For Brian Yauger, the word for 2019 has been “expansion.”
The Lemonhaze convention organizer, which made its Tacoma debut last year, is bringing the cannabis convention and comedy festival back.
“This year’s show will be much larger than last year’s,” said Yauger, defines Lemonhaze as “where the industry comes together and products go to launch.”
He’s expanding into Oregon and California.
“Last month we did our first event in LA,” Yauger told The News Tribune this week. “And this weekend is our second show in Portland.
“We are taking the same model we started in Washington a few years ago, connecting budtenders with brands and to get to know the people behind the brands. ... We started with parties in our office and that concept just grew.”
This year’s Lemonhaze convention is Oct. 24-25 at the Tacoma Dome. Leafly, the show’s primary sponsor, will be presenting its new cannabis guide, which broadens strain definitions beyond just indica and sativa.
“The show has taken a very CES (Consumer Electronics Show) feel,” Yauger said. “Several cannabis companies are launching new products.”
“Last year we had just over 3,000 attendees. This year we are expecting 6,000-9,000. ... We are very fortunate because we get a majority of the industry showing up.”
There also will be continuing education classes offered for budtenders to maintain their medical marijuana consultant status.
The convention, like last year, will have speaker panels. One panel topic is the current reports of vaping illnesses and the state’s emergency ban on the sale of flavored vaping products, starting Oct. 10 and in effect for 120 days.
“Obviously people got sick, but how much of this is affected by the illegal market, how was it reported in media, and what’s the real scope and size of this? People have been vaping a lot longer than just since the illnesses were reported. So we’ll have a panel talking about this.”
The Uncanny Comedy Festival also is a part of the convention, with hosts Ronny Chieng and Jubal Fresh, among others, starting at 7 p.m. Oct. 25. Tickets for that can be purchased separately if you’re not already attending Lemonhaze and attendees must be 21 or older with proof of ID.
Entry to all the convention and festival events is free for employees of I-502 retailers, producers and processors. Those outside the industry can purchase tickets for $99 (which also includes admittance to the comedy festival ) at lemonhaze.com/registration-1.
In sum, Yauger says there will be a lot to take in and experience.
“Along with product launches we have sales meetings, full-industry parties, cannabis company-owner and CEO-only parties and podcasts,” he said. “
This is where the industry can come together and do business, but also have fun.”