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Rew Popp's Recipes and the Budding Business of Grass

Rew Popp has had success preparing pot-laced baked goods for friends and others in need of medicinal marijuana. Now Prop 19 has the prep chef at Avalon restaurant in Eureka dreaming of opening a pot-themed restaurant.

"It would be like wine pairing, but it would be ganja paired with wines," said Popp.

There's some dispute about whether or not the federal government will step in to blunt the passage of Proposition 19, should voters approve the ballot measure to legalize and tax marijuana for recreational use on Nov. 2.

But the uncertainty is not stopping entrepreneurs in the nation's pot growing capital, the Emerald Triangle, where California's Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties meet. Some pot growers, marketing types, chefs, and even journalists, are crafting plans to make money, while supporting the local small-scale marijuana industry.

Jackie Wellbaum is the branding artist behind Beyond the Ziploc Bag, an art installation that envisions packaging for marijuana. Photo by Mark McKenna

"In the same way the Sonoma wine region is famous for that and the Champagne region is famous for that, this is the cannabis region," said Humboldt marijuana grower Nate Morris. "There's no reason why it should lose that status [if Prop 19 passes]. Humboldt has built an internationally recognized brand name for an illegitimate product."While some in the Emerald Triangle are skeptical Prop 19's passage will bring a boon to the area, Morris and a few others see nothing but opportunity if Prop 19 passes.

Former Seattle-area food critic Ed Murietta is in the midst of launching a new online mag of news, reviews and features for pot consumers. Here's Murietta in a recent post on his Pot Appetit Facebook page:

I am currently embedded in Humboldt County, ground zero of pot. I'm recruiting writers, meeting growers, signing up dispensaries and other businesses to participate in Pot Appetit's pot tourism initiatives. Launch is tentatively set for the day after the election.

And perhaps most importantly, artist and branding marketer Jackie Wellbaum has his eye on the business of packaging pot. He's created a series of mock-ups for marijuana cigarette packages, dubbed "Beyond the Ziplock Bag."

"Andy Warhol painted the 32 flavors of Campbell soup available at that time,” explained Wellbaum. "I thought [the packages] would be a great contribution to the cannabis branding discussion."