Magical Moments from the Palm Springs Cannabis Film Festival & Summit

Avatar Maria Calabrese |

PALM SPRINGS, CA – When January 1st of 2018 hit, California became the sixth state to allow the sale of marijuana to those over the age of 21 not just to those who have a medical marijuana recommendation. Although the state has recognized the benefits of recreational marijuana, much of the rest of the country has been hesitant toward acceptance. Most Americans don’t know the true benefits and uses of the cannabis plant but if they’re willing there are people who are ready to share the proper facts with them.

The community of The Palm Springs Cultural Center decided to hold a 4-day intensive event where they educated those interested in the history, benefits, uses, and experiences of the cannabis plant. The festival directors, Giacomina Marie, Paul Palodichuk, and Executive Director, Michael Green hand selected the most knowledgeable individuals in the cannabis community. Speakers and panelists ranged from The California Bureau of Cannabis Control Chief, Lori Ajax to medical professionals such as Dr. Ira Price, Dr. Gary Richter, Dr. Nick Karras and Dr. Frank. Cannaisseurs and cultivators joined in sharing their fruitful experiences such as Keiko Beatie, Barbie Sommars, Swami Chaitanya, and Nikki Lastreto. Windy Borman, Francesco Bussalai, Flavia Cassani, and David Zlutnick were among the various talented filmmakers who shared their cannabis-enriched documentaries with the diverse crowd of canna-curious spectators.

The Palm Springs Cultural Center was founded by Ric and Rozene Supple in 2007 and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that embodies their life-long dedication to enhancing the lives and well-being of people living in the Coachella Valley. Topics of discussion throughout the festival included history of the cannabis plant, benefits of THC versus CBD, plus cannabis legislation and business information. One important topic from the festival and summit is that women seem to be taking the ever-developing industry of cannabis by storm. Palm Springs Film Festival and Summit Director Giacomina Marie said, “Women traditionally have been the medicine keepers. I’m honored to be in the presence of these beautiful, creative and highly spirited women!”

Ten women were honored with the Rozene Supple Visionary Award and are as follows:

Lori Ajax – Chief Of The Bureau Of Cannabis Control For The State Of California

Ginny Foat – Former Palm Springs City Council Member and Political Activist

Joy Meredith – Owner of Joy of Life Wellness Center, Palm Springs

Julie Montante – Owner of PSA Organica, Palm Springs

Nikki Lastreto – Co-founder of Swami Select

Windy Borman – Filmmaker of Mary Janes: The Women of Weed

Barbie Sommars – Creator of High Dining

Keiko Beatie – Educator, Speaker and Writer

Kathy Lehman – US veteran; an empowering voice for cannabis in healing PTSD

Dr. Marsha Rosenbaum – Director emerita of the San Francisco office of the Drug Policy Alliance

Congratulations to these 10 amazing women as well as the rest of the crew, keynote speakers, panelists, and filmmakers who made the first Palm Springs Film Festival and Summit possible. We look forward to next year’s festival and summit as well as the continuous spread of knowledge and passion of cannabis!

Maria Calabrese

Maria’s mission is to combine her background and passion to bring trusted news ranging from legalization to normalization on all things cannabis to the forefront.  She is an animal lover and her new rescue canine answers to “MJ,” Mary Jane in memory of her last two dogs, “M”aggie and “J”uanita and in honor of this miraculous medical plant!