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Oakland to host nation’s 1st marijuana street fair

September 5, 2011

Oakland to host nation’s 1st marijuana street fair

Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, September 2, 2011

Oakland — Oakland has stayed at the forefront of the cannabis legalization movement, with advocates and city government working hand in hand for more than 15 years.

Now, folks will finally get the chance to light up outside City Hall. Legally, that is.

A cannabis street fair touted as the first in the nation is set for this weekend, featuring speakers, music, booths and vendors. But perhaps the most unusual attraction will be the “215 area,” a designated spot directly in front of City Hall where those with a valid medical cannabis card will be able to ingest, smoke or vaporize their pot. There will be devices to help folks make their own hash, a marijuana derivative. The open-air lounge, so to speak, is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

The “215” in the name is a reference to Proposition 215, the 1996 state ballot measure that legalized personal use of medical marijuana.

“Patients need to take their medicine when they need to,” said Kim Cue, a Berkeley resident who is chief executive of the International Cannabis & Hemp Expo, which starts Saturday at noon. “Being a patient myself, that’s something that’s mandatory.”

In the years since voters approved Prop. 215, Oakland has increasingly found itself at the forefront of a fight to test the limits of the law. The city is believed by Oakland’s elected officials and cannabis activists to be the first in the nation to license dispensaries. A battle with the federal government involving an early cannabis-buying cooperative in Oakland went to the Supreme Court in 2001 – which the dispensary lost. City voters in 2004 passed Measure Z, making possession of small amounts of pot the lowest priority for police. Underground pot clubs have been operating ever since. In 2009, Oakland voters passed a measure to tax and regulate cannabis businesses – the first such tax in the country.

The city also has an array of cannabis-related businesses, particularly in a section of downtown known as Oaksterdam. The city’s pot identity is something the expo’s promoters, as well as locals, want to tout.

“Oakland needs to be the tourist destination for cannabis,” said Salwa Ibrahim, who handles government relations for Oaksterdam University, which trains students for the industry. “We felt like a street fair for the cannabis industry would help solidify that.”

The university alone has some 2,000 students a year, more than half of whom come from out of state. The cannabis expo has been held the past two years at the Cow Palace, but a state moratorium on drug use in state facilities nixed a return, Cue said.

Oakland’s two-day event will close off the area bounded by Broadway, Clay Street, 14th Street and 16th Street, including Frank Ogawa Plaza. Only adults will be allowed inside, and there will be a single point of entry, Ibrahim said. Tickets start at $20. Organizers expect at least 20,000 people.

For Richard Lee, the founder of Oaksterdam University and the owner of one of the city’s four dispensaries, the street fair represents a bit of a milestone.

From a time when marijuana use was on the fringe of society just a decade ago, it’s moved to the mainstream. Politicians no longer fear being associated with it.

“It shows that Oakland sees that cannabis can be taxed and regulated and incorporated into the rest of society,” Lee said. “We’re just one of many battlegrounds in a very big war.”

E-mail Matthai Kuruvila at




Retailer of the Week: The GrowShop AZ

August 15, 2011

Take advantage of our knowledge!
Our professional staff has over 20 years of experience and we are happy to answer any questions you may have about our hydroponics gardening products.

Hydroponics is the easy way to grow
fresh herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers indoors, all year long without the need for soil or natural sunlight. Whether you are a professional hydroponics gardener or indoor gardening hobbyist, The Grow Shop Hydroponics offers over 2,500 unique hydroponics supplies to help you grow bigger, better and more productive plants.

In recent years hydroponics has increased in popularity…and for good reason! Hydroponics allows you to grow plants with little or no pesticide just about anywhere, indoors or out. Hydroponics – which literally means “water working” in latin – is simply growing plants in something other than soil and supplying all of the nutrition the plants need through the nutrient solution. Most growers utilize hydroponics indoors by creating an environment optimal for plant growth. Having the right combination of light, temperature, water, CO2, oxygen, pH and nutrients is essential and The Grow Shop Hydroponics superior selection of hydroponic supplies and grow lights can help you achieve maximum results.
The Grow Shop Hydroponics is your one-stop hydroponic gardening store.
We carry complete hydroponic systems, grow lights, organic fertilizers, organic pesticides, duct fans, ozone generators and much more. We offer a huge inventory of name brands, a low-price guarantee and fast order processing.

If you do not see the hydroponics gardening product you want, please contact us.
We carry many other indoor gardening products in our store that are not listed here. We are distributors for every major manufacturer of hydroponics growing supplies (and most of the lesser-known companies as well.)


Retailer of The Week: CalWest Hydroponics

July 8, 2011

Retailer of the week: Cal West a great shop in Riverside, CA. loaded with product and excellent service. One of the best hydro shops in SoCal…

alt align=left src= Hydroponics is a family owned business, specializing in the world’s finest indoor gardening supplies.  Our aim is to take the indoor gardening industry to a new level by providing our customers with the best products available on the planet today. We have become known for having the best products at affordable prices, with outstanding customer service throughout your entire growing experience. Calwest Hydroponics will continue to distinguish itself by finding the best products on the market and offering them to our customers at the best price possible. If there is a product in our catalog it’s available for the simple fact that it is top notch.

Calwest Hydroponics is built from the ground up by gardeners, for gardeners, andwe only stock products that we know work and have personally tested and use ourselves. We believe in providing our customers  with tried and true products that work and that we can stand behind 100%.

alt align=right src=

Calwest Hydroponics is founded upon customer service. Contact us anytime during regular business hours and one of our experts will help guide you with advice on products or help troubleshoot your problems. We want to ensure that our customers use our products correctly, so if you ever have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to call.

Have fun in the garden!

Ryan Wicks

Sales Manager

Calwest Hydroponics

(951) 351-1880

The CannaBoom!

June 4, 2011

State Rep. Kelly Alexander, D-Mecklenburg, recently introduced a bill (H 577) that would, if passed, allow physicians in North Carolina to recommend medical marijuana to their very sick and debilitated patients, if the physician thinks it is the best course of treatment.

Read More:

Medical Marijuana Approval…

Our CEO is Presenting at the Annual Deal Flow Media Medical Marijuana Conference.

June 4, 2011

Come out and see our CEO Derek Peterson discuss the benefits of “Going Public” to a group of industry leaders in the Medical Cannabis Community….

DealFlow Media

Go GrowOp and You Really Can Grow Tomatoes!

June 3, 2011

Up until now “Big Hydro” (yeah that’s our cute pet-name for the biggest of the hydroponic distributors) have kept a monopolistic thumb on the hydroponics industry, turning it into an elite specialty economically viable only to those growing expensive “produce”.  Their long reign of high priced equipment has literally weeded out many a conventional farmer.  At GrowOp we are aware of the many benefits to indoor agriculture on both a large and small scale.  From eliminating “food miles” to keeping GMO’s off your plate, we hate to see you miss out on a “Growing Opportunity”.  Therefore we’ve made it our mission to make hydroponics affordable for everyone, from the large-scale experts to the at-home novices.

While one could debate over the best method of agriculture for hours you can rest assured that growing your own food is an Eco no-brainer.  Economically and ecologically.  Zero “food miles” – check!  Non-GMO – check!  Not shopping at Whole Paycheck for decent organics – check!  Knowing exactly what your food has experienced from seed to harvest – that deserves way more than a check, I’m going to go with priceless.

Shame on you “Big Hydro” for turning hydroponics into a privilege reserved for wealthy home growers and cannabis farmers (yeah I said it – you got rich selling equipment to the cannabis farmers you pretend don’t exist).  At $1,000 for a single tent set up you would have to grow nearly 400 pounds of tomatoes before you can break even!  That’s a bit much for one tent, even if you do claim your equipment has magical yielding powers.  So say what you will “Big Hydro”, but you aren’t fooling anyone.

At GrowOp we like to consider that we offer our customers a “Growing Opportunity”.  GrowOp makes hydroponics so affordable it offers everyone the opportunity to have a home garden.  Whether you live in a barren desert or on the tip of an iceberg you can grow your own foods and herbs indoors hydroponically (as long as your iceberg gets electricity!).  A hydroponic set up takes some of the natural elements that aren’t plant friendly out of the garden, affording you the opportunity to throw together a fresh salad minutes after harvest…in the dead of winter.

Hydroponics can also be considered a way to Grow Optimally.  Plants aren’t exactly fans of variety.  Think about it, if you’re a stalk of celery variety to you means that one day its sunny and the next the ground can be frozen solid.  This isn’t the optimal environment in which your delicate plants want to thrive.  Hydroponics takes a plant’s unpleasantries out of growing – whether that means bad weather or a swarm of nasty pests that just flew in off your neighbor’s hydrangea.  By taking your garden indoors and controlling its environment your plants get to live an almost utopian existence – sounds like Eden!

At GrowOp we also want you to be able to Grow with Options.  Perhaps you are a “Locavore” who likes to hop into your hybrid to shop the farmers market for some tasty non-GMO foods.  Imagine if you could eliminate the hopping, shopping, and hybrid (as cool as they are they still use fossil fuels!) and all you have to do is step out to your tent set-up in the garage and harvest your own dinner?  It doesn’t get any “Greener” than that.  I assure you your friends and neighbors will be green with envy that you were the first to put a garden in your garage.

So now you know – Big Hydro has been keeping you from fulfilling your destiny – to grow your own produce indoors!  Well its time for all growers to unite – there are more than a few great reasons for you to Go Hydro.  And remember, Go GrowOp and you really can grow tomatoes!



Plant basics

June 2, 2011

Mobile Hydroponic Chamber by Growop

As I grew up in rural western Massachusetts, I watched my father prepare our family garden each year. His “normal” routine went something like this. First, he would shovel wheelbarrows full of manure, wrestle a roto-tiller for the afternoon, set up the sprinkler, make sure the fence was secure against vermin… then… he would start some seeds, transplant, weed every day (or two), all while fighting off snakes, mosquitoes and the heat. And that was weeks before we ever got our first radish! I knew there had to be a better way. The better way, is called… hydroponics.

Even my father has changed his methods of gardening over the past few years based on my experience with this seldom known, often misunderstood method of horticulture called hydroponics. I’ve heard newscasters for years mispronounce the word, everything from hydrophonics (underwater listening), to hydrafaunics (who knows?).

Point is, if more people understood it, the world could be such a better place. (Or at least your world could be.)

I believe my personal background is fairly unique. I’ve studied electrical technology, traveled the USA as a robotics technician and have been working with hydroponics since 1985. My well- rounded experience has helped me create a company that designs environmental controllers and allowed me to invent patented devices.  My goal is to help people out there who want to know once and for all what hydroponics is; and how it can benefit them in their life today. You may want to simply produce your own fresh spices and herbs that are ready to use, clean and fresh. You may have an interest in gardening, but don’t want to deal with the headaches and backaches associated with outdoor gardening. Not that there is anything wrong with outdoor gardening, without it, we wouldn’t have survived as a species. Hydroponics is simply the modern alternative to gardening with soil.

Hydroponics literally means, “Working water”. Hydroponics is far from a recent development in horticulture. Ancient people such as the Babylonians, the Egyptians and the southwest Native Americans all used hydroponics techniques to raise crops.

Before I can get to the details, let me review the subtle but important differences between soil and soil-less gardening.  Hydroponics is basically gardening without soil. Some people would disagree with you if you told them plants do not need soil to grow. They would be wrong. Plants do not need soil to grow. They do need four main things;

Nutrients: Consisting of elements such as Nitrogen, Potassium and Calcium. Provides “food” for the plant.

Light: Sunlight or artificial light from various types of electric lamps. Provides the “energy” for the plant.

Water: Critical for all life on the surface of our planet. Provides the “carrier” or life-blood of the plant.

Carbon dioxide: Plants absorb Carbon dioxide, (CO2) and produce Oxygen. Provides “air” for the plant to breathe.

Each of these components are necessary for plants to grow. But soil is not one of them. But plants grow in the soil so they must need it, right? Not really. The plants simply need a way to keep from falling over; the soil serves this purpose rather well. But what if I told you that the soil could be replaced by something better… cleaner.

Next time we will be discussing the various hydroponic growing methods…..