendors at the CannaMarket, most weed found here is grown locally, so quality and safety are assured.
The people at the CannaMarket aren’t only open about their weed, they are open about anything in the cannabis community. Not sure how to use resin? One vendor will walk you step by step on what is their preferred way to smoke it. Never smoked a bong before? Another will tell you what the hole at the side is for. With so much cannabis, there is no room for gatekeeping.
This isn’t to say that CannaMarket is some bacchanalian festival of druggy delight. It is truly the first growth of the open cannabis community here in Binghamton.
“CannaMarket is about making a community with people who usually are more likely to be isolated because of past stigma,” McLaurin said. “What we see here as a result of cannabis culture is generational, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. Everyone enjoys cannabis.”