Arriving at the airport for my 6am flight from San Francisco to New York City’s JFK, it was easy to decide who would join the next leg of the flight; Overnight flight to Barcelona (Spain) for Spannabis 2023. Along with its official accompanying events, the World Cannabis Congress, the International Cannabis Business Conference, and the inaugural Spannabis Cup, the Spannabis is one of the largest, most intense, and massively attended international cannabis events on Earth, bringing together cannabis aficionados from all over the world. approx country in the world.
More than 30,000 visitors attended the sold-out weekend event, which took place from March 10-12 at Barcelona’s Fira de Cornella. Those without pre-purchased tickets waited in line for up to four hours to secure entry. Since European events often target home growers, the variety of produce and great prices make these crowds worth it for many. While Spannabis itself is only three days long, the festivities surrounding the event span the entire week, including prestigious award ceremonies such as Ego Clash, Masters of Rosin, and Secret Sesh.
In some ways, not much has changed since then My last trip to Spannabis in 2017. One thing is clear: American influence is growing in the European cannabis scene. While a lot of seed banks still focus on traditional genetics, the presence of “American exotics” is becoming increasingly prevalent. There were also a few popular California brands, including Compound Genetics teaming up with Paradise Seeds; Fiddles collaborates with Pure Sativa; Wizard Trees teaming up with Growers With Attitude; And a longtime personal favorite, Symbiotic Genetics is teaming up with THSeeds.
“The community was very much alive in Spain and all the surrounding areas that I traveled to and attended the show,” says Michael. Esh, COO of The village and symbiotic genetics, who is making his first trip to Barcelona, the second biggest city on Spain. “I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of high-end florals, cannabis, and conifers I saw grown outside of the US. I saw so many really cool things from Tenerife. The energy had a nostalgic feel to Prop 215 days where everyone had no egos and got together to share and show off samples and network about the plant they loved.” We all love him.”
I was also happy to see some familiar staples, such as Green House Seed Company, Ripper Seeds, Dutch Passion, and DNA Genetics, along with Royal Queen Seeds, launching their first-of-its-kind product. F1 Series Hybrid which produces a stable, uniform crop every time.
“It’s completely new to the cannabis industry,” says Shai Ramsahai, CEO of Royal Queen Seeds. “They already have some F1 hybrid seeds in the vegetable industry, but it’s not yet in the cannabis industry. The F1 Hybrid means that all the plants are stable, which means they have the same yield and the same percentage of THC. We think this is a huge game-changer for the industry. And everyone will plant F1 hybrid seeds in the future, like the big change 20 years ago when we came from regular seeds to feminized seeds. We are very happy to be the first to have the first F1 series in cannabis.”
When I sampled the local selection, I was generally impressed with the quality. One of the main differences I’ve noticed between the European and American cannabis spaces is the presence of cannabis culture and what that does to the overall processing of the plant. American hemp is generally grown with the goal of growing really big and beautiful lots with high THC percentages. By contrast, European cannabis focuses on creating a more resinous plant with higher terpene profiles. Therefore, it is not surprising that the quality of hash and European conifers is as high as it gets.
Some of the best flowers I’ve enjoyed are Lemon Cured by Los Greengos which won 3rd for Best Sativa in the Spannabis Champions Cup; Rosin Zkittles from La Sagrada Farms, which took first place in Masters of Rosin; And everything Sativa Engineering was kind enough to share, which has also entered almost every competition. I’m telling you, the bar is higher than one might expect.
Some experts think 2023 could be the year Spain sees cannabis reform. The fight for normalization is just a fight, but we Californians know how far a regulated market can go to change things that were once okay the way they were. To echo what The Village & Symbiotic Genetics’ Ish The landscape in Spain, he said, is a lot like visiting the days of Prop 215. Hearing Ramsay of the Royal Queen talk about developments in seed development makes my head spin.
In the end, being in a place reminiscent of the past, while also thinking about the future is a wild experience. Surrounded by tens of thousands of cannabis enthusiasts, including some industry legends like Jorge Cervantes and Mila Jensen, also known as ‘Hash Queen Spannabis 2023 was definitely magical.