Prague’s Cannafest boasts itself as “The World’s Largest Cannabis Trade Show” and is held annually in Prague, Czech Republic. With over 260 exhibitors from 26 countries spread throughout one of the city’s largest convention centers, it is certainly one of the globe’s biggest and has been growing steadily for the past nine years. While THC products are not allowed to be displayed, sold or consumed on-site, patrons imbibed with little fear of harassment in the outdoor food court, in passageways between the event halls and outside the venue. As is usually the case at European cannabis trade shows, the major seed companies; Barney’s Farm, Sensi Seeds, Positronics, Dutch Passion, Paradise Seeds, Green House and DNA Genetics rented the largest booths, gave away the most stuff, and seemed to do the briskest business.
What seemed new at Cannafest was the wide array of companies selling CBD oils, seeds, dried flowers, edibles, ointments, creams and tinctures, many of which can be found in supermarkets, tobacco and head shops all over Europe. Ilesol, a Croatian company, had the widest array of CBD oils, distillate and isolates and use water to create terpsolate, yellow chunks of delicious smelling terpenes that resemble ginger candies.
While most of the available CBD products were derived from hemp, a Swiss company, Götter Garten, provided samples of and sold 2 gram containers of their excellent Cleopatra and Joan of Arc CBD strains, both of which were derived from AC/DC and Cannatonic for only 10 Euro, a bargain that beats California prices and was far lower than prices advertised through their dispensary in Vienna, Austria. The grower manning the booth explained that distributing CBD flowers in Europe can be a bit risky, especially when the product is as pungent as theirs, because it looks exactly like THC flowers.
Currently, it is legal to ship cannabis products anywhere in Europe, so long as they contain less than 1 percent THC. Despite labels proclaiming as much, customs officers and police are sometimes confused and may confiscate dried flowers and force the shipper to spend some time in jail until things get cleared up. As of now, no European countries require the graphic, gruesome pictures of cancerous body parts that adorn labels on packs of cigarettes, but some do force sellers of dried CBD flowers to provide warning labels explaining the dangers of smoking.
Cannafest provided a decent slate of D.J.’s and a few bands in a hall away from the main convention floor. Anyone with a day pass could attend nightly after parties held at various venues around the city. Techno music, drum and bass and other electronic music dominated the line-ups, but the reggae bands Medial Banana and Uwe Banton played to large, happy crowds. Throughout the three days, patrons were treated to comedy, beat box, yo-yo displays, juggling, jump rope and breakdance exhibitions held in a spacious lounge room with dozens of well-used bean bag chairs and a barber ambulance offering free haircuts. Wannabe tattoo artists were given an opportunity to practice on bananas. Parents were encouraged to bring children who could safely play in a “kid’s corner” offering face painting, balloons, stuffed animals and babysitters.
A workshop zone sponsored by the Czech non-governmental advocacy group Kanopa demonstrated how to make hempcrete, hemp beer, fiber for clothing and the benefits of using worms to create compost. The Cannafest professional conference was well-attended and featured a wide range of international cannabis experts from Israel, Canada, U.S., U.K., Croatia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Australia and Slovenia. While some speakers offered little more than a sales pitch, most provided fascinating new information on driving while high, medical advances, and the roles of civil disobedience and education in promoting cannabis decriminalization.
By John Veit
TELL US, have you ever attended an international cannabis event?