It was a show for the record books. On May 3 & 4 in Santa Rosa, situated under smoke and cloud cover on the beautiful Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Hall of Flowers welcomed thousands of the most powerful people in the cannabis industry. Thank you to every single exhibitor, sponsor, buyer, retailer, and industry member who made it a spectacular and productive show.
Hall of Flowers 2023 showcased the best cannabis in California and in the world. Among the ranks of exhibitors that showed out at the trade show, activations from companies large and small shined. We expanded the footprint of Small Farmers and Equity Grant Winners on the floor. The weed and cannabis products spoke for themselves. After Dark by Gelato brought a Las Vegas-level after-party to Santa Rosa. It was a well-earned feast for the senses following a fruitful day of deal-making.
“Hall of Flowers was amazing for Country. Our best show yet,” says Jamie Feaster, founder of Country Cannabis. “We had more productive conversations than ever before. We’ve signed several new accounts in the week following the show. Engage was a critical tool in making the event a success. It enabled us to focus on accounts that were looking for products like ours, and book meetings ahead of time. Engage helped us be more targeted and efficient with our sales efforts. It’s tremendously valuable for brands like us.”
Country launched its full-effect Peanut Butter and Jelly, Strawberry Lemonade, and Banana Cream Pie pre-roll packs at the show. Its prerolls won big at The Emerald Cup Awards last year.
One retailer we spoke to was thrilled to have ENGAGElive in hand. “The ability to see which vendors will be present and preschedule meetings is a great tool,” says Ryan Torchin, the lead Buyer for Planet 13 in Orange County. “I was also able to print out some reports beforehand to share with specific brands and the meetings went great. I was able to fill all 36 spots and feel like I talked to at least 75+ vendors.”
Trends on the floor included love for minor cannabinoids beyond THC and CBD. Several well-made CBG-focused product SKUs were present, including a nearly 4% CBG testing strain from the sun-grown, award-winning Sonoma County farm The Bohemian Chemist. They launched their Spiritus Mundi lineup coinciding with the show. Diamonds and diamond-infused cannabis pre-rolls were another popular product offering found on the bustling trade show floor. Infused pre-rolls are also having a moment.
Another upcoming trend was the brands joining forces and forming coalitions or business collaborations, as several legacy farms or growers band together under one distribution roof. Those types of competitive collaborations are one brilliant innovation for cannabis brands during the challenging regulatory squeeze.
True Humboldt is one of those collaborations. It’s a distribution company that’s owned by a group of legacy cannabis farmers. “We have several brands that we distribute through the distribution chain,” the True Humboldt team tells Hall of Flowers. BigFoot Cannabis Company, Salmon Creek Legacy co-op, and Nana’s Delight are among the products repped by True Humboldt. Nana’s Delight is a cool new product on the market where consumers can bake their own brownies. It uses a technology called Hydratech that infuses cannabis into the sugar that goes into the brownie mix.
New products from the Cookies brand met buyers on the floor, as did its CEO and Founder Berner for the first time in a few years. “It feels good. This year, we sat down, smoked, and ran into a bunch of people we needed to run into. It’s cool to see everyone coming together at this event for the same mission. It’s really cool to see legacy people mixed with new people,” says Berner. “It’s been a good event.”
Sam Jurist, CEO and co-founder of Rosin Tech Labs and Focus V, had a highly-sought after Buyers Box lineup for the 2023 Santa Rosa show. “Hall of Flowers has been as good as it always is,” Jurist tells us. “It’s always a good time for us to connect with buyers and just see everyone in the industry and get to see our farm partners connect with other brands. And just reconnect with everybody. So it’s been a good show.”
Jurist says the laser focus on consumers is what sets his brands apart. “I think you have to be part of the community to survive in this industry,” says Jurist. “You’ve got to actually be part of it, not fake it. You got to really live it and breathe it. Show up for the community. We really love what we do, so I feel like that comes through in the products that we make.”
Industry vets were on the floor, including Sunshine Brands and Paradise Club‘s co-founder Megan Warden. “It’s nice to see everybody because the community is really what it’s about. Being here is really important and collaborating, seeing the other brands, seeing the innovation is great. I love seeing all of the new brands and all of our retailers in a happy space.” Warden says she feels in the cannabis community that, “if you don’t have the relationships, you’re not going to make it that far. I think it is a good space right now for smaller businesses.” The brand has a namesake events space in Venice that offers cannabis-friendly events. Paradise Club’s top edible seller flavor? Tropical Mango.
Judi and Walter Nelson of Sol Spirit Farm were in the Small Batch and Farmers activation. Judi offers advice for other small brands on how to survive this moment: “Quality, that’s the number one thing. You have to leave the farm and show up to events,” says Judi. “You have to show up. We’ve been consistently showing up to these events now for six years, we’ve become a face that’s recognized by default.”
“I didn’t spend $100,000 on advertising to get there,” says Walter. “It’s because we keep showing up. That consistency and the effect of the flower does a lot of marketing for you.” For the Sol Spirit team, their glamping and river travel packages are another draw, bringing cannabis enthusiasts to Trinity County for cannabis tours and glamping packages. “That’s really been probably the best thing about legalization for us,” says Walter, “is being able to share that place finally. We always thought we’d have to stop growing to share that space.”
Moon Valley Cannabis was another star of the show. Founded in Sonoma County in 2015, the indoor living soil-grown brand is currently launching a collaboration with Big Al’s Exotics called Hawaiian Snowcake. The brand’s Flower is award-winning and recently took third place at King Of Z Hill competition on San Francisco’s Hippie Hill on April 20, 2023. “We’re single-source, solventless, and we do everything. We make everything that goes into our soil on-site,” says the Moon Valley team. “We make our own compost. We do a lot of Korean natural farming. So we make literally everything that goes into our cannabis. We do all hand trimmed in house packaging and processing.”
Moon Valley is alchemical in its solventless concentrates, using full fresh frozen flower for all of its hash. They had eight different types of flower on the menu at the show to buyers’ delight. “We like to switch it up,” the Moon Valley team tells us. “We’re doing a lot of pheno hunting this year.”
View the complete Hall of Flowers slideshow from Santa Rosa and stay tuned on social media for news about the next event. See you at the show!