In the years since the fall of Amsterdam following the crackdown on growers, Barcelona has become the cannabis capital of Europe.
It was on full display last weekend as thousands of cannabis enthusiasts from around the world descended on the city to see the best of Europe.
The most reputable minds in cannabis would say Spannabis is the closest thing internationally to the biggest events on the West Coast events circuit. And with the exception of the High Times Cannabis Cups and the Emerald Cup, Spannabis dwarfs most cannabis-related events in North America.
And this year hadn’t even come full throttle yet.
Two years ago, many of California’s best and brightest cannabis minds almost got stuck in Barcelona. The start of the global lockdown coincided with the three-day weekend festival that takes place every March. While many would make the trip this time around, most expect that next year cannabis globetrotters will be back in full force.
And they will come for sure. Most of the people who hold the keys to Europe’s growing cannabis market are in town for the show. They’re checking in on where the game is right now and having meetings with various North Americans.
Much like the Emerald Cup Harvest Ball last December, much of the excitement of the entire weekend revolves around the quality of cannabis rather than the business side of things. But it all overlaps when you talk about seeds. Spannabis is today a major global crossroads for genetics that go in all directions.
One of the budtenders of the popular Barcelona social club told LA Weekly that they usually see the hype Californian strains around a year after they exploded on the West Coast.
Mike Mallon has helped connect California genetics to Spain over the years. When Mallon isn’t creating art as @LotComedy, he’s helping seed companies gain a foothold in Europe.
“When I started going to Spannabis, the role of the American was to bring hype and attention to the clubs with the brands they represented, but now after the pandemic, we have more l feel like the role has changed,” Mallon told LA Weekly. “Over the past two years, the quality and brand awareness for local Spanish growers and hashers has grown to a high level. The role of the American now is to bring value to the culture by connecting the dots and bringing people together despite any connections or politics.
Mallon argues it’s not just about the money. Helping everyone connect is an important way to put the wider international culture on the best footing for success and warmth.
“It feels like we are bringing all of our brands together in a show of love, strength and support for international culture, and it sets an example that we must continue to build together,” Mallon said. “As Americans, we know how easy it is to fail in these markets if we don’t stick together – perhaps we understand this aspect a little better than most countries with industries. and cannabis communities.”
Spannabis also repeatedly serves as a launch point for new hardware entering the European market. This year it was the Puffco Peak Pro.
“We love nothing more than being part of growing the culture,” Kevin Chapman, Puffco’s director of events, told LA Weekly. “We’ve seen monumental growth over the past few years here with people smoking midsy BHO; now they smoke top of the line rosin, so super happy to be a part of it and contribute to our cutting edge technology.
Puffco has struggled with logistical issues over the past few months due to the impact of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act on vaporizers. The headaches of the moment have also had an impact on increasing European access levels for their latest products.
“Everyone is generally excited, but it’s harder to get our physical products here,” Chapman said. “So, as you can imagine, you bring a unicorn somewhere, and people are more excited to see it.”
Even then, the demand currently exceeds the amount of material they can supply to Europe through their distribution partners at Pure Sativa.