I recently attended a cannabis trade show in Maine, called NECANN. I found myself immersed in an atmosphere that went beyond mere business transactions and product showcases. At this home growing focused event, what struck me most was the remarkable sense of community. From industry veterans to curious newcomers, people from all walks of life came together to celebrate their shared passion for cannabis, forging connections that transcended boundaries and stereotypes.
One of the most captivating aspects of the event was the incredible diversity of attendees. All walks of life merged - backgrounds became irrelevant in the face of a common interest and strangers struck up conversations effortlessly, bound by their love for the plant. I was able to be a part of conversations with veteran growers that have more than forty years of experience, and exchange stories with first time growers. Across from my booth, I connected with two individuals from Serbia who are building a filter design business and are absolutely crushing it. This melting pot of perspectives created an environment where learning and understanding were not just encouraged, but celebrated.
The trade show provided a safe space for attendees to openly discuss their experiences with cannabis. From a “vape tent” outside, to conversations with a new friend about the medicinal benefits of the plant, shared experiences flowed seamlessly into discussions about responsible recreational and medical use. The sharing of personal triumphs and challenges broke down long-standing stigmas associated with cannabis consumption. It was evident that as people connected through their stories, misconceptions were dispelled, and a more accurate portrayal of the cannabis community emerged.
Visiting workshops, panels, and the various booths demonstrated the eagerness of the community to continue learning. These educational sessions not only fostered a sense of camaraderie among enthusiasts eager to learn, but they also highlighted the collaborative nature of the cannabis community. Experts and novices alike shared insights and innovations as a testament to the collective desire to improve and evolve.
A mutual understanding of the challenges of home growing created an atmosphere of solidarity that was incredibly moving. It was a reminder that the cannabis community extends far beyond the confines of the event, with individuals committed to supporting each other on their unique journeys. This show served as a vivid illustration of how a shared passion can transcend societal divides. Attendees from diverse backgrounds found common ground in their love for cannabis, creating a community that thrived on connection, education, and empathy. This experience demonstrated that, at its core, the cannabis movement is about more than just products and profits; it's about the people who come together to celebrate a plant that has the power to unite and uplift us all.
Author: Catie O'Connor