Officially known as the The Hemp and Cannabis Fair, this event is held in a number of cities across the states where cannabis is recreationally legal. Local businesses that wish to cater to the cannabis community can use this event like any industry trade show. Booths are available along with spots for seminars and competitions. The Bend THC Fair was an amazing expo.
If you haven’t had a chance to attend a THC Fair yet, you have one more chance this season. The final THC Fair of the year will be in Salem Oregon on the 5th and 6th of November. After that, you will have to wait until after the holidays to get announcements for next season. Besides taking a much needed breather from touring the states, the crew will be planning out and getting ready for next year’s events.
This was the third time the THC Fair has been in Central Oregon.
Previously they have held the event at the Deschutes County Fair Grounds in Redmond Oregon (about 15 miles away) last May. They had almost 1000 attendees last time which was a third larger than the first THC Fair held there the year previous. This felt like it was going to be a more personal environment than the previous times I had attended.
This time the Fair was held at The Riverhouse in Bend. Nestled in the heart of Bend and overlooking the Deschutes river, The Riverhouse is a beautiful hotel and event center. Getting to the event was simple with ample parking available. A constant stream of people walking to the event made navigation even easier. The door was busy but traffic was being directed efficiently and productively into and out of the event. After getting through the door I knew who I wanted to see first. The event Director was easy to find.
I talked with Naomi Forkash, the Director of the THC Fair about the event.
I asked her how the Bend THC Fair was doing compared to previous Central Oregon events. “This looks to be the biggest year yet. We are on schedule to have over 2500 attendees and have 72 booths this weekend.” Looking around, the place was packed with people and booths. The soft lighting made taking pictures difficult but added a more relaxed atmosphere than usual to the weekend.
I asked Naomi what was different about the Bend THC Fair compared to others she has held up and down the coast. She took a moment to think. She told me “This is the best showing we have had for local shops. There are more dispensaries at this event than any other we have had.” Her response reflected my own experience with Central Oregon. With nearly a dozen dispensaries present, it felt like they were everywhere.
After thanking Naomi for her time, I set off to find out what this fair had in store for me.
One of the first things I noticed was the total lack of cannabis. It seems that mere days before the Bend THC Fair, the OLCC decided that there were not going to be any medicated samples or sales at the event. In fact, the OLCC was present throughout the event, acting like an overprotective mother.
Hovering would be the wrong word for it but the feeling of pressured surveillance was ever-present. The officers I dealt with looked more bored than anything else but their presence put many of the vendors and more astute attendees on edge. Attendees were sad about not getting free samples but most of the dispensaries had games and prizes that helped alleviate the underlying tension. Many of the Bend THC Fair attendees expressed their displeasure at the lack of samples, directing most of their ire towards the OLCC.
The Medication Station for example, had a weed pong game where people could win one of three prizes.
Get one point and score 20% off glass. Sink two and receive a free gift like a lighter or hempwiick. Sink all three and get entered in a raffle for a free bong. I missed my last shot but managed to walk away with a nice lighter for my friends to steal. Getting to pick the brain of the crew was also nice.
I asked the Medication Station what made them decide to get a booth. Store manager Bob Helms said “We love meeting new customers, faces and friends.” As a dispensary, they were most affected by the ban on THC sales. The Medication Station crew had a great attitude about the whole situation. Across from the Medication Station was a booth that has come to be a regular stop for me.
The Perfect Pipe is one of my favorite glass pipes of all time.
I have used it regularly for my personal consumption for months now and rarely do I pick up one of my other pieces. I noticed that this time, the booth looked significantly more busy than previous events. Due to the growth the Perfect Pipe company has experienced, they have been able to develop additional branding avenues and accessories. They brought many of their new toys to the Bend THC Fair.
The Perfect Pipe is carried in stores across the Pacific North West and available online from almost anywhere in the world. One of the best indications of success is repeat sales and the Perfect Pipe is excelling in that area according to the owner. I loved their product so much that I picked up their newest product as well. It’s a quartz dab straw called the Perfect Pen. based off the same scientific principals as the Perfect Pipe except focused on dabs. I can’t wait to let you know all about it.
The Seeds Here Now booth was my next stop.
I touched in with CEO James Bean and asked him a few questions. He was on point and really knew his stuff. James explained that he had a stable of top breeders that have been breeding continuously since at least 2010. With names like DJ Short, TH Seeds and Exotic Genetix within a list of over 35 breeders, Seeds Here Now has made a point of vetting their breeders to only have original genetics.
With over 450 strains in their bank, the Seeds Here Now team provide everyone from 100 light commercial operations to single plant recreational growers with the right kind of seed. While some growers may want feminized auto-flowering strains with high yields, other might want a more unique flavor profile or a particularly easy to grow strain. Regardless of the seed you need, these guys have an option.
Their breeders get hooked up with slick packaging, beautiful information cards, retail representation and distribution. As the market moves forward, intellectual property and distribution rights are going to be more important than ever. Rights will be especially important considering names like Girl Scout Cookies, The Incredible Hulk and Charlotte’s Web have been outright banned by the OLCC over concerns for children.
A company at the Bend THC Fair that is also trying to protect children is Hisierra.
Maker of the most eco-friendly child-resistant bag on the market, Hisierra is a family run company with years of experience in the packaging field. This was their first THC Fair and they were very pleased with the turnout as well as the local reception. They are OLCC certified, come in three sizes, and are shipped in boxes of 420. The packages are simple, effective and aptly named. They are the large Weekender, the medium Daytripper, and the small Dose Amigos. Several of the local dispensaries already have Hisierra product in their stores.
The continuously reclosable bags Hiseirra produces are made from sugar cane in a wind powered factory. The whole process is built from the ground up to be responsible, sustainable, and renewable. Not only is it as eco-friendly as possible, it complies with both ASTM 6866 and is certified as child resistant according to D3475 with the American Society of Testing and Materials, a federal and state recognized standard. Any dispensary looking for eco-friendly, continuously reclosable, OLCC approved packaging should take a good look at Hiseirra.
There were so many booths and vendors that I have more than I can share in one article.
I want to be sure to highlight all of the incredible and diverse businesses represented at the Bend THC Fair but that will have to wait for part two. That’s right, this story isn’t over yet. I still have so many businesses to try and highlight that I need to do another article about it.
In part two I will talk about more of the dispensaries I talked to, wellness consultants, CBD products, Farming supplies and networking. The people I have met and stories I have learned at the THC Fair are amazing. From the overwhelmingly positive public opinion to the inspirational and informational seminars, the Hemp and Cannabis Fair is an inspiration.
The support and network that the THC Fair facilitates is a true boon to the cannabis community. Everyone at the event seems to agree that the THC Fair is exactly what the doctor ordered. I can’t wait to give you the next taste of the place in part two. Until next time, thanks for reading.