It’s already upon us! There’s excitement in the air as convention season comes to the Highlands, with all the vendors, booths, media, fanfare and food truck blitzes that come along! It’s the only time that bystanders can get hard-hitting information not readily available elsewhere, such as regional cannabis magazines, cannabis doctor offices, online newsfeeds, all search engines, the glass shop next to the dispensary, around their friend’s coffee table, and other conventions. “This is the one place you can really connect with the experts,” says Ginny Fiedler, co-founder of KishCon. “Unless you’re going to one of the nine other KishCon’s.”
“I’m really pumped to be here,” said exhibitor and small business owner, Professor Barnaby Jones. “I really need to sell about four boxes of novelty shirts with a cannabis leaf that lights up like a Christmas Tree, would you perhaps want to buy one? How about a box?”
“My wife won’t let me come home until they’re gone,” he added. “Please, I beg of you.”
While many follow the conventions to network and sell awful business ideas, others do it for the camaraderie. A caravan of fans known as ‘Vention’eers’ has propagated alongside the circuit, sometimes interweaving between adjacent or simultaneous expos, but always appearing in some capacity, whether in full costume, or in cognito, simply to smake the free dime-bags and sneak extra edibles samples.
Still, for those hardcore Ventioneers, conventions are life, and the industry is a league of iconic all-stars.
“Usually Molly Trimbleton’s kick-off demo of the new seed-to-sale POS systems can set the tone for the rest of the expo,” said hardcore fan, Wally Renfrick. “I’ll never forget how emotional she got about accounting for shrinkage due to moisture loss. It literally changed my life.”
“It was so awesome to see the leaders of NewWeedRXSeekIt unveil their dispensary-finding mobile app,” said another fan. “RIP. They went out of business shortly following the lecture, but it happens. A lot.”
The small crowd of familiar faces grows and wanes throughout the season. They’ve traversed together from Stemville, to St. Blunts and beyond, always purchasing tickets well in advance, and not when marked down at last minute by desperate promoters. They camp in crawlspaces and in cars, eating leftover festival fare, kept warm by the fire of all the pamphlets and flyers from booths and sunken-eyed flyer-pushers. But their spirits are not broken. “We’re blessed to be here because you just don’t see this kind of stuff every day,” said Renfrick. “unless you go to dispensaries, and see this kind of stuff with some regularity.”
Then there’s Trig Upthall, who quietly tends his booth the same way he presides over a small but functional cannabis charity: The Buds for Trig Foundation, of which he is sole member and beneficiary. “This has been a good year for us,” Upthall says. “Membership has been down, but donations are steady, and really, that’s why we do what we do.” His booth sat empty but had flyers.
Dispatches was unavailable to confirm the VIP ticket details for any conventions for this story, other than higher pricing.
UPCOMING CONVENTIONS DATES
Highlands Awesome Cannabis Conference and Expo Nov 27-28
Expo of the Awesome Highlands Conference and General Assembly Dec 1-2
The Olly Olly Oxen Free Conference and World Smakery Summit Dec 9
Canna She is Your Friend Convention and NeoCannaRadIndyEx Cup Dec 17-18
Boothy Boothington Booth Contest with Local Dive Bar Reggae Trio Jan 1-3
Mary Jane Is Calling Your Name So Let’s Roll Another Expo Jan 3-4
I’ll Smake Your Kish If You Listen To Me Babble Lecture Series Jan 14-21
The Smaky Smakerton Classic Tournament and Also, Booths Jan 23-25
**More dates and times can be found on our office bulletin board
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