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Photo By Alexandra Pere
Assistant Manager Michael Thomas of D2 Dispensary presents iLava brand products to attendees of the Tucson Cannafriends event on Thursday, Feb 17.
Amethyst Kinney Greeted every person that attended the Tucson
February Cannafriends event on Thursday, Feb. 17.
Kinney stood by the parking lot entrance into The Annabelle Photography
Studio at 630 E. Ninth St., to greet each
person with a smile and a hug before
telling them to smoke a free “dab” before
entering the studio.
Kinney is the regional director of Cannafriends Tucson, a cannabis networking
group that grew out of the Phoenix-based
Cannafriends organization. Kinney began
the Cannafriends networking event in
Tucson in December 2021.
“What I love about it is, it’s a great place
for people who smoke cannabis who saw
the stigmas of ‘I’m looked down upon
because I smoke cannabis,’ it’s a safe place
for them to come,” Kinney said.
Tickets for the Cannafriends monthly
event are $20, which includes access to
cannabis-infused snacks like tater tots
with kush sauce, in-person contact with
cannabis brand associates and raffle
contests. Kinney said she loves the event
because cannabis users can discover new
products and where they are available in
Tucson. Infused and non-infused foods
were provided by local restaurant Dante’s
Kinney’s love for cannabis grew out of
a personal health crisis. In 2010, she was
diagnosed with the chronic disease multiple sclerosis (MS). Her disease was eating
away at the protective barrier around her
nerves, resulting in intense chronic pain.
“I was bedridden and I was taking all
the pills, like seven bottles on the side of
my table,” Kinney said. “I couldn’t get out
of bed, I would have to get a walker and
struggle to the kitchen to do dishes because I felt like I needed to do something
to help out.”
It wasn’t until Kinney’s friend told her
to try cannabis that she began to walk
“Now I have only two bottles of pills,”
Since then, Kinney capitalizes on
her new lot in life by being a cannabis
advocate and industry networker. While
working as regional director of Tucson
Cannafriends, Kinney is also the treasurer of Arizona NORML, the marijuana
legalization advocacy organization. AZ
NORML was also one of the event vendors.
All of the vendors gave brand presentations and drew raffle prizes towards the
end of the event.
Local Tucson brand iLava showcased
the new iLava Touch gel. The iLava Touch
topical combines more than 500 milligrams of THC and CBD oil in a skin-safe
gel. Assistant Manager Michael Thomas
of D2 Dispensary said the new lotion was
formulated with an employee’s experience
Adriana Tysenn, compliance and
education director at the Downtown and
D2 Dispensaries, said during the presentation that she wanted to enhance the
product to work for her own nerve condition. Previous topicals that were meant
to help with her nerve pain stained her
clothing, smelled of cannabis and didn’t
fully absorb into her skin.
“They [iLava] hired a clinical aromatherapist so we could work on the smell,”
Tysenn said. “There are nine different
essential oils in the topical. The primary essential oils, corsican helichrysum,
mango, ginger, and blue tansy, that’s what
gives it a more herbal smell versus a cannabis smell, and we also have a carrying
agent in it that allows it to be a systemic
approach to medicating. The carrying
agent is DMSO, so it goes deeper than
just the dermis.”
Other vendors included Earth’s Healing
Dispensary, Aeriz Aeroponic Cannabis,
Titan Laboratories, Stiiizy, Delta 8 Oils,
Extraction Goods, Nug Jewelz, Tucson
House of Cannabis and the Marijuana
Industry Trade Association (MITA).
MITA founder Demitri Downing said
the organization mainly meets in Phoenix
but hopes to move down to Tucson as the
cannabis industry continues to grow. The
trade association offers a membership
program that includes monthly meetings, training, education and networking
opportunities for cannabis businesses.
Downing gave a quick shoutout to iLava
for creating more than 200 jobs in Tucson.
“If you’re part of the industry, come
share, teach, learn, interact with your fellow industry members, and other individuals can come and learn from you as well,”
Kinney thanked MITA for providing
free promotion for the Cannafriends event
and is looking forward to providing more
safe spaces for cannabis users in Tucson.
“I’m gonna have so many more events
in Tucson because we need to send love,”