CannaCon Santa Rosa

When: April 20-22

Where: Sonoma County Fairgrounds

Admission: $40-$150 for 1-day access, $100-$300 for 3-day access, $420 VIP All Access



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Ever heard of biochar soil amendment? Or fractional distillation?

It’s part of the vernacular to many in the cannabis industry. The practical, the scientific and the business-oriented stuff will be on display at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds today through Saturday at an event for people involved with marijuana and the ever-broadening entrepreneurship tied to its production and sales.

CannaCon is billed as an event “where the cannabis industry does business.” Its organizers have brought the Seattle-based trade show to Santa Rosa as its first venture into California in a three-day event expected to draw upwards of 5,000 people each day.

Event founder Bob Smart said his event is modeled after the home and garden shows he produced for more than a decade, events aimed at promoting visibility, networking and sales. He said CannaCon lacks much of the pun-infused trappings of other cannabis-related events aimed at a pot-smoking lifestyle.

“People come to CannaCon to do business. There are not a lot of lookie-lous,” Smart said.

Smart said he chose Sonoma County because it’s a hub of cannabis- rich Northern California. The Santa Rosa event will be the first time CannaCon has welcomed marijuana consumption at its trade show. Smart said he made the decision in large part to honor the timing: April 20, or 420.

People with medical recommendations can consume marijuana in a tent outside the Grace Pavilion, a condition required in their contract with the fairgrounds, he said.

About 245 booths will fill Grace Pavilion hawking hydroponic soil mixes, specialized nutrients, indoor lighting systems, distilling and purifying devices, specialized software, marketing, legal and accounting services.

Panel discussions over three days cover topics such as private investing and emerging technology, utility and pest management, packaging and distribution. Discussions also will deal with regulations and the law, including a Friday panel led by Sonoma County and Santa Rosa permit and planning officials.

Hezekiah Allen, president of the California Growers Association, and Fiona Ma, California Board of Equalization board member, will head up a panel discussion on state and local tax regulations.

“I think holding the event in Santa Rosa shows a high level of awareness of the emerging cannabis marketplace in our state,” Allen said.

CannaCon held its third annual Seattle event in February, and Smart estimated between $60-70 million products and services were sold.

Recreational legalization in Washington and Colorado has forced cultivators to grapple with a plummeting price-per-pound value of marijuana, which has put technology and science solutions in overdrive to assist cultivators, according to Smart.

“They need to get very efficient fast,” Smart said.

CannaCon runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road. The entrance fee is $50.

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