The novel coronavirus continuing to spread around the world has taken the “work-from-home” concept to a whole new level.
At the moment, the global M.O. is to stay home as much as possible. Thankfully, we live in a time where that couldn’t be any easier. With abundant remote work opportunities, numerous product delivery options, and a slew of virtual services available, leaving the house is completely voluntary for some people.
That said, with people opting to stay home more and more, and governments around the world encouraging that by capping events at a certain number of attendees, many events are being forced to postpone or cancel altogether.
Here’s a look at some of the major cannabis events that will be experiencing scheduling changes over the next few months:
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Major Cannabis Event Cancellations
ICBC Barcelona: “We deeply regret to inform you that ICBC Barcelona is canceled due to the US/Europe travel ban that was implemented a few hours ago this morning by the United States government in response to coronavirus.” Although they cited U.S. travel bans, there was also a cap imposed on the maximum number of attendees at any event in Spain.
SXSW Austin: For weeks, SXSW organizers have been saying that the event will continue as usual. Now, SXSW isn’t technically a cannabis event, but[AH1] it’s important to the industry no less. The annual tech, music, and film festival held in downtown Austin, TX, canceled their event only 1 week before it was set to begin. This is the first time one their events has ever been cancelled in its 34-year history.
Coachella Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival: This is also technically not a cannabis event, but the giant music festival, held annually in the Southern California desert, bring an influx of business to the local recreational cannabis dispensaries. After days of speculation, the festival announced earlier this week that they will postpone the event until October.
Spannabis Barcelona: “As you may know, this morning, the Generalitat of Catalunya announced ‘extraordinary measures’ to respond to COVID-19 coronavirus disease. Much to our regret, that gatherings of more than 1,000 people at indoor or outdoor events have been banned, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in Catalonia. Spannabis has been postponed until the autumn. We will inform you shortly more about it.” Read the full announcement here:
NECann Boston: “We are working with our venue partners and city officials to select a new date in 2020 and will update everyone as soon as we have specific information and details to share,” say NE Cann organizers. “All vendor registrations and pre-sale tickets will be honored for the new date.”
NoCo Denver: The expo, which organizers say is the hemp industry’s largest gathering, was scheduled March 26-28 at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel and the National Western Complex. The locations will be the same, however, the dates have been changed to August 6-8.
High times cannabis cup central valley, California: This has been pretty hush-hush with no large announcements made online. Just direct emails sent to those who will be attending. Originally scheduled for April 18-19 in Sacramento, the Cup has been postponed. More information on rescheduling is expected to come shortly.
Natural Products Expo West Anaheim: “New Hope Network has made the difficult decision to postpone Natural Products Expo West in response to the global coronavirus situation. We know the impact of the postponement across the natural & organic products industry has been significant, and we are committed to doing all we can to alleviate that impact.” They are hoping to have a new date scheduled by mid to late-April.
CannaTech & Psytech Tel Aviv: March 30 – “Our No. 1 concern is the health and safety of our attendees and speakers, our partners, our colleagues and our vendors,” Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN: Israel-Cannabis, said in announcing the decision. The company owns the conference. “While we are disappointed to postpone both CannaTech Tel Aviv and PsyTech Summit, we are very confident it will be worth the wait,” Kaye added.
Costly and Inconvenient
For many businesses, especially newer ones, there is no better place than a large convention to demonstrate your product and make valuable industry connections. The entire purpose of these events is to network, and although we’ve come a long way in the world in virtual networking, there’s some occasions where old fashion, face-to-face interaction really can’t be beat. A busy convention is also one of the best ways to appeal a larger number of potential business leads than normal – and all this is accomplished in a matter of a few days. If done correctly, industry events can lead to a tremendous boost in business.
Possible stagnation aside, the cancellation of events can also be extremely costly – to both the event organizer and the attendees. Refunds are naturally an issue when situations like this arise. Will a host be able to get a full refund for a venue they’re no longer using? Will attendees be reimbursed for everything they spent on travel and arrangements? What about rescheduling? There is a lot of planning and a lot of financing associated with making new event plans. It’s really a logistical nightmare for anyone who has a large stake in one of these events.
Although this is a relatively new concept, and it has yet to be done for any cannabis or hemp industry events, some major organizers are moving their conventions to the digital realm. For example, at the beginning of the month, Adobe announced they would be cancelling their large event in Las Vegas and instead, hosting it online.
“Over the past few weeks, we have been closely monitoring and evaluating the situation around COVID-19 to ensure we are taking the necessary measures to protect the health and wellbeing of Adobe Summit attendees,” said Anil Chakravarthy, Adobe executive vice president and general manager of the digital experience business unit, in a message posted online. “As a result, we have made the difficult but important decision to make Adobe Summit 2020 an online event his year and cancel the live event in Las Vegas.”
Honestly, it doesn’t sound as informative or as fun as an actual event in Las Vegas, but this may the future we’re in for if this coronavirus epidemic isn’t managed soon.
As you can see, the Covid-19 outbreak is having a profound impact on business and trade, especially as far as networking events go. As we learn more about the state of industry events, we will continue to update this list, so check back for more information.
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