The California cannabis industry convened at Camp Navarro for the fourth annual Meadowlands, a community retreat held on 200 acres of redwood forest, September 29 through October 3, 2021.
The outdoor event, hosted by retail software company Meadow, is designed to build relationships across the California cannabis supply chain. People attend to build meaningful connections, find collaborative solutions to issues the industry faces, and decompress in nature.
“After being apart for so long, at this year’s industry retreat we really wanted to create a safe space in nature for our community to come back together to get inspired and connect and become stronger, more resilient leaders to empower them to continue navigating their teams through the choppy waters of the cannabis industry and the ongoing unknowns of the pandemic,” said Meadow Chief Executive Officer David Hua.
A leadership summit occupied the first twenty-four hours of the event: CEOs, owners, and other upper-level executives connected, networked, and heard from leadership teams from Cookies, HERBL, Backbone, and MD Numbers Inc. Keynotes led by Mazin Jamal of Holistic Underground and psychotherapist and entrepreneur Bea Arthur focused on resiliency, integrity, and managing energy.
“The theme we were working with for Meadowlands 2021 was Coming Up for AIR (Activation, Integration, and Rejuvenation),” said Hua. “It’s important we carve out time to reconnect with our community, remember we’re not in it alone, and find the fortitude to keep building this industry together.”
Meadow committed to prioritizing greater diversity and inclusion by creating free space for thirty social equity brands and retailers to participate, activate their brands, and deepen their networks. In addition, a new awards show called The Dabbies, hosted by The Hood Incubator, recognized companies that have made sustained effort to support and champion social equity. A panel discussion called “Access, Allyship, and the State of Social Equity” featured Josephine & Billie’s founder and CEO Whitney Beatty; Amber Senter, CEO of Breeze Distro and cofounder of Supernova Women; and Original Equity Group President Ramon Garcia. Wally Wong, head of equity programming at Meadow, moderated.
Other panels and workshops addressed industry topics ranging from dispensary trends to finance, mergers and acquisitions, protecting craft and regenerative cannabis, the future of psychedelics and plant medicine, and regulation updates from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland. Nicole Elliott, director of California’s newly formed Department of Cannabis Control, took the main stage to share updates from the DCC about agency consolidation, CEQA challenges, taxes, compliance and enforcement, and a $100-million grant program.
Meadowlands featured a new wellness village, with design and programming help from the teams at Anywhere Outpost, Collective High, Lucky Box Club, and The Cannabis Yogi. Among the offerings: energy cleansings, sound baths, yoga, breathwork, and meditation. The industry retreat also featured a nightly Mellows and Kiva s’mores bar around the bonfire, stargazing night hikes, daily DJ sets and a silent disco, and a moving tribute to the late Frenchy Cannoli led by Nikki Lastreto and Swami Chaitanya.
Learn more about Meadowlands at CampMeadowlands.com.
Aria Biswas is the head of experiential marketing for Meadow.