I’m casually standing next to a random booth at a cannabis event, when the woman next to me starts talking about Kushstock, Emerald Exchange and all these upcoming events to the vendor. I think to myself, “you’re so nosey,” as I look up the only event I was unfamiliar with, Emerald Exchange. After a few quick swipes and taps on my phone, I knew instantly PotPlus had to be there, to give a proper report to those who missed this enlightening weekend long event.
I attended the fourth ever Emerald Exchange last weekend (Aug. 12-13) in Moorpark and I can honestly say it’s unlike any cannabis event I’ve been to so far. It kind of reminds me of a farmer’s market, but instead of deciding between delicious organic fruits and veggies, it’s all these amazing canna products and high quality flower. The event was designed to showcase several northern California growers, their companies, and all the ways they utilize the plant in what they offer.
“The purpose of the event is to bring northern California farmers down to southern California,” said production manager Jessica Cure. “It’s all about education and community, really being able to connect with nature and the plant itself. We really believe in plant medicine, healing and wellness and we really want people to come together to see that they can elevate their life.”
This belief is part of the foundation of this organization which is why, Emerald Exchange is so much more than just a place to come get loaded. When I finally found the ranch an instant feeling of relief came over me as we slowly drove through large trees and the expanse of the property came into full view. I could see some water in the background, but didn’t know until we walked in that a large lake with an island and a unique stone bridge lay in the middle of the ranch.
The path to the wellness village was filled with great stops along the way like Boochcraft, which is best described as a champagne infused kombucha, Jetty Sushi, Zugo Liquitarian and several other organic of medicated snacks. Lining the water were a couple dab bars, vape companies and a woman giving out delicious micro dosed chocolate chip cookies. So that by the time I reached the village I was on cloud nine, just so happy to be right there at that exact time.
This part to the ranch was dedicated to yoga sessions offered throughout the weekend as well as, handcrafted dreamcatchers, pipes designed from smooth stones by Miwak Junior, fine jewelry made by Faerie Jane and a few other creative minds with unique and inspirational things to purchase. The area was slightly higher than the rest, so from the center of the wellness village, the whole event was visible and the rock waterfall rushing into the lake only added to the serenity. I thought I’d have plenty of time to do and see everything, but once I realized there was so much to take in, I knew two days wasn’t enough.
“Emerald Exchange is just a beautiful community of people enjoying and expressing themselves and cannabis happens to be part of it,” said Evan Eneman of Los Angeles. “I think it’s an amazing farmer’s market, bringing Northern California culture and flower down to southern California.”
Those of us on the passport experience were given a dope swag bag and showered with gifts from participating vendors like Big Rock Farms, Humboldt Brothers, Lucky Box Club and more legit companies. It was hard to keep track of time because all the grower had something different to offer and the vibe was right, so when I was talking to them about their flowers and all canna libations, I had to cut myself off so that I could attend some of the educational panels I had planned to attend.
Fortunately they didn’t run panels simultaneously, saving us from having to make a decision between investment and cannabis, terpenes are sexy, extraction processes or one of the other dozen sessions scheduled. However, the most anticipated and unexpected was speaker Johnny Chong of the old stoner movie Cheech and Chong. His talk on craft medicine, the launch of Chong’s Choice Farmer’s Market and his support of small NorCal famers had all eyes in the shaded tent glued on him. I think thoughts of those stoner days were responsible for the mid-session daydreaming, but the fact he was there attending like the rest of us (but with and entourage and cameras) brought on a greater sense of unity.
“This event is unlike any other conference I’ve been to,” said Ryan Chapin of San Diego. “Normally you’re racing through conversations and you’re just looking to get a business card, here you’re actually talking to people and chatting and learning about the industry. What a fun venue to host such a cool gathering of people and new companies.”
At Emerald Exchange, there was something enjoyable for every “pothead,” whether it was the live music by Sky Fung, Gracie Galactica or Jenny Mirambeau. Misha Estrakin, Justin Valentine, Jennifer Korrson and a few others pleasing our eyes with live paintings. Or Chef Chris Sayegh preparing a fancy five course medicated meal a few times a day that simply blew minds.
“It’s been incredible all day,” Cure said. “I am just like getting these little goodie smiles seeing it all happen.”