SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Hall of Flowers returned to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California, September 22-23 after a two-year hiatus. Manufacturers and distributors filled three large exhibit halls at the facility, and several companies set up large outdoor installations. Ispire and CannaCraft both operated two-story activations, and Enlighten brought TheRealCannaBus, a luxurious forty-two-foot, fully equipped, mobile dispensary, from which it broadcast podcasts with luminaries including actor and Belushi’s Farm founder Jim Belushi and cultivation expert Ed Rosenthal.
Hall of Flowers is unusual in a couple of notable ways. First, the enormous — and enormously expensive — commercial trade show booths seen at almost every other show in every industry are not allowed. Instead, each exhibitor decorates a blank canvas consisting of wood-slat walls and a concrete floor, imbuing the space with his or her brand’s personality by adding greenery, decorative items, and of course products. The result is charming and much less visually cluttered than a more traditional show.
Second, the show exists specifically to facilitate business deals. An on-site license allows buyers to sample brands’ wares by picking up vouchers at booths and redeeming them for $3 plus tax at miniature “dispensaries” located throughout the facility. The tactic is one of the most popular aspects of the show and has proven especially beneficial for new brands trying to break into California’s highly competitive market.