Networking events still make me a little nervous. It may sound odd given I work for a company that puts on major cannabis events, but it’s true. But even though the whole “put on your social hat and make some connections” idea may feel daunting at first, it tends to melt away as soon as I enter a venue and am launched into a world of weed innovation.
That was the case at Cannatank and Farechild’s Community Gardens event in Seattle this weekend. The private, RSVP-only event took place at a large venue in the Sodo district, with a patio upstairs that’s perfect for…well, you can probably guess what goes on in the patio.
After walking past the donut table and a living statue, I ordered a mixed drink off of the mocktail menu. Ginger beer and hibiscus syrup, yum. But maybe not strong enough to get the ball rolling at an event hosted by NBA legend Shawn Kemp. Before I could have a crisis about whether I needed more than a mocktail, I rounded the corner to find two Green Revolution representatives with a cooler full of THC shots. Yep, 100 mg of a mixed berry THC shot tastes really good with ginger beer and hibiscus.
Note: I don’t think cannabis events actually require THC consumption to be fun and productive. In fact, I normally opt out so I don’t forget every conversation that takes place. So why did I dump my THC shot in my mocktail the second I got my hands on it? Some things just can’t be explained.
Honestly, I felt more inclined to consume at this event than others. It seemed to be the point. Brand representatives posted up at their stations, not just talking to others, but sharing an experience with them. You learn a lot watching someone interact with their own product.
This also brings me to an observation: A lot of brand reps don’t seem to fully know the product they’re representing. I was surprised by the number of conversations I witnessed that hit a dead end when a representative didn’t know the solvent used in their concentrate or the genetics that make up the flower they’re showcasing. Not knowing your product may not be the end of the world, but it’s certainly not a good way to instill confidence in a consumer or retailer. Companies sending new reps to events could benefit from at least keeping a fact sheet or key somewhere so they can answer specific questions.
At this point, the event was packed and the effects of that THC shot were fully realized. I didn’t notice it was fast-acting when I took it, so let’s just say I caught up to the dabbers on the deck real fast. Former NFL star and cannabis advocate Ricky Williams was on one side of the venue, chatting it up with guests. Across the way was Shawn Kemp’s section, where he and various guests conversed over blunts. Unfortunately, I did not get to meet or speak with the two. Did I mention I poured 100 mg of THC into my drink? The best I could do was stare from afar.
Downstairs, I held it together while I chatted with representatives from binske, which has only been in Washington for the last nine months or so. I’m pretty sure everything I said made sense. I tried both their mango and lemon lime gummies, which were delicious and, thankfully, unmedicated. Binske always shows up 100% with their branding, and this was emphasized when I looked down from their stylish booth setup to see I was standing on a binske rug. Nice touch.
I also enjoyed chatting with representatives from Equinox Gardens, Legacy Organics, and Blue Roots – all of which were well-versed in their products and processes and clearly passionate about their work. I haven’t tried any of these brands, but they are all on my radar now and I will be seeking them out next time I hit a dispensary.
I decided it was time to roll out after about three hours of bouncing back and forth between the upper deck and the inside. I was pretty exhausted mentally, having flip-flopped between thoughts about cannabis brands, the meaning of life, and how cool my young self would think I am for doing this with my career and life. I said goodbye to the parrot hanging out at the Captain Chronic booth, and made my way to the front of the large venue, a bag full of samples and swag in hand.
I hope more opportunities like this pop up, because it is really valuable to meet the people behind brands, especially in a setting where they can show off their products and share them with other like-minded consumers and professionals. This event also provided a key reminder for myself as I prepare for MJ Unpacked Vegas in just two weeks: keep it unmedicated. I look forward to engaging with brands and making new connections, and personally, that’s better for me when I have both feet on Earth.