the potted lobster< - Spannabis 2023

Welcome to Spannabis: where stoners, suits, patients, and proselytizers convene...

By
Dave Barton
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Welcome to Spannabis: where stoners, suits, patients, and proselytizers convene...

Welcome to Spannabis: where stoners, suits, patients, and proselytizers convene in beautiful Barcelona each year; for three days of ‘networking and not-working’ (hat tip: lady met in Green Boutique doing (our) dabs…).

The eclectic nature of the cannabis sector is one of its most charming features. But unlike, say, a very B2B-focused show – like MJBizCon or one of the ICBCs – Spannabis leans into the chaos and 100% owns it. And it definitely inhales.


Reverse Mullet

Let me level with you – Spannabis ain’t for the faint of heart. It’s hectic, bru. It’s a maze of marijuana mayhem; a veritable warren of cannabis rabbit holes with honey traps around every corner. 

For us thermidorks< though; Spannabis 2023 was an opportunity to delve deeper into all aspects of the industry – the pipes, vapes, dabs, rolling papers, edibles, nutrients, extraction equipment, grow tents, LED lights, seeds, and yes, even sex aids (cannabis-infused ‘liquid vibrators’ anyone?). 

In many ways, Spannabis is a bit like a mullet hairstyle – party at the back, business at the front – but reversed. Where else can you witness a rap battle (in aggressive Spanish) one moment and then look at curing technology the next? 

But stay a while, embrace the vibe, dance – even if just for a brief moment – during the festivities. Take a deep breath (if you get me…) and just feel the warm glow of the Spanish sun peck your pores. 

Smoke It Like You’re Going To Jail

If you’d just landed at Spannabis, you’d be forgiven for thinking that weed was completely legal across Barcelona. That ain’t the case. It’s decriminalized, but it remains illegal to consume cannabis in public places. But then it could be argued that Spannabis is a contained event, and therefore a private space – which would therefore be legal. (Let’s go with that).

Consumption, for the most part, seems to be largely missing from many of the other events we’ve been to. It’s no surprise, really, given that rules around public consumption stand even in totally legal jurisdictions. But Barcelona embraces cannabis more broadly – perhaps just as much as Amsterdam; primarily because it offers an array of ‘sets and settings’ in which to consume.

Cannabis in Barcelona is widely available, but kept behind closed doors (to be enjoyed at home or in a private social club setting). For many visitors though – principally those from across the Pond who are used to more openness around their consumption habits – the boundaries are deemed hazy at best; which speaks volumes about how far we still have to go in terms of public acceptance of cannabis here in Europe; as well as how ingrained it is in daily life in parts of North America.

Glass Half Full

Yes, there’s a whole world out there waking up to the joy and catharsis that cannabis brings… and another contingent who seem vehemently opposed to it. But cannabis folks take a ‘glass half full’ viewpoint, I’d wager. One of the things I love most about them is that right from the get-go, a lot of the people you meet are their most authentic selves. They’ll openly pass the puff, share stories, casually cuss in conversations – and genuinely invite you to stay in touch. 

It’s nothing* to do with the plant per se; it’s something – I believe – that’s an act of rebellion against the uptightness they experienced working in other sectors. You certainly don’t see foodservice leaders and construction machinery professionals nonchalantly ripping a bong or proudly carrying a dab rig around. 

But it takes a certain kind of rebel to want to be involved in the cannabis industry; which is why so many of the longstanding cannafolk you meet are so well-respected. They’ve endured the hardships. They’re their own best advocates. They lift each other up. 

This level of camaraderie is evident everywhere at Spannabis. There’s a shared unity in understanding the power of collective action. And while just being there feels like an act of rebellion, the real rebels are those fighting – not for acceptance of cannabis – for cannabis normalization. 

Spannabis, by its very nature, is doing a great job of driving that. 

 *everything

Blog Author
Dave Barton
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