BUCKEYE LAKE – Dope may float the Greater Buckeye Lake Historical Society’s boat.
The June 2016 arrival of the 88-foot Elizabeth Ann sternwheeler sparked optimism about Buckeye Lake’s future during one of the lake’s darkest periods. Dr. Ronald and Cindy Downing of Malta, Ohio, donated the boat built by family and friends for use as a pleasure boat on the Muskingum River. At the time, Buckeye Lake Museum Director J-me Braig estimated renovations would cost roughly $50,000.
Fundraising proved more difficult than expected as the dam reconstruction and the lowered lake level drastically cut visitor interest in the lake and forced the Society to stop its successful Queen of the Lake II boat tours. With many lake area businesses struggling, donations to the Historical Society slowed to a trickle.
Volunteers removed the second deck structure to repair the main roof and reduce weight. Considerable work was done to the hull. The wheelhouse will be reinstalled along with new open air seating on the upper deck. Last month, the renovation project got a big boost after the Buckeye Lake Region Corporation announced a $25,000 donation toward renovation expenses from Buckeye Lake Region Community Foundation.
That good news was recently tempered by a nearly $20,000 quote to move the sternwheeler from its drydock at the Buckeye Lake Yacht Club to the North Shore boat ramp for its launching on Buckeye Lake. One volunteer recently told The Beacon, “It seems everything about a boat costs at least double what you thought.” The Historical Society also needs to find a dock as well.
The Beacon recently learned that Buckeye Lake Village’s newest corporate citizen may “help float our boat.” PharmaCann, one of the 12 firms awarded a large grower license last year by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP), recently broke ground on a 25-acre site off Hunt’s Landing Road. Late last year, MedMen Enterprises, Inc. announced they had entered into a “definitive business combination agreement” in which MedMen and PharmaCann will combine their respective businesses. The combined company will have licenses in 12 states, providing access to approximately 50 percent of the United State’s population.
Both companies have stated that they want to be good citizens in their host communities. While there are still details to be worked out and no agreement has been announced, The Beacon has learned that a plan to underwrite the remaining renovation and continuing operating expenses of what has been called the Queen of the Lake III is taking shape.
One of the most notable changes is expected to be the sternwheeler’s name. The working name is Queen of Cannabis that is closely tied to Medmen’s new disruptive ad campaign called “The New Normal.” The centerpiece is a video chronicling the American history of cannabis “directed by Academy Award-winning storyteller Spike Jonze and features actor Jesse Williams, best known for his longstanding activism and starring role in Grey’s Anatomy.” According to Medmen, “The New Normal” campaign includes ads on Bravo, CBS Sports Network, Oxygen, MSNBC, Lifetime and Food Network; print ads in Rolling Stone and US Weekly; and ads in hundreds of movie theaters across California, Nevada, and Michigan.
A MedMen press release describes the content as chronicling “society’s evolving perceptions of the plant, from pre-prohibition to the modern industry of today. While looking back through America’s history, from George Washington’s hemp farm, to Reefer Madness propaganda, The New Normal takes the audience on a journey through the injustices of the past and a hopeful view for the future. Jonze and Williams collaborated to ensure that much of the commercial’s cast and crew had a personal real-life connection to the plant. Those individuals included military veterans who use cannabis to treat their PTSD, a former NFL football player who uses it as a substitute for opioids, victims of racial profiling and those who work in the emerging industry.” The company says the campaign supports its “vision where legalized and regulated cannabis creates a safer, healthier and happier world.”
Historical Society officers understand that not all Society members and lake area residents will approve of their prospective benefactor. One told The Beacon, “It is damned if we do and damned if we don’t. The Queen represents our financial future. It took nearly three long years before anyone (Buckeye Lake Region Corporation) stepped up with big bucks and we still don’t have it in the water.” While the Queen will fly the MedMen logo (see photo) below the Stars and Stripes and crew members will wear understated MedMen wear (see photos), NO cannabis products will be available on board even to those passengers holding valid medical marijuana cards.
However, according to a draft underwriters’ agreement, the sales prohibition on board could change should Ohio voters or the state legislature approve recreational use. The draft envisions adult-only (age 21 or older) cruises featuring a MedMen brand such as ebb, max, zen, joy or zzz. These future adult-only cruises could also be built around specific strains. According to MedMen’s website – MedMen.com – “Sativa” strains “elicit more stimulating, euphoric and uplifting effects,” compared to “Indica” strains that “evoke a sedative effect” such as the “couch-lock” effect.
A community discussion entitled “Is it reefer madness to accept a cannabis underwriter?” is set for 9 p.m. on Monday, April 1, at the Lost Harbor Community Center.