Handblown glass competitions, new product launches and an unparalleled counterculture legacy are what make CHAMPS one of the premiere B2B events. And the Las Vegas winter show is the proverbial jewel in the glittering crown of cannabis trade shows. CHAMPS 2023 ran from February 8-11, and while the temperature outside was cold, inside the glass-blowing competition was hot.
Two thousand booths selling cannabis products, vapes, pipes and other consumption devices gave the 16,000 attendees plenty to look at. Celebrity guest appearances from Mike Tyson, Snoop Dog, Trailer Park Boys, several pro football players and pro wrestlers Rick Flair and Floyd May Weather Senior drew large crowds around their respective booths. One of the show’s enduring highlights, the Glass Games, attracted an impressive crowd, and over $100,000 in cash and prizes were awarded to the talented artists. Pipe Raider by California’s Adam Whobrey, otherwise known as Hoobs Glass, took home the coveted first place and $20,000 in prize money.
A genuine sense of community among the vendors and attendees is a testament to the show’s longevity and continued relevance in today’s ever-changing industry. The overall atmosphere inside the Las Vegas Convention Center was fun, friendly and informative.
“The love and comradery on the show floor was amazing,” said Jeff Hirschfeld, founder and owner of CHAMPS. “I had multiple retailer buyers tell me that CHAMPS Trade Shows have helped them keep their doors open and remain vibrant and profitable. It brought tears to my eyes!”
Stand Out Brands from CHAMPS 2023
But the real MVPs of the 2023 Vegas CHAMPS were brands that are striving for true innovation and pushing legalization forward. As we walked the aisles, the creativity emanating from all the different booths fought for our attention. Here, five stand-out brands from the 2023 CHAMPS trade show share their thoughts on the trade show—and the future.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Grav has been creating high-quality borosilicate smokeware for nearly two decades. Founder David Daily is regarded as one of the true innovative pioneers of the glass industry. He began making pipes in 2004 and attended his first CHAMPS back in 2005 on the recommendation of one of his raw glass suppliers. Back then, Daily says, there were only 100 booths. It was very close to Operation Pipe Dream—the DEA sting that put Tommy Chong in jail—so people were nervous about being seen promoting the industry.
Daily decided to take the risk. He remembers looking around the tables of bongs and thinking, “Oh my god, this is where I’m supposed to be.” He sold into hundreds of smoke shops from that first trade show, putting Grav on the map.
“It’s not a stretch to say that CHAMPS made my company,” Daily says. “It would have taken me much longer to figure out how to get distribution in this in this network without the CHAMPS trade show.”
Daily’s favorite thing about CHAMPS is the people. “Smokeshop owners are literally the most amazing entrepreneurs on the planet,” he says. “They’re resilient and they’re smart.”
Regarded by many as one of, if not the cannabis lifestyle brands in California, Stiiizy strives to influence, inspire and innovate. The company launched its new hemp line at CHAMPS because, as Stiiizy Hemp President Nathan Jo says, “Who does it better than CHAMPS?”
“CHAMPS has been an ongoing dominant show in the space where it brings buyers from every angle with corresponding businesses,” Jo says. “It’s such great timing for us to enter into the hemp space.”
Stiiizy’s new hemp products are available coast to coast and stay under the THC limit stipulated in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Octave is an LA-based high-tech hardware company that designs and manufactures some of the most cutting-edge cannabis gadgets in the world. The company also makes hardware for some of the largest brands in the space and has collaborated with Cookies, MotherShip Glass and Stiiizy.
“The energy was amazing,” says Davis Clayton Kiyo, Octave’s founder and CEO. “It was our best tradeshow yet.”
Kiyo demonstrated his futuristic cannabis gadgets, including the Battpak, a 10,000 mAh portable battery pack with a secret button that opens to reveal a magnetic rolling tray, wallet area and a strap for your joints, blunts, carts and more.
When asked what’s next for Octave, Kiyo revealed that he’s “working on some flower tech that we believe will disrupt the industry.”
Packwoods is a premium pre-roll blunt company known as one of the first brands to use glass filters in their products to ensure customers enjoy a smooth draw from the first to the last. Founded in 2018, Packwoods has built a strong, loyal customer fanbase with unique hand-rolled blunts that deliver consistent, quality experiences.
“CHAMPS is always a good show,” says Anthony Capone, owner and CEO of Packwoods. “We’re venturing out of the cannabis THC space into other products including hemp wraps, cone filters, delta-8, delta-9 and delta-10, which gives us the ability to spread the brand worldwide. CHAMPS has been a big supporter of our journey.”
Capone says “global expansion” isn’t far off. Currently, Packwoods’ products are available in California, Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Michigan and Florida, with New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois launches coming soon. Plus, Packwoods will soon be available in Israel. “We’re starting up in Israel, and Canada is on the horizon,” Capone says. “We’re also selling our HHC and delta products all over Europe.”
G-Rollz is an Amsterdam-based smoking accessories company that collabs with the most popular artists to create practical and stylish products. During CHAMPS 2022, G-Rollz approached Aziz Panjwani, founder of Toro Imports, one of the original smoke shops in Texas, to distribute its products.
“G-Rollz is a family-owned company and we’re a family-owned company,” says Aziz’s son, Aaziel. “It just clicked.”
“I love CHAMPS; it’s the best,” Aziz says. “You get to make good connections; it’s good for networking. My dad has been here for years—probably since the beginning. I’ve only been here seven times.”
If you didn’t make it to Las Vegas, there are more CHAMPS trade shows taking place across the country. Check out the list below and visit champstradeshows.com for details.
- Atlantic City, New Jersey—May 9-11
- Chicago, Illinois—June 6-8
- Summer VLAs Vegas, Nevada—July 19-22
- Denver, Colorado—September 27-28
- Tampa, Florida—October 25-27