In September 2018, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa hosted a two-day, B2B cannabis trade show, Hall of Flowers, which left folks in the canna-biz buzzing over how well-organized, well-curated, and well-designed it was, especially considering it was the first time for the show. The organizers have a background in producing music and fashion trade shows, and it shone through in the show floor’s minimalist yet approachable design, smart selection of top cannabis brands and buyers, cool photographic elements, upbeat music, and chill-out spaces (including a popular ping-pong table).
There was even a rousing keynote from Gary Vaynerchuk to a packed room and standing-room-only audience after the first day of the show (which you can watch here). His message of collaboration was so inspiring that my posse and I were mulling over how effective it would have been to begin the trade show with his talk—it really would have set a positive and extra-engaged tone for the entire show and interactions.
There were around 150 brands at Hall of Flowers, exhibiting existing products to brand-new ones (Kiva launched their new Camino line of gummies at the show) to sneak peeks of products that are coming soon (well, as soon as they make it through some regulatory hurdles). It was fun to have some SoCal brands in the house that I haven’t seen before, with some hoping to ramp up distribution here in NorCal. Over 1,500 guests attended the show, with 300–400 buyers.
Here’s a sneak peek at five of the most interesting and high-quality edibles and beverages I spotted at the show that cannabis lovers can look forward to trying very soon.
Camino Gummies by Kiva Confections
Bay Area cannabis manufacturer Kiva Confections is known for their Terra Bites (both in blueberry and espresso bean), chocolate Kiva Bars, and their microdoser favorite Petra Mints (in matcha mint and eucalyptus), but now they have a new cannabis-infused gummy product line to share: Camino. The name refers to California’s El Camino Real, which extends from San Diego all the way to Sonoma.
Each of the four gummies has a flavor that pays homage to California produce and regional flavors, and each has its own blend of THC, CBD, and terpenes for a desired effect. Kiva has been working on these recipes and formulations for over two years, integrating both academic terpene research and consumer feedback.
The Pineapple Habanero gummies are paired with stimulating sativa terpenes for the perfect daytime gummy (5mg of THC), while the Sparkling Pear Prosecco is designed to be social, with 6mg of CBD and 2mg of THC for a pleasant high without inducing anxiety. The Blenheim Apricot gummy features a hybrid of indica and sativa terpenes for a balanced high (5mg of THC). If you want to chill out, the Wild Berry gummy is a combo of wild blackberry and fresh raspberries with indica terpenes for a laid-back high (5mg of THC). I had a chance to taste unmedicated samples at the show, and each had bright flavor, a pleasant texture, and the shape makes it easy to bite or cut into two for a microdose.
Camino gummies will be available starting at the end of October in California.
Mr. Moxey’s Mints
When I was on a cannabis research trip in Washington a year ago, I fell in love with these award-winning and low-dose mints that, like the Camino gummies, are synthesized for a specific experience and mental state, although these mints depend upon herbal ingredients (or “allies,” as they call them). And guess what: Mr. Moxey’s Mints are coming to California! They are targeting mid-November to be in dispensaries.
There’s the Energizing Peppermint, with Siberian ginseng and gingko (5mg THC per mint), while the Balance Peppermint version is a 1:1 blend of hybrid 5mg THC and 5mg CBD—there’s also the CBD Peppermint, with 5mg CBD and 1mg THC per mint, plus Indian gooseberry to support rejuvenation and echinacea to boost immunity. If you want to chillax, the Relaxing Cinnamon mint includes California poppy to relieve tension and chamomile to chill you out (5mg of THC). And if you want some balance and rejuvenation, the CBD ginger mints have 5mg CBD and 1mg THC per mint, plus Indian gooseberry and echinacea (they have a great spicy kick to them). I look forward to seeing tins of these well-made microdoser mints in California soon!
Dr. Norm’s Cookies
Dr. Norm's is a family-owned cookie company is based in Southern California, but they just expanded their distribution to Northern California, so you should be seeing their cookie bags around more (you can order them on Eaze). Their brand is based around their mom’s recipe for chocolate chip cookies (she would put Heath Bar toffee and pecans in them), but leave it to the kids to add some cannabis distillate to the cookies. Those crazy kids.
The cookie line has a variety of THC doses: 5mg, 10mg, or 25mg, and they just released two more kinds. One is their 10mg THC peanut butter-chocolate cookie (and it’s vegan!). Another is their peanut butter-chocolate cookie made with 15mg of CBD (originally sourced from hemp, but now from cannabis), so it’s non-intoxicating, and can be great for relaxation, reducing inflammation, and pain. Coming very soon is a 1:1 cookie, with 10mg CBD and 10mg THC, in chocolate and peanut butter.
The cookies have a nice balance of chewy and crunchy, they don’t taste like mass-produced cookies, and you shouldn’t notice a weedy taste. They’re tasty, so you don’t want to mindlessly snack on them—decide your consumption ahead of time, take the cookie (or cookies) out of the bag, and then put them away. Yup, even if they’re 40 calories and under. Re-enacting Cookie Monster on THC-infused cookies is asking for trouble.
Iced tea fans will want to keep their eyes peeled for this line of teas (Shane's Tea) from founder Shane Coronado, who wanted to create a healthy product that is organic where possible and natural. There are three flavors: the Fifty Fifty with Darjeeling tea and lemon juice (just like an Arnold Palmer), Honey Green made with green tea and honey (my favorite of the bunch), and Raspberry with raspberries and Darjeeling tea (for those who like a sweeter and fruity iced tea). He infuses the teas with cannabis distillate, and they will come in two kinds (in all three flavors): 10mg THC and 25mg CBD, or a CBD-only version (which will launch first).
His teas were around before legalization (in 2014), but are currently off the shelves while he’s ramping up to get the product ready for the adult-use market. He plans to launch the teas in spring 2019, and they will roll out in Southern California first.
Are you a fan of margaritas and Moscow mules? What if your drink didn’t have any alcohol in it, but it had 10mg of uplifting Pineapple Jack Sativa instead? Per current regulations, cannabis and alcohol can’t be combined in a product—but making a cannabis beverage that tastes like a cocktail? Yes, please. Both of Tinley Cocktails's alcohol-free beverages are single-serve (12 ounces) and unlike their alcoholic counterparts, have fewer calories (the margarita is only 60 calories per serving).
While Tinley can’t share their process or exact ingredients, they tell me the margarita is infused with tequila (but they remove the alcohol) and lime extract. The Flying Mule is made with ginger beer and lime “essence,” and is quite refreshing and easy to drink (so keep an eye on it). You can expect to feel some effects in 15–20 minutes, and they tell me it packs a pleasant head high and euphoria.
After going through some batch-testing issues (like many other cannabis manufacturers right now—testing is posing all kinds of challenges, especially for beverages), they hope to be in stock in a couple weeks. They tell me there will be numerous stockists in Northern California. Cheers!