cannaluxxe wellness expo

The First Cannaluxxe Wellness Expo: Event Recap & Interview with Founder, Vanessa Oliver

This past Juneteenth, a brand-new cannabis industry event touched down in the most exciting market in the country. Taking place in Queens, New York City, the Cannaluxxe Wellness Expo brought the cannabis and wellness industries together for a full day of weed and well-being. The trade-show-slash-conference nestled itself into the primp and polish of The Foundry, a breathtaking wedding venue, making use of its pristine rooms and zen-like outdoor areas with activities, talks, and an open-air brand market.

The First-Ever Cannaluxxe Wellness Expo: a Day of Weed and Well-Being

My day at the Cannaluxxe Wellness Expo was a delightful escape from a typical work day. Unlike your average business expo, Cannaluxxe was centered on relaxation, well-being, and connecting and learning from like-minded individuals in the space, focusing on Black and minority-owned businesses.

cannabis and wellness expo
cannabis and wellness expo

I entered the light-filled space where I was greeted with a goodie bag containing a range of products like CBD lube by HighOnLove, CBD body butter by Popped!, and an 8-gram hemp joint by Bogie/ MaryBrands. Businesses selling a range of products lined the main room on both the first-floor and the second-floor mezzanine. Each vendor was intriguing in its own way, from accessories like smell-proof bags by LittleJohn New York, to consumables like edibles by MaryBud Chocolates, wellness products like CBD lube by Pique, and services like cannabis coaching by Amy Chin, a cannabis travel agency, Front Row Travels, and the International Cannabis Consulting Business Women’s Association (ICBWA).

the foundry
the foundry

Heading upstairs not only led me to more vendors but also a gorgeous courtyard overlooking the Queensboro Bridge. This space hosted a handful of wellness activities and educational talks, including a sound bath and breath-work with Elevated Mindset Mastery, meditation with Camila Garcia, spiritual healing with cannabis with Jonathan Martinez, cannabis recovery tips by Megan Blackwell with BESO Wellness, and a CBD introduction class with Amy Chin. Beyond the first floor, grand doors opened to a large, manicured backyard area with more vendors and plenty of room to relax and light up. Certainly a highlight of the event— tucked behind lush greenery in a light-filled room was the Zaza Spa with free massages courtesy of Firehouse Wellness and A Friend In Knead.

Intimate, relaxing, and educational, the Cannaluxxe Wellness Expo is a welcomed addition to the cannabis trade show circuit. The cozy space and meditative, yet informative nature of the event was a pleasant escape from intimidating conference rooms and packed networking spaces. Between the wellness activities, inviting space, and connecting with new and familiar faces alike, I left The Foundry feeling refreshed after my day at the Cannaluxxe Wellness Expo.

cannaluxxe wellness expo nyc
cannaluxxe wellness expo nyc

Interview with Vanessa Oliver, CEO of Cloud 9 Studios & Founder of the Cannaluxxe Wellness Expo

I had a chance to ask the woman behind the event, Vanessa Oliver of Cloud 9 Studios, a handful of questions about her inspiration and visions for the Cannaluxxe Wellness Expo. On October 15, 2023, the expo will debut in Las Vegas.

What was the driving force behind starting a cannabis and wellness expo?

How do you feel about our social climate in a world where mental health is an epidemic? Many express feeling helpless to our circumstances; but we are not. Cannaluxxe Wellness Expo is a radical effort to prove that.

I am considered a “new-ish” consumer; my first consumption experience was in 2015 when someone gave me a 100mg peppermint cookie for chronic stress-induced anxiety. It was awful…. the cookie tasted great, but the experience 45 minutes in was enough to nearly turn me away from cannabis for good. A familiar and relatable story that resounds in our industry.

However, I was not derailed and considered how my experience could be different if I simply understood what I was doing. I micro-dosed on my next attempt, which proved to be more pleasant; from there, I played with variations of indica vs. sativa, terpenes, different consumption methods, dosing, strains, etc. The more I discovered all of the ways I could customize the practice and attract an experience I desired, the more it became evident that cannabis is subjective and personal. Her benefits are apparent when in alignment with an individual’s specific needs in accordance to their human design. It’s what we call conscious consumption.

I tested this theory by offering a CBD education event to my son’s PTA. I engaged 35 curious parents through a sensory-based event that included a Q&A panel with select local brands, followed by one-on-one interactions with their products and services. The event focused on ways in which cannabis interacts with each of our individual senses; gustatory (taste), olfactory (smell), auditory (hearing), tactile (touch), visual (sight), vestibular (movement), and proprioceptive (awareness).

This interactive approach stimulates curiosity and expands consciousness around general wellness knowledge. Immersing consumers with hands-on education in an experiential environment produces fluency and supports the bridge toward healthy consumption habits.

How do you envision the CannaLuxxe Wellness Expo benefiting the cannabis industry and the wellness community? Are there any specific outcomes you hope to achieve with the expo?

CWE is a resource with a vision to leverage collaborations that address the mental and physical challenges impacting our communities. As a single mother and business owner, I empathize with everyone struggling to keep up with the basic demands of life; I empathize with 99% of our population.

CWE is an act of love— the collaborative effort of industry leaders and providers working together to make education and relief accessible and comprehensive to the global market.

Our wellness mindset and masterclasses programs honor all religions, spiritual practices, and lifestyle journeys. We offer on-site services that embody sustainable lifestyle routines while connecting you to brands exhibiting the most innovative products and tools of the industry’s Tomorrowland.
In what ways do you anticipate the expo contributing to the ongoing destigmatization of cannabis and the promotion of its medicinal benefits?

It’s not necessarily the policymakers we are interested in; it’s the people who influence their day-to-day whether as significant others, family members, health providers, or extended community. We are committed to serving those who stand to be a voice of impact on the policies influencing our communities.

The expo fosters an environment of wonderment, curiosity, education, play, and above all, safety. There is no pressure to consume, only the opportunity to explore cannabis at your desired pace, while enjoying wellness practices consumers are already familiar with.

We are excited to be leading the charge with our focus on education and influencing a more informed and responsible cannabis culture. Whether through packaging or the dispensary experience, I foresee efforts to build comprehension around different strains, dosing guidelines, and potential risks becoming prevalent.

Increased legalization as it continues to gain momentum globally. More countries and states are likely to legalize medicinally and recreationally, expanding markets and opportunities for businesses in the industry.

As mainstream acceptance continues to grow, research and consumer interest in her health benefits will lead to the development of more wellness-focused initiatives, increasing consumption and integration into daily routines.

More emphasis on quality standards and consumer safety regulations, as well as diversification with innovations of products (i.e., flowers, concentrates, edibles) and services in alignment with other industries (i.e., technology, banking, real estate, etc.).

What are your future plans for the expo and CannaLuxxe brand? Are there any expansions or additional events in the pipeline aside from the Las Vegas edition in October?

We are inspired by the Montessori approach and continue to evolve our curriculum and experience with the most impactful and informative resources that operate as an exciting tool for the consumer’s alternative wellness journey. This comes by transporting guests into an immersive environment that nurtures comprehension through masterclasses, attractions, entertainment, and lifestyle amenities for their inner child. Our New York show offers guests five instructor-led courses, a dedicated spa room with our partners Firehouse Wellness, and a 5-course infused dining experience with our partners Natural High Co.

When we showcase at the Artisan Hotel in Las Vegas, our concepts will expand to include an overnight experience for guests. Although I can’t yet disclose all the details for our 2024 tour, we plan to return to New York and Las Vegas and look forward to announcing two new locations, including an international destination.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or individuals looking to enter the cannabis and wellness industry?

Let your vision be big, but your focus be small. The industry is like a carousel revolving through the wild west and the golden age of film. The road to achievement is part who you know and part doing whatever you feel is necessary to execute your ideas. Both take perseverance and faith in yourself, especially through challenges. Above all, operate with integrity, even when others don’t.

What is your favorite way to consume cannabis?

No shade on smoke and vape, but it’s not my thing. I’m an edibles girl and am all about enjoying these summer days with crisp California Sober cocktails.

What is your favorite cannabis-infused wellness activity?

Hiking. There is nothing more divinely feminine and centering than nature. Also, meditation; it’s become my staple to offer cannabis and meditation to every adult that visits my home.

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