Originally started as a concept blog by Eli Harrington in 2015, Vermontijuana returns in 2019 with an emphasis on original reporting, cannabis-centric events + grassroots advocacy.
Vermontijuana is a media, events, and advocacy organization founded by Eli Harrington under the management of Vermont-based Greenbridge Consulting LLC. Familiar to many as a cofounder and spokesperson of Heady Vermont until his resignation in May 2019, Harrington has returned to the cannabis media scenes to apply the last four years of experience to “#ElevateTheState” of the cannabis community in Vermont.
“Back in 2015, I identified a clear interest for quality cannabis information, opportunities to gather, and at least some basic organization of advocacy efforts, which led to meeting my former business partner, and eventually, Heady Vermont. I’m incredibly proud of what our small team and core community did during my three and a half years there and what they’ve accomplished in the last six months since I left.”
No longer involved with Heady Vermont as an employee, Harrington still maintains a 40% ownership interest in Heady Vermont, which he says that he would consider selling to the right partner(s) in order to make the cannabis company 100% women-owned and to allow him to focus on other projects, including Vermontijuana.
“Most of the lessons I learned from my experience at Heady Vermont were about entrepreneurship and small business, not necessarily cannabis. I’ve always been driven more by passion than money and had absolutely no idea how Heady Vermont would work as a business when we started, or how I could make it a job.”
“In those first few years, I just wanted to do the “work” and hoped we’d figured it out later. I’m excited to take that undiminished passion for this community and to be writing, interviewing, event-planning and advocating with a more balanced approach and a business plan.”
Since resurrecting the blog in mid-November, Harrington has published over a dozen original articles including previously-unreported scoops about the state’s largest alcohol distributor’s move into CBD distribution, Speaker Mitzi Johnson receiving a campaign contribution from the President of a national cannabis conglomerate with a dispensary in Vermont, the Vermont Department of Health recycling a three-year-old cannabis messaging campaign from California, and an exclusive, extended interview with Attorney General T.J. Donovan about the impacts and potential for regulated cannabis in 2020 and beyond.
The media business model is built on a $2/month annual subscription, which Harrington says will give readers access to a private email newsletter, and a password to access the media on the website, which he says he’ll implement starting in February 2020, along with limited advertising. All past and present Heady Vermont members will be offered free subscriptions and Heady Vermont business partners will be offered discounted advertising opportunities.
“I jokingly call it craft media, but that really is my approach — I’d rather make really high quality original media for an audience of real people who really care about the topic and are super-engaged. I probably know most of my readers by face and/or name and/or the kind of weed they grow at this point. I’ve got faith that Vermontijuana will grow and reach new audiences based on quality as this regulatory landscape and culture continues to rapidly evolve.”
As a cofounder and the primary organizer of the Vermont Hemp Fest, Vermont Cannabis Convention, July 1st End-of-Prohibition Festival, The Headies Cannabis Cup, and dozens of other legal cannabis events, Harrington says that he’ll remain active in coordinating and hosting cannabis events in 2020, ranging from Bud + Brunch, to the Green Finders Invitational Golf Tournament, to larger conventions, growers’ cups, and more.
“Pretty much everything that we did over the last three years was the first event of its kind in Vermont, so I’ve go the institutional knowledge and in the next three weeks, will have have announcements about bigger events happening this summer in both Southern Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom.”
Harrington says that he’ll also be active in the statehouse in 2020 advocating for a cannabis event permit campaign which is already underway, as well as providing regular weekly updates on news from the Vermont State House to Vermontijuana subscribers.
“In this current wild west environment of the legal cannabis scene, entrepreneurs have got to be extremely creative in how they evolve, and survive. I’ve already put in my 10,000 hours and then some, so I’m just pumped to take what I’ve learned and re-introduce Vermontijuana as a brand and invite everyone to hop on for a fun ride!”