The 2021 edition of Hall of Flowers in Santa Rosa at the Sonoma County Fair & Event Center was another pivotal moment for California’s legal cannabis industry. Many refer to this event as the “SuperBowl for weed,” and after over a year of event closures from COVID-19, and a digital event last year, the Hall of Flowers team came correct with an outstanding B2B expo. They once again set a new standard for cannabis business events by expanding on 2019’s footprint and featuring close to 300 exhibitors across three halls. This year, there were approximately 4,000 attendees across two days of invaluable networking.
This year, there was a combination of on-site retail from individual cultivation and distribution brands, as well as a pop-up dispensary in a separate hall provided by NUG, TREEZ, and Surfside. This even further enabled guests to exchange coupons and a small dollar amount for samples of licensed products. With a full-on field of bean bag chairs in the center of the fairgrounds, and an expansive outdoor lounge from AVD (Advanced Vapor Devices,) consuming products on-site was not only legal but highly encouraged.
Hall of Flowers does a phenomenal job at curating California’s best cannabis brands for their expo. They also create a bubbling atmosphere that truly connects buyers and press to quality companies. When Respect My Region made the announcement of our attendance, many PR companies and brands reached out beforehand to ensure we could connect. This made scheduling much easier and our meetings that much more efficient amidst the expo.
At other big expos like CannaCon, MJBizCon, and Indo Expo, the majority of business is done on the exhibition floors and surrounding areas within the event. At Hall of Flowers though, there is always an electric vibe no matter where you go. Whether it’s within the three exhibition halls or outside in one of the lounges, it seemed like even people relaxing and smoking were connecting the dots and making moves.
The first day was packed to the brim with buyers. The energy was big, and people were determined to visit every booth. Since the expo is B2B, it’s more corporate than many other weed events in California. Its walls are filled with giant brands and CEOs, and the conversations are all centered around business.
Attendees were able to connect with brands like Buddies, Cactus Farms, STIIIZY, Grizzly Peak Farms, Dr. Dabber, The Cure Company, and so many more. The full list of exhibitors is expansive. Their booths offered tickets for samples, educational brochures, and an opportunity to talk to some of the industry’s most brilliant minds.
The activations provided a kinetic experience, allowing buyers to immerse themselves in each brand. Buyers could be seen holding in-depth, animated conversations with brand representatives, trying products, and moving their way forward to the next booth—each buyer was on a mission to find the best of the best. Even in the Loyalty Lounge exclusively meant for buyers, there was business being done while everyone enjoyed complimentary food and drinks.
Image via @hall_of_flowers on LinkedIn
The second day was equally as exciting, with attendees rushing in from the moment the gates opened. While the previous day had been very buyer-focused, Day Two was more focused on bringing in everyone with general admission passes.
Our team had a great time walking around, and we were constantly meeting people and putting faces to names. A lot of interaction in 2020 and 2021 has been virtual, so it was refreshing to talk in person and make firm connections. We also enjoyed the various outdoor activations from brands such as Raw Garden, Traditional, Packwoods, PAX, and Garcia Hand Picked that brought people into their spaces in unique ways. During the afternoon, we also made sure to check out all of the amazing food trucks and dining options while also enjoying the free water refill station.
On day two, we really made sure we also connected with every brand in exhibit halls A, B, and C. We found that at every booth, you were likely to run into one of the founders or even CEOs of the companies exhibiting. This further proved to us the elite status of this industry-only expo.
Image via @hall_of_flowers on IG and LinkedIn
Hall of Flowers brings in the most eclectic crowd of cannabis industry movers and shakers. Our team spotted Gary Vaynerchuk walking around talking to attendees, Smoke DZA at The Cure Company’s booth, and Jim Belushi walking the expo floor and shaking hands at the Bhang booth. Jcures from West Coast Cure was also seen walking around, as well as our friends Bill and Jeff from Beard Bros Pharms, and The Pot Brothers at Law.
The Hall of Flowers holds a two-day speaker series called Core Conversations. These panels were held in their own separate hall. Sessions included speakers Tammy Pettigrew, the Cannabis Cutie, Mary Pryor, founder of Cannaclusive, Elliot Lewis, CEO of Catalyst, Chris Walsh, CEO of MJBiz, and more.
“The gathering of our community and sharing of industry learnings has long been at the core of the Hall of Flowers experience. We always aim to add value beyond the show floor,” said Lincoln Barnett III, Partnerships lead for Hall of Flowers. We were able to sit in on a few panels from Elliot Lewis, Jun S. Lee, and more and soak up the extremely valuable insight they had to provide.
Lincoln Barnett III of Hall of Flowers and Jun S. Lee, Founder, and President of NABIS
Favorite Brand Activations
There were close to 300 different booths at Hall of Flowers Santa Rosa. Each brand brought their own unique energy and creativity to their booth activations. We noticed several though that went above and beyond to stand out and give attendees the ability to truly interact and learn. The Canadian hardware group TOQi incorporated AR, or Augmented Reality, into their activation. We didn’t see anyone else doing anything similar, plus their hardware is possibly the fastest charging and most reliable in the game right now.
The Cure Company continues to prove to us that they may cultivate the best weed in California, and their booth allowed you to smell all of their outstanding (and upcoming) strains. King’s Garden really made an impression with the sampled product they had at the event, and we feel like they are on the up-and-up in a big way. Dulze is the only edible company in California importing ingredients from Mexico and was giving out delicious Aguas Frescas, horchata, and non-infused gummies to attendees.
Buddies Brand definitely won Best Dressed in their white painter’s gear printed with their colorful green branding. Ball Family Farms had a basketball pop-a-shot that definitely brought us in. Dutchie had a beautiful rebrand they showed off at their booth that was very educational and entertaining. There are so many more worth mentioning but these were a few of the memorable brand activations we saw.
An essential part of any big expo like Hall of Flowers is the afterparties. Even here, there was still plenty of networking and business taking place along with plenty of celebrating. Respect My Region was invited out to multiple afterparties thrown by Natura Life Science, and we can’t thank them enough for their hospitality.
Noteworthy events we went to after Hall of Flowers were Natura’s dinner and the High Hopes party at Fern Bar on night one. On night two, we were able to make it out to the Pastry’s party at 3 Disciples Brewing. At the end of both nights, everyone always wound up at the Flamingo Resort to keep smoking and networking until the wee hours.
Get Ready For Hall Of Flowers Palm Springs & The Hall of Flowers Experience at MJBizCon
There was so much going on and not enough time to see it all, but we went out of our way to experience everything that Hall of Flowers Santa Rosa had to offer. The key to capitalizing on HoF is to relentlessly follow up via call, email, and DM on social media. It’s imperative to attend events like these, as well as the afterparties to succeed in California cannabis. If you weren’t able to attend this year’s Hall of Flowers at Santa Rosa, don’t worry! They have two more events coming up.
Tap in now to get ready for Hall of Flowers Palm Springs and Las Vegas editions. December 8-9, 2021, you can find them in Palm Springs bringing the same energy from Santa Rosa. If you’re attending MJBizCon in Las Vegas this October 19-21, you can explore the Hall of Flowers Experience. Don’t miss out on the most valuable B2B expo in the cannabis industry, sign up for the next Hall of Flowers in Palm Springs and Las Vegas now.