Busy at Cannabusiness ’96
- ??? The
29th of November started unexpectedly early. At 6:30am, the morning after
the Cannabis Cup closing ceremonies, my friend Sasha woke me up. “Barge,
get up, we’re going to Germany for the Cannabusiness show!”
- by Barge
Three hours later
I was nearing the German border in a minivan with Sasha Przytyk and his
father Jerzy, both from the Polish Institute for Natural Fibres, Sasha’s
younger brother Ziv, who is part owner of Montreal hemp store Je L’ai,
and members of the Cannabis Cup award winning crew from the Ohio Hempery.
I was stashing my
day’s supplies when suddenly everybody up front started clapping and cheering.
Apparently we had just crossed the border, no questions, no searches, we
didn’t even slow down. Finally a border I didn’t mind. The only difference
I noticed was German roadsigns instead of Dutch.
A few stoned hours
later we arrived in Castrop Rauxel. All I knew was that we were somewhere
in Western Germany, going to some kind of paraphernalia trade show. I had
no idea what to expect, especially after my disappointment with the Cannabis
Cup in Amsterdam. Entrance was 300dm a day, so a press pass seemed like
a much better idea.
A few minutes later,
press kit and pass in hand, I entered the building. My eyes bulged and
jaw dropped as I realized that this was not going to be a disappointment.
Holy cow, a fully fledged cannabis paraphernalia, grow and hemp trade show!
Like a home or ski show, but all for the cannabis culture.
The Paraphernalia Section
The first day was
reserved for retailers and press. The paraphernalia section was made up
of different manufacturers displaying a huge variety of bongs. I liked
the bongs with the removable and interchangeable magnetic bowls, but I
thought the bongs with two built in bowls were pointless. There weren’t
any fruit or vegetable bongs, my personal favourite. Joint rolling machines,
papers and pipes were also displayed.
No Smoking, it’s Germany
The next two days
the trade show was open to the public, therefore much busier. Moving around
was very slow at times, but with so much to see I don’t think anybody cared.
I continued wandering around meeting cannabis activists from around the
world and checking out the booths.
we were no longer in Holland, cannabis smoking was repeatedly discouraged
over the PA and by the small inactive German police presence. Many fairgoers
discreetly smoked eurospliffs mixed with an unhealthy dose of tobacco.
I had to take many fresh air and personal bowl breaks because of the heavy
clouds of tobacco smoke.
The Grow Zone
The grow section
was made up of seed companies and grow stores displaying their many different
grow supplies. The completely enclosed and computer automated grow systems
were impressive, as were the vertical grow systems, designed to make the
most of tight European floorspace.
In the middle of
the grow section were various cannabis publications, books and magazines.
Psychedelics were also well represented, with kits for growing mushrooms,
peyote and San Pedro cacti.
Party and Awards
Since many exhibitors
were going to the Cannabusiness party, I decided to check it out. 20dm
and a few minutes later and I was enjoying a good buffet, music, and a
lot more puffin’.
After the buffet
and a couple of bands, the German language Hanf! magazine presented some
awards. Jack Herer, author of the classic The Emperor Wears no Clothes,
received a lifetime achievement award for his many contributions to the
cannabis liberation movement.
The media award
was given to Mathias Brockers for writing Die Wiederentaleckung der Wutzplanze
Hanf, the German translation of the Emperor. Brockers also founded HanfHaus,
a successful German chain of hempstores.
Michael Karus, founder
of the nova-Institute, the leading German research group on hemp fibre,
received the Science and Technology award.
co-founder of the German group “Cannabis as medicine”, received the medical
marijuana award. Alexander, a chemotherapy patient, has since been hassled
and his group’s medical marijuana stolen by the German authorities.
and marketing award was presented to Emil Reichmann and Frank Zander of
Tri-Tech. Tri-Tech organized the Cannabusiness trade show and other previous
German hemp fairs. They will also be hosting the second Cannabusiness trade
show in September 1997.
’96 was any sort of indication, September ’97 would be a good time to travel
to Germany, especially for any North American hemp retailers looking for
After the awards,
the party continued into the early hours. I had breakfast in the morning
with mostly hungover Cannabusiness exhibitors, and then returned to the
trade show for its final day.
Moving around was
pretty slow, but I managed to check out most of the large and impressive
hemp section. It contained clothes of all designs, even hemp jackets waterproffed
with hemp oil. There were also aromatherapy hemp pillows stuffed with low
THC hemp buds, as well as hemp mattresses, couches and chairs.
There were a lot
of hemp foods, including hemp seed cookies and bars, breads, cheese, ice
cream, pop, beer and liqueurs. There were also hemp cosmetics of all sorts,
lipsticks, various body oils and lotions, and even some cannabis bud perfumes
in an environmentally kind house should have seen the hemp construction
materials, like hemp based concrete, stalk chip wafer boards that are stronger
and lighter than plywood, and also hemp insulation and carpet underlay.
My favorite product was the hemp snowboard. Of the world wide hemp presence,
Germany and Switzerland seemed to have the largest variety of products.
Thanks to Rosa and Alex, kind editors of Hanf! Magazine, and to all the
others who helped me on my European cannabis trip.
For more info…
Contact Hanf! magazine at: Medien GmbH, Postfach 7, D-79233 Vogtsburg,