Last weekend, we at Puff Provisions had the opportunity to experience our very first Cannabis related convention. In this case, a CBD only expo held over two days held in the beautiful city of San Diego, CA.
A CBD SUPERSHOW for the consumers, wholesales, B-to-B clients, and Investment Community.
SHOW HOURS: SAT to SUN, APRIL 27-28, 2019
B2B & INVESTOR (2 DAY PASS + VIP ADMISSION)
SATURDAY-10AM TO 7PM
SUNDAY-10AM TO 7PM
SATURDAY-11AM TO 7PM
SUNDAY-11AM TO 7PM
Featuring – Educational Seminars, Investment Seminars, Investment Sales Pitch Opportunities, Branding Opportunities, Networking, Selling/Buying Opportunities.
CBD Categories – Health & Wellness, Oil, Tinctures, Topicals, Pet Care, Smokeables, Edibles, and more…
The first critical piece here is that on a high level ticket prices were separated for B2B vs General Public. B2B tickets were priced at $100 and allowed for 10am access whereas General tickets were priced at $35 and allowed for 11am access.
B2B sounded like the right move all things considered and it felt like a wonderful value proposition until we actually got there. 🙄
Let’s start with the ticket problem. I can’t speculate if Eventbrite was at fault here or American CBD Expo themselves but neither B2B or General tickets were distinguished with both having a start time of 10am. As you can imagine, that led to initial disaster and confusion among spectators looking to get through the door.
Unfortunately, I have to use the term start loosely. Ultimately the biggest pain point is that the event didn’t start on time. The gatekeepers triaging the entire entrance had little to no clue on how this event was kicking off. And to top it off, at first glance we’d eye-ball that about half of the vendors on site were either still prepping or not even there yet.
After getting through the thick of confusion and false starts, we finally stepped through the double doors of Town and Country’s Grand Exhibit Hall and made our way through. All walks of life were there and those who were ready to serve were already talking about the products and services they had to offer. Everything from retail packaging to CBD wholesale while newly minted retailers looked to put their boots on the ground and showcase their branded versions of CBD lines.
On average, not too many of the retailers had been around for a long time (we interfaced with one that just raised their flags last September). It simply illustrates that this market is in its early stages. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Honestly, the most cringeworthy thing to really see were the half baked white labels. We won’t be sending negative press your way, vendors rest assured! But you know who you are. If you plop your labels crooked and not straight, you’ve got a problem. The devil is in the details.
Vendors selling convention pricing on their products was a good call. It made it fun and intriguing for those interested in the not-so-Cannabis side of things. Edibles, creams, oils, vapes and even hemp flower made its way through the gates into the consumer’s hands. Well done. But not all vendors had credit card support making cash KING. 🤴
The line up of speakers were few and far between. There was never enough spotlight on who was speaking, what they were speaking on and when were they speaking.
They needed to rally the crowd and strike interest immediately but the venue did little to support that. Yes, you had a stage and a seating area but it takes showmanship to really orchestrate that part of the event and they just did not have it.
I’m sure those that spoke had insights to share. It’s too bad not enough people sat down to give it a listen, us included.
Top 3 Shout Outs
🥇TestedHemp.com and DrDCannabis.com
Preparation is key and this team was well equipped on not just product but knowledge. Out of all the vendors we shook hands with, this booth impressed us the most. They had the intellectual ammo from a Science perspective and guided us on not just product but commentary on how they’ve seen the industry move.
It was an even exchange of knowledge from teacher to student, salesperson to customer and the overall friendliness of that team left us excited for more.
Getting deeper into conversations, it was exciting to see some stories unravel and find out that we were actually exchanging dialogue with the man that kickstarted a Cannabis revolution in California through a Telemedicine approach. You might have heard of an app called EazeMD. Yep, that’s their team. By bridging the gap between a medical marijuana card and a written prescription, getting a doctor on-demand to perform that act in a few taps from your smart phone was innovative for that time.
That very team is still solving this problem via Telemedicine for US states who have yet to go fully green. But obviously, they’ve been up to more.
🥈Whole Plant Access for Autism
A non-profit organization spearheading education & advocacy for safe and legal use of medicinal cannabis for the treatment of symptoms related to autism.
Hands down this initiative is intriguing. The stories shared with us came from the perspective of mothers trying to integrate Cannabis as part of a holistic solution to various forms of autism. They started as a Facebook group and momentum carried from there.
Knowing we have friends and family who have loved ones with this condition, we thought it’d be worth the share.
˃ Give them a visit at wpa4a.org
🥉Weed for Warriors Project
A social justice lifestyle brand supporting holistic rehabilitation for veterans through community-based projects, proactive care advocacy, cannabis education and compassion WFWP urges change for the empowerment of the people.
Reintegrating our Veterans into the civilian way of life can be a challenge. PTSD, homelessness and more can surface after being discharged from the military and finding the new normal is not that easy. With grassroots located in the bay area, they’ve put flags all over major cities and we had a broad discussion with their San Diego Chapter. Tying Cannabis in to community service for our Veterans is a novel approach. We hope to contribute to our local chapter sometime soon.
˃ Give them a visit at wfwproject.org
Top 3 Observations
- Multiple vendors expressed concern on the term “CBD” running its course. It appears that the federal government is looking to lock in on that sequence of letters and by doing so, it potentially forces Cannabis businesses to reposition branding on all of their CBD based products. The keyword hemp might be overused in the future.
- 1000mg CBD was called out as bull$hit from some vendors and claimed that there is no way for the human body to metabolize that, especially if applied topically (e.g. skin).
- We were overwhelmed by the volume of glass bottle droppers. We know that’s the way to deliver the CBD oil but moving forward, packaging design is going to have to step it up a notch. Unless you want everyone to look alike.
American CBD Expo was an amazing experience despite its false starts. Honestly, if the tone were the same again next year, we wouldn’t rally the extra dollars for a B2B ticket. General admission is more than enough.
A little more structure to the expo would be helpful too. Something as simple as a print out or brochure giving insight on vendors and speakers would have given us a clearer path.
Showmanship is important too. That’s not a knock on the expo itself but a friendly reminder to all of the vendors who were there that weekend that modern day Cannabis enterprises are still in the wild west. Putting your best foot forward is critical at all times, a crooked white label isn’t going to cut the mustard and honestly, if you’re sleeping at your booth, you don’t deserve to be at the show.
Lastly, a splash of added technology wouldn’t hurt the expo or the vendors. Had WIFI been more robust, I’m sure the payment systems booth-to-booth would not have been just locked to cash only.
Then again, maybe most booths just wanted cash. 🤔