The first-ever Lemonhaze Cannabis Convention brought together more than 3,000 members of the state’s cannabis community in late October.
Promoted as the first and largest convention of its kind especially for Washington cannabis businesses, the gathering offered two days of networking, seminars, exchanging information and even laughing, courtesy of four professional comedians.
The event at the Tacoma Dome was organized by Lemonhaze, a company that provides digital networking and sales platforms statewide to growers and retailers. It was open to the public as well as all legal cannabis businesses.
Lemonhaze officials created the convention as a way to build relationships, learn about new products and services, increase their knowledge and have fun. And though there are several cannabis conferences that take place in different states, there aren’t any that focus just on Washington businesses.
There were 125 vendor booths as well as 67 speakers for 13 seminars. There were also representatives from various state trade associations, including the Cannabis Alliance, the Cannabis Farmers Council, NORML, Washington Sungrowers Association and the Washington Marijuana Business Association.
These groups also held meetings during the event to let people know what they’re all about, discuss current issues and seek new members. In some cases, they also found ways for collaboration.
For instance, the Cannabis Alliance, Washington Cannabis Association and CORE – short for Cannabis Organization of Retail Establishments – held an industry round-table to discuss an upcoming “re-categorization” of certain edibles.
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board recently told companies that produce certain edibles that they must use their current inventory and then not make any more, since their items potentially look appealing to children. After April, these items either can’t be sold or must be modified.
However, after concern from the community, the state extended the timeline by 30 days to allow industry groups to come up with suggestions for alternative standards.
The “Coming Together” panel discussed possible approaches and proposals and ways to address the LCB’s concern about possible exposure to children and allow people to continue to produce edibles.
Other seminar topics included:
• The role and responsibility of modern news media in accurately covering the cannabis industry.
• Advances in technology for growing and processing plants.
• Safe and legal ways to prepare edibles.
• Continued training and professional development for budtenders and growers.
• The importance of smart, effective and affordable advertising.
One of the well-attended workshops focused on branding, which is vital for growers and retailers in a state where there are three times as many growers as shops, and everyone sells similar items. Businesses were encouraged to think in terms of Coke vs. Pepsi – both have similar amounts of water, bubbles and caramel color, but each one “speaks” to their fans with their colors, logos and overall experience.
Better branding and appealing to customers were suggested as smarter strategies than trying to keep lowering product prices to get into stores.
Cultivating relationships with other growers, budtenders and even the media can all work in one’s favor.
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