Cannabusiness – Sept 97

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Cannabusiness – Sept 97

Looking down on Cannabusiness. Photo byBarge.

In Castof – Rauxal, Germany, two rows of hemp outside the Europohalle clearly announced the presence of the 1997 Cannabusiness trade show.

Increased vendor participation at this second annual Cannabusiness trade show made it necessary to add temporary building structures. The three-day event drew industry people from all over the world, along with the local public. European companies made up the majority of the merchants, along with representation from Australia and North America.

I was disappointed that more prominent North American companies hadn’t crossed the pond to show their wares to the European market. An event of this style and stature is exactly what we need in North America to enhance the profile of our domestic cannabis industry.

The show was professionally executed, and included a great “chill out” area where you could discuss business, sample the latest hemp cuisine and share a joint with a friend, despite the warnings from the PA.

With so much positive pot culture surrounding me, it was strange to hear the constant multilingual announcements over the PA system, reminding us all that the smoking and selling of marijuana is illegal in Germany!

Seed Companies & Grow Stores

Most of the prominent Dutch seed companies were in attendance, with their famous strains and photographs of their brand name buds. Challenging their dominance were smaller seed companies and grow shops from all over Germany. Since toke tests were out of the question at this forum, due to the legalities, I am looking forward to sampling these new strains at the Cannabis Cup in November.

Grow companies were also in full flower at the show, showing off complete grow set-ups, including clones! These green merchants were showcasing the innovative technical advances in marijuana botany. Fertilisers for both indoor and outdoor applications were plentiful and ranged from complicated chemical brews to the all natural Bat Guano (bat shit).

There were hydroponic systems suitable for the closet cultivator, but the majority of the vendors were aiming for the high production commercial entrepreneur. It looks like “Overgrow the Government” has become a global concept.

Equipment advances included light systems that incorporated water-cooled hoods, variations on air-cooled lights and several new endurance bulbs. Expect to see these products in North America once the technology has been proven in Europe. I wish I could “sprechen sie Deutsch”, to have further investigated these growing advances.

Paraphernalia and Pipes

Chills dominated the paraphernalia section, with most of the competition imitating their most proven designs. One of the notable exceptions was the Savorette pipe from Australia, a functional, compact one hitter that is sure to impress the most discrete smoker.

Jerome Baker Designs showed that our own Pacific Northwest region leads the way with durable hand-blown Pyrex glass pipes and bongs. Strangely enough, the Europeans have not embraced the beautiful colour changing pipes, which are personally my favourite.

You’re never too high to twist a joint in Europe, with a slew of new rolling machines designed to roll humongous “cones”. Remember before toking on one of these mini baseball bats, that most Europeans mix tobacco with their pot.

Balms, soaps and lotions

The diversity of hemp’s industrial uses really impressed me at this exhibition. The Body Care products included a wide array of lip balms, massage and bath oils, perfumes, soaps and cosmetics. Fortunately, most of these products are available in North America with equal quality and comparable pricing.

Hemp seed soap scented with essential oils is the best soap I have ever used. I was pleased to see, that it is now available in refillable, environmentally friendly containers and liquid soap dispensers.

Beers and soft drinks

Thirsty anyone? Beers, liqueurs and soft drinks all containing hemp in one way or another dominated the food aspect of the show. Unfortunately, some of the products appeared to be jumping on the hemp bandwagon by touting hemp as the buzz word of their marketing campaigns, but only listing hemp as a minor ingredient. To be fair, most of the beverages I tasted were satisfactory.

Pasta, burgers and energy bars

Back home in Vancouver I am spoiled by the Cannabis Cafe’s innovative kitchen, so I was expecting more from the companies who were showcasing edible wares. Hemp is now available in a variety of prepackaged pastas, burgers, cookies and new hemp seed treat/energy bars.

Furnishings and fashions

Home wares were all high quality with price tags to match. Highlights included couches, rocking and deck chairs and mattresses from Hanf Haus.

Notable stand outs in the ever expanding accessory field were Steba’s hemp and cork combination bags, brief cases, sunglasses holders, wallets and purses. Rounding out the fashion accessories for the show were belts, suspenders and silk ties.

Fashion Show

The fashion show kicked off with funky beats, innovative choreography and lively models who didn’t just strut their stuff. Instead they thoroughly entertained the crowd and even managed to included a tap dance number on the runway.

With the emergence of hemp knits, underwear and lingerie is obviously the focus of textile industry. Cozy cardigans and sweaters from Ecolution are well timed for the coming winter season.

The Chinese Question

One aspect of the trade show that surprised me was the ongoing debate concerning developing countries’ labour practices, namely China. Although these conditions are a concern to us all, I did not expect to see such open complaints from companies who use alternative sources of hemp.

The hemp companies who do use Chinese hemp were well prepared to counter critics with photos of conditions confirming their personal visits to suppliers in China. It seems to me that the hemp industry is experiencing the normal growing pains associated with an “adolescent” industry. These are signs of the industry’s maturation.

Kudos and Congratulations

Congratulations to Mila of Pollinator fame for winning the “Product of the Year” award. Kudos to Cannabusiness for organising such a well-rounded event, which will be moved to the larger and more prominent location in Koln for next year.

By Jeremy Skinnerfinis