The innovative cannabis industry conference Hall of Flowers prepares for its Santa Rosa, California, event on September 22 and 23, 2021. It’s the first large-scale, in-person conference for the industry since the pandemic began in 2020. With it, cannabis industry insider attendees can expect outdoor activations, close to 300 exhibitors, and plenty of California cannabis worth showing off.
How many people is Hall of Flowers expecting for its redemption song? “3,500 – 4,000 attendees,” says Hall of Flowers Marketing lead Chris Gonzalez. “I feel like the energy is high and the industry is excited to all gather together again. Although we had very successful virtual events, I am eager to get that feeling of walking through the consumption lounge and seeing the community enjoying the event.”
Hall of Flowers first launched its B2B conference series in Santa Rosa in 2018. What attendees can expect in 2021 at the Sonoma County fairgrounds, Gonzalez says, are some engaging firsts for the conference. “Outdoor activations will be mind blowing this year,” says Gonzalez. “Not only will we have the most outdoor activations we have had, but Lincoln has been working closely with each activation to create an incredible experience.”
“It’s time for our essential industry to come together again, bigger and better than ever,” says Lincoln Barnett III, Partnerships lead for Hall of Flowers. “Brands are going above and beyond this year to create consumption friendly environments.”
One piece of this B2B conference that makes it stand out is its on-site, outdoor consumption element. It’s one actionable step for buyers and sellers to get a feel for the product they’re purchasing. “Cannabis is a multisensory experience, you need to activate all 5 senses in order to know what you’re getting yourself into—and taste is a vital component of this,” says Aengus Cawley, Marketing Lead for Hall of Flowers.
Among the nearly 300 companies exhibiting are Raw Garden, Papa & Barkley, Alien Labs, Boveda, CannaCraft, Pax Labs, Ember Valley, Kings Garden, Wyld, The Stanley Brothers, DIXIE, The Cure Company, and many more. The complete list of retailers is even more expansive, including Stiiizy, Wonderbrett, Caliva, Planet 13, Cookies, Emjay/Sherbinskis, The Pottery, and more. There will be a Loyalty Lounge exclusively for retail buyers who supported Hall of Flowers throughout the past year at its virtual event ENGAGE. “It’s our way of saying thank you is by giving them the ultimate lounge,” says Gonzalez.
Hall of Flowers also boasts its two-day speaker series Core Conversations with sessions including Tammy Pettigrew, the Cannabis Cutie, Mary Pryor, founder of Cannaclusive, Elliot Lewis, CEO of Catalyst, Chris Walsh, CEO of MJBiz, and more. “The gathering of our community and sharing of industry learnings has long been at the core of the Hall of Flowers experience,” says Barnett. “We always aim to add value beyond the Show floor.”
While celebrity sightings do often pop up at Hall of Flowers, it’s not the company’s MO. But it is California, after all, a state whose industry is sprinkled with celebrity endorsements (I recall Seth Rogen making an appearance at the last Santa Rosa event). This year, expect Jim Belushi of Belushi’s Farm, Cody “No Love” Garbrandt, Former UFC world Champion, Chuck Liddell, Former UFC Champion, and actor Chauncey Leopardi, famous for his role as “Squints” from the cult classic film Sandlot.
Jim Belushi tells Forbes he highly anticipates the event, and that it will be his first time attending Hall of Flowers. “Yes, I’ve been hearing about Hall of Flowers for a while now,” says Belushi. “I get excited to attend any cannabis event because the community is enlightened. And if they aren’t enlightened the plant will drag them there, and I want to be there when it happens.”
The actor’s cannabis brand Belushi’s Farm spans 93 acres in Southern Oregon. His cannabis work is well-documented in the Discover Channel’s reality TV show Growing Belushi. “Santa Rosa is the center of California cannabis,” says Belushi. “Bhang and I are putting together an invite-only Blues, Burgers & Brew night at The Whiskey Tip on the 22nd. Bring your sunglasses and dancing shoes… but no bongs allowed.”
Exhibitors harbor the same palpable excitement as they build up to this huge gathering. Raw Garden will be exhibiting at Hall of Flowers Santa Rosa, offering some new experiences for attendees and fans of the brand, as well as giving back to its community.
“We’re thrilled to be exhibiting at this year’s Hall of Flowers,” says Raw Garden’s Head of Product Khalid Al-Naser. He says it’s the company’s first major foray back into trade shows since the pandemic began. “We are so excited to be back at Hall of Flowers for next week’s event and can’t wait to reconnect with our colleagues across the industry. HoF will be a great opportunity for us to build upon our commitment to quality and stewardship.”
“At the event, we’ll debut the Raw Garden General Store,” says Al-Naser. “The intent of the exhibit is to create a space for trade and consumers to experience Raw Garden in a deeper and more personal way.”
Raw Garden is well known for its agricultural “farming-first” philosophy. So the company plans to launch Scan a Seed at Hall of Flowers, a campaign aimed at raising awareness around food scarcity. “For each scan of the QR code, printed on upcycled seed paper, Raw Garden will donate $1 to the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County—an organization we’ve been supporting for years,” says Al-Naser. “Studded with seeds of various veggies and herbs, the cards can be planted to grow your own food, furthering Raw Garden’s commitment to sustainability, stewardship, and farming-first ethos.”
To bring this to life, Raw Garden has developed an interactive seed wall where all guests will have the opportunity to “scan a seed” to help minimize food scarcity. The seed wall is a physical, visceral representation of the 26 million seeds in Raw Garden’s seed bank.
2021 marks the first year Hall of Flowers teams up with MJBiz, hosts of MJBizCon in Las Vegas October 19-21, 2021. “We are thrilled to be partnering with the largest cannabis industry show and bringing the retailers and brands into the larger cannabis community offering our base greater nationwide exposure,” Hall of Flowers founder Dani Diamond says of the new B2B event partnership. Expect to see a Hall of Flowers buying experience inside the massive MJBizCon show floor.