Hall of Flowers, California’s highly-anticipated B2B trade show, returned to the Sonoma County fairgrounds in, September after a Covid-mandated hiatus. The show, beloved by the cannabis community, as well as the industry, is known for showcasing some of the state’s most popular cannabis brands.
Missing In Action
There were some noticeable absentees this year as people are still cautious about participating in events due to Covid-19 variants. Despite the caution, the turnout was impressive.
Some brands are also being hit hard by the rock-bottom prices of cannabis flower. Sunrise Mountain Farms were noticeably absent, which they attributed to the significant drop in wholesale flower prices.
“We used to sell our weed for $1000 to $1100 a pound. Now distributors want it at $300 a pound,” says Lorelie Sandemino of Sunrise Mountain Farms. “We can’t make ice hash on our farm anymore. It has to be manufactured in a commercial zone. The reality of the strict protocols of legalization is hard-hitting for family farms. That doesn’t leave much of a budget for trade shows.”
When asked why the highly successful, rapidly-expanding California-based brand Dr. Greenthumb’s did not have a booth at the show, the company’s president Edwin Fowler replied, “We are in a unique position as both a brand (Insane) and a multi-location retailer (Dr. Greenthumb’s). What is clear is that most of the major brands are really ramping up product marketing with large interactive booths and polished presentations. The marketing spending moat that previously existed between the legacy brands and MSO’s appears to be evaporating, and I see the favor of buyers is clearly going to the authentic legacy brands.
“In terms of Dr. Greenthumb’s and Insane, we love this trend,” Fowler continued. “B Real likes to see this; we often talk about raising the water levels for all the authentic legacy brands. I know B supports all the true OGs out there, and I know he’s interested in taking on corporate Wall Street weed in an attempt to keep our long-earned culture intact where it belongs.”
The abundance of samples is a staple of the event and why Hall of Flowers is world-renowned as a best-in-class event, unlike other trade shows that are completely dry and devoid of takeaways or cannabis products.
For the booths that offered product samples, those lucky enough to score some coveted orange dispensary tickets provided by the exhibiting vendors were able to purchase full-size retail products for between $1-$3 at the Nug dispensary.
Hall of Flowers dispensary tickets. ©Caroline Murphy / @VirginiaIsForTokers
One participant described the Hall of Flowers experience as akin to being a trick-or-treater on Halloween.
‘Haul’ of Flowers @Caroline Murphy / Virginia is for Tokers.
While there wasn’t any cannabis-infused candy corn, 420 Kingdom offered microdose THC-infused chewing gum, and edibles-maker Rose offered delightful matchbook-sized samples of aptly named delights.
Rose Booth. Image ©Sara Brittany Somerset / @cannabiscorrespondent
Cannabis-infused Turkish Delights by Rose. Image ©Sara Brittany Somerset / @cannabiscorrespondent
Elise McDonough, the crafter of Cannacraft’s Gem + Jane, described the kid in a candy store vibe, by showing off a photo of her loot on LinkedIn and quipping, “Haul of Flowers.”
Cannacraft printed their own proprietary canna-cash that was redeemable for full-size retail products, including ABX live Resin or Care by Design’s tubs of 24 gummies, at its dispensary.
Cannacraft’s outdoor dispensary at Hall of Flowers. Image ©Caroline Murphy
Some brands, including Plus+ (OTC: PLPRF) sold samples of lychee and “cloudberry” gummies.
How Big Is Your Booth?
Other vendors, such as Brother David’s, which had more prominent, elaborate build-outs in previous years, had a smaller presence this time around.
While newcomers such as Airgraft had one of the largest booths complete with an interactive television screen built into the showcase. Airgraft is known for its Netflix-style business model of providing unlimited pods to its subscribers.
Aircraft exhibition booth at Hall of Flowers. Image courtesy of Caroline Murphy
After a Covid-mandated hiatus, the overall vibe at the fairgrounds was akin to a blissful, triumphant High School reunion. Anyone who missed the event can check out the next iteration of the Hall of Flowers experience at MJ Biz Con in Las Vegas.