It is probably the same feeling a first time visitor feels when walking into any foreign bazaar. The sounds, smells and activities are all blurred in a cacophony of fast paced marketing and high velocity sales. All around you commerce is commencing in a raucous fashion more akin to a festival then an organized marketplace. The 2015 Northern California Cannabis Cup commenced last weekend in San Francisco to a crowd of 20,000+ attendees. The show was bustling with vendors wearing promotional materials advertising their wares, beautifully crafted booths and endless varieties of products all on display to the excited attendees. After the initial surprise of walking into the medicating area of the Cannabis Cup the surroundings begin to come into focus. As far as the eye could see, booths were set up in unique configurations celebrating the awe-inspiring cannabis plant in all of its many forms.
Attendees, vendors and guest alike quickly acclimate to the vernacular of this fascinating event. Free dabs, medicated edibles, lab-tested flower were available in any and all quantities, competing for a coveted Cannabis Cup Trophy. Years of industry infighting and bureaucratic posturing have resulted in this grand event. Patients no longer have to medicate in private, fearful of law enforcement and instead openly celebrate their medical cannabis use. One man proclaimed” I haven’t changed my activities in 35 years but I can now finally explain to my Grandchildren what it is I do and how it doesn’t make me a criminal.” It was an uplifting experience seeing the cannabis leaf being displayed in a proud manner only further demonstrating how far the evolution of this plant has progressed in societies’ eyes.
We as a firm have experienced trade shows and conventions in many varied capacities, but what made this experience differ from all of those is the camaraderie shared by all the people in attendance. You wouldn’t know that in the business world of medical cannabis these people are competing viciously for market share and brand recognition. At the cup, however, everyone is a patient and thus everyone is a friend. Unlike most of our experiences at trade shows and conventions, this year’s cup truly felt like a celebration as to how far the industry has come rather than a networking event to market the services of our firm. Instead competitors, musical artists and advocates alike spent their time celebrating a cause greater than themselves. The theme seems set on changing the world we live in by changing the way that people view the cannabis plant and it’s byproducts. It was refreshing to see this multigenerational gathering of patients flock to an otherwise mediocre venue and create a fascinating and uplifting event. It is safe to say, there was something special in the air other then the abundance of cannabis smoke. Medical Marijuana has finally crashed into mainstream culture in a way that is allowing it to come out of the shadows and share its development with society as a whole.
Thank you San Francisco and thank you High Times, for an event worth remembering and returning to for years to come!