You might want to turn down your speakers a bit before you visit the Denver Hempcon 2011 Web site because audio launches nearly instantly… and it’s not only LOUD but sounds freakishly like a TV commercial for a monster truck rally. In fact, if they didn’t hire the same announcer, they sure as heck cloned him.
The accompanying flash slideshow of images features the crowd we’ve come to expect from events like this: a combination of beautiful babes in mid-riff-baring tops, eager young men in t-shirts with either long hair or shaven heads, a scattering of tired-looking middle-aged people, and random elderly patients in wheelchairs.
It illustrates the image fractures within industry as a whole — are we partiers, overworked small businesspeople, get-rich-quick entrepreneurs, earnest activists, or needy patients? Unfortunately the prevalence of some of these personas makes it awfully difficult for the others to be taken seriously. And, when you’re fighting court and city council battles in nearly every nook and cranny of the land, image can be a powerful weapon in your favor… or not.
We understand why events like Hempcon advertise this way – it apparently pulls in the crowds. And ticket-selling is the purpose of their business. We just hope they aren’t harming the industry they rely on for their business. You can’t piously proclaim you’re for patients and then picture babes and bongs with monster truck rally-style voice-overs. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.