The annual CannaBusiness trade fair held the last seven years in Germany is one of two major European marijuana industry events; the other is CannaTrade, which is held in Switzerland.
CannaBusiness co-organizer Hendrik Duppe worried about attendance at this year’s event because of the troubled world situation that began on 9-11-01.
“It was a big downer,” explained Duppe when I talked to him at this year’s event in September, 2002. “The world changed so fast; people’s plans for visiting CannaBusiness as guests or vendors just got completely turned around.”
The world is still turned completely around, but CannaBusiness 2002 was a vibrant, well-attended event that Duppe and co-organizer Emil Riechmann can be proud of. And in case anybody thinks it’s easy to run a cannabis-related event, even in the relatively enlightened European climate, think again.
“Every year is a challenge because of laws, politics, and prejudice against our industry,” Emil said. “We’ve had some problems because maybe somebody had cannabis inside the hall where police could smell it or see it. What a surprise! This year, we were told by the German railroad system, some television and newspapers, and some trade papers that they would not accept our request for advertising or follow up on our press releases. Cannabis is the world’s most versatile plant, but still some people and groups want to hurt us.”
See CC CK?
At past CannaBusiness events, industry insiders, vendors and activists networked from Friday to Sunday while the hall was full of visitors from across the world.
This year, Duppe and Riechmann felt it wise to give industry folks time alone, so they made Friday and Saturday into “trade only” days when no visitors were allowed.
It was surprising that two days without outside visitors did not make the conference’s “Europahalle” building seem any emptier. Duppe said all vendor spaces were sold. Even on the two trade-only days there were crowds of people in every aisle and around every booth.
Cannabis Culture usually has a booth at such events, but this year’s Cannabis Culture booth was also a Cannabis Kultur booth. The “K” signifies the language of the newest addition to the CC hempire, an empire that used to reside only in Vancouver, Canada and now also resides in Germany because Cannabis Culture magazine is being translated into German for release as Cannabis Kultur.
The first issues of the German-language version were available at the CC/CK booth, and judging from the reaction of industry people and the general public, the new magazine has a bright future in Germany and other parts of Europe.
Peter Golembe is an American living in Germany, and he is in charge of the new magazine. Golembe is a German literature scholar, father and pot activist who says CK will be a classy competitor for already-existing German language pot magazines such as Grow and Hanf.
“CK has several advantages,” Golembe explained. “Europeans are interested in North American news, and especially investigative articles about Bush and the drug war, because the US government is trying to have such a big influence everywhere. They also like to see the latest pot growing techniques in our cultivation section.”
According to Golembe, CK is not just a German version of its North American cousin.
“We’re translating the best articles and printing the best photos from CC, that’s for sure,” Golembe explained. “But we are also going to have people based in Europe who gather news specific to our German-speaking audience, and we are going to feature Euro activists, entrepreneurs, advertisers and events so CK directly serves its audience.”
The media business is very competitive, and this point was driven home by a Hanf affiliate who said High Times magazine was also trying to enter the Euro market.
“They heard that Cannabis Culture was planning to do a German edition and maybe a Spanish edition,” the Hanfer said, “so they hurried over to copy your idea by contracting with some media people in Europe to quickly set up a German or Spanish version of High Times. It is like an old saying we have here, ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.'”
Golembe, who is a bright, intense person trying to run a new magazine almost all by himself, smiles and relaxes a bit when he hears how CK will be able to compete in the wild ways of the magazine industry.
“CK is going to be reaching out to people in different ways,” he says. “We are forming a tour company that will bring people to the pot capitals of the world, mainly in Holland and Vancouver, so our audience can experience the best coffeeshops, the best nature, and the safest cannabis tourism possible. We want people to get experiences they can’t have anywhere else. We see CK as a part of a new marijuana revolution that goes forward rather than backward.”
CannaBusiness features marijuana-related products such as smoking accessories, cultivation equipment and supplies, hemp foods, clothing and cosmetics, and specialty goods and services, such as marijuana media and souvenirs.
There’s everything from musical instruments made from hardened hemp polymers to sex lubricants made from softened hemp oils. If you’re naked at CannaBusiness like the popular body-painted CannaBusinessBabe who shows her pot leaf painted breasts every year, you can clothe yourself in all-hemp fashions that are as attractive and comfortable as clothing made from fibers that are less eco-friendly.
If you’re hungry, you can stop by one of many hempen food booths, such as Hempro International or Hanf and Natur, to chow down on cannachocolates, potato chips, and energy bars. If you’re thirsty, there’s tasty hemp beer or wine. If your skin is dry or damaged, stop by the Canolio or Harmonious Hashish booths, among others, for rich lotions and potions based on hempseed oil, which has nature’s best ratio of essential fatty acids and other skin-saving emollients.
Because the hemp industry is under scrutiny from nattering nabobs in government and media, hempsters must make their products super-effective and consumer-friendly. If you buy clothing made from cotton or synthetics, or cosmetics made from non-organic, non-hemp formulas, you’ve contributed to the death of the earth while also depriving yourself of the benefits of hemp products, which are superior to competing products that are made conventionally with toxic and earth-destroying manufacturing practices.
At this year’s CannaBusiness, I focused on two types of products- vaporizers and grow equipment.
There were many quality clear glass and color-changing glass smoking pipes, bubblers and bongs at this year’s CannaBusiness, such as those provided by the highly-ranked Roor company, but after studying bubblehash at BubbleMan Academy this summer, I was very much into harm reduction, which means I really don’t need or want to inhale anything but pure cannabinoids.
Thus I went searching for vaporizers, which are electronic devices that heat marijuana to temperatures just hot enough to turn cannabinoids into vapor while not being hot enough to turn plant material into smoke.
I found three different vaporizers at this year’s event. The Vapormed Volcano vaporizer sends cannabinoid mist into a plastic inhalation bag with a check valve on the end. The Vapir is a space-age cylindrical device that digitally reads temperature while sending vapor into your mouth via a thick plastic tube. AroMed’s “phytoinhalation” device is an electronic marvel that runs vapor through a water filter before sending it to your lungs.
AroMed’s Frank Fuchs says his device has special advantages over other vaporizers because of its heating unit, materials, temperature controls, and other technical features.
The AroMed has been used in advanced cannabis testing conducted by England’s GW Pharmaceuticals and other medical companies, and is currently considered a reimbursable medical expense by six European health insurers.
Fuchs is one of the most genuine people I’ve met at CannaBusiness. He’s not a money-grubber or ego tripper; his eyes light up when he describes how AroMed provides clean cannabinoid hits as well as the opportunity to inhale vapors from 40 other medicinal herbs.
The AroMed is a fine vaporizer and Frank is a fun guy, but the rival Vapir vapo won a major CannaBusiness award this year, in part because the Vapir booth was staffed by a beautiful exotic cannababe named Asa and a flock of similarly scintillating cannababes.
The other product group I focused on was the sector that occupies the most prominent place at CannaBusiness and which generates the majority of profits in the marijuana industry: cultivation.
While marijuana magazines, activists, hemp entrepreneurs and regular tokers struggle to earn a living, marijuana growers can, for the price of some indoor lighting, fertilizer and risk, make huge amounts of money. It takes about $1,200 worth of equipment, supplies, genetics and electricity to grow about $7,000 worth of marijuana every three months – not a bad cost to benefits ratio.
I examined the interesting batch of cool new grow products, such as biodegradable EcoFoam grow medium, Technogrow supplies, and the new soil mix from No Mercy, but what most caught my eye was the concealable GrowTec “monkey.”
The monkey motif comes from the classic monkey trio motto of “see, hear and smell no evil.” Marijuana growing is not evil, except in the eyes of drug warriors of course, but GrowTec’s security motto is embodied in its GrowTec box, which is a totally self-contained cultivation space and equipment package that is virtually undetectable even if you are standing right next to it.
Growing marijuana is very profitable, but plant lights, odor, fans, watering, and other factors often create easily-visible evidence that you are committing a “crime.” With the monkey, all the evidence is hidden away, leaving you with a simple-to-operate grow chamber that few people would ever see, hear, or talk about ? because the damn thing is a stealth device! GrowTec’s Arne Schmidt is an important man to talk to if you want to monkey around with marijuana growing.
On the CannaBusiness “open Sunday,” about 6,000 people crammed the Europahalle to look at what industry insiders had been seeing during the two trade days. Cannabis Kultur magazine, posters, ganja crushers and other related items sold fast to the teeming masses, and all vendors reported good response to their products and services.
The most interesting place to be that day was at the BubbleMan bubblebag booth, where people came to learn how to make the world’s purest hashish, and maybe to sample some as well.
BubbleMan patiently explained bubblebag technique to doubters and pouters, many of whom can only find schwag in their home countries and thus could not even comprehend the levels of potency and purity that BubbleMan was preaching about.
But when the canny Canadian fired up his glass pipe vapo and caused some of the hungry hordes to inhale the bubbling vapors, he converted them instantly. Stoned out of their skulls, many of them crawled away fiercely clutching their colorful newly-acquired bubblebag kits.
That’s how the Cannabusiness weekend ended for me and other exhausted people, in a haze of Haze inhaled through Bubble’s vapo.
We shouted praise and gratitude to Emil, Hendrik and the rest of the CannaBusiness crew as we sailed away from the quaint German town that has several times hosted one of the world’s best cannabis exhibitions.
Until next year, and to all friends of the cannabis culture around the world, CC/CK say “Stay high,” and may the good business of CannaBusiness always keep growing.
? Cannabusiness: www.cannabusiness.com
? Cannabis Kultur: email mailto:[email protected]; web www.cannabiskultur.com
? Bubblebags: www.bubblebag.com
? EcoFoam: www.ecofoam-europe.com
? Canolio: www.canolio.com
? Technogrow: email [email protected]
? Hempro International: www.hempro.com
? Hanf & Natur: www.hanf-natur.de
? Growtec: www.growtec.de
? Aromed: www.aromed.com
? Vapir: www.vapir.com