Hall of Flowers entrance. Photo credit: Hall of Flowers
Hall of Flowers, the premier B2B cannabis show for California brands and buyers, made a triumphant return on September 22 and 23. Held at the Sonoma Country Fairgrounds, the event was one part tradeshow one part industry reunion. For many, it marked the return to in-person events after a year and a half at home, with everyone eager to get back to business.
“Hall of Flowers was a great event,” said Joe Caltabiano, CEO of Choice Consolidation Corp. “It was exciting to be at an in-person event engaging live with people who are passionate about this incredible industry.”
An enthusiastic crowd perused three vast expo halls packed with everything from flower brands to extractors to ancillary tech providers. There was a dizzying array of product types, offering buyers more options than ever before. This reflects a continually evolving marketplace that is seeing an increase in the diversity of dispensary customers, covering both demographics as well as use cases.
“It’s always exciting to see the brands in the business continue to evolve,” Caltabiano mused. “I was surprised to see the volume of products designed and marketed towards the mega consumer, it is clear that consumer still dominates the West Coast markets. Products like infused joints were everywhere. The beverage category seems to continue to inch its way closer to a mainstream product but still has a long way to go.”
Core Conversations covering engaging topics such as social equity and multi-state expansions while an on-site dispensary kept buyers fully stocked with product samples to examine. Outside, a smoke-filled courtyard was surrounded by bold activations from heavy hitters such as Papa’s Select, Puffco, Packwoods, and CannaCraft. MyHi served up mocktails infused with their water-soluble THC powder while the double-decker Ispire booth kept the party going with a DJ and plenty of dabs thanks to their induction heating wand.
Celebrity sightings included Jim Belushi, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Steve Parish as well as popular influencers Koala Puffs and Adam Ill. A number of food trucks fed the masses, but the majority of attendees had no time to eat — there was just too much to do.
“It was so great to see everyone again — industry, OG’s, and newbies alike bearing the heat, enjoying the gathering,” beamed cannabis consultant and event producer
Elise McRoberts. “The show felt bigger than it was in years past and there was a lot more big brand presence — you could tell who had a great 2020 (based on the size and sparkle of their booth).”
Attendees pick up samples at the on-site dispensary powered by NUG. Photo credit: Hall of Flowers
“It was inspiring to see the supply chain in action as decision-makers walked the floor to close deals rather than having to chase down business cards the following Monday,” Liz Blaz of Hiller, PC, told Highly Capitalized. “Hall of Flowers was a wonderful snapshot of the current California cannabis ecosystem, complete with rumblings of the ever-worsening plight of the mom and pop farmer and legacy brands. I heard full-term living soil sun-grown from the Triangle is back up to 2017 prices, so we’ll see how the harvest season plays out.”
As Blaz mentioned, the difficulties for the heritage farmers in Northern California were absolutely on the minds of many in attendance. Barriers to the regulated market, over-taxation, and a wholesale price scale that continues to bottom out are just a few of the issues the cultivators are currently facing. The splashy and vibrant marketing that dominated the scene at Hall of Flowers left some people desiring a closer connection to the cultivators who make these brands what they are.
“This entire emerging industry relies upon the farmers who connect with the heart and soul of this plant,” explained Tina Gordon, Founder and Owner of Moon Made Farms. “I’d love to see the source, the farms, brought to Hall of Flowers. What I’m most passionate about now is building a regenerative supply chain. This starts with the farmers, from seed to sale.”
For those who missed the Santa Rosa HOF, there are two more opportunities this year to check out what the event has to offer. The Hall of Flowers Experience at MJBizCon takes place October 20-22, which the first-ever Hall of Flowers SoCal goes down in Palm Springs on December 8 and 9.
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