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10 Takeaways And Trends Spotted In The Wild At NECANN 2024

Pictured: The Sweet Treats convention experience by Finished Goods Premier Vape Hardware and Packaging

From new vendors who formerly avoided cannabis to big and bold brand presentations, this year’s convention forecasted the future

There are innumerable ways that one could have approached this year’s New England Cannabis Convention. The trade show floor was rocking, with more vendors and energy than ever before. The same can be said of the many afterparties, which on their own presented untold networking avails and opportunities.

And of course there were also the speakers and panel discussions, several of which yielded priceless insights into the current state of the industry in Mass and beyond.

Our reporting team has lots of coverage in the works stemming from all of the above; and while it won’t be fully exhaustive, we are diving much deeper into everything from microbial testing to looming regulatory changes. In the meantime, I compiled this random listicle to highlight what I saw over the weekend that especially stood out.

Please consider that no one is claiming these are the 10 “best” trends, nor the “worst,” or even the arbitrarily “hottest” happenings this season. Also, I don’t necessarily like something because it’s trending—I’m simply reading the room. I am just one observer with two eyes and countless distractions. My takeaways may be trite or meaningless to some, but I hope they are helpful to many, as I tried to cover as much ground as possible.

-Brands are getting way more focused. Take, for example, Commonwealth Alternative Care zeroing in on its Standard Farms line, or the company formerly known as GreenCare Collective emerging from more than a half-dozen imprints to concentrate on a select few like its breakout Perpetual line.

And the efficiency plays don’t stop there, with companies trying to work smarter all across the board. Sessions which helped to that end addressed topics spanning direct marketing techniques to regenerative cultivation to Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

Green Truck Farm out of Maine turned heads with an actual vintage pickup on the trade show floor

-Big booths and blowout activations are becoming the norm. This one is specific to the convention itself, or to all in-person events I suppose, but it’s clear that as the industry matures, the presentations at these engagements are increasingly becoming major spectacles. For examples, look no further than Nova Farms, which captured the same critical corner it held down the year before with a merch and music-heavy hangout, and to Packwoods and Jeeter for arriving with a bang and courting long lines in the process.

As we recently pointed out, and which was confirmed at NECANN, high-potency tinctures, pourable concentrates, and beverage enhancers are extremely popular. Though hardly all the same, products that fit into those categories can pack major doses into small convenient vessels, and for that and other reasons are attractive to serious stoners with high tolerances and patients alike. From Howls, to Chill Medicated, to Good Vibes by Good Feels, the buzz is real in more ways than one.

-Bold colors and graf-inspired branding are all the rage. The aforementioned Packwoods is a standout example, but this trend is even visible in swag and packaging from Cheech & Chong. The iconic comedy duo may have heavily contributed to the trippy seventies canna vibe we’ve come to know so well, but in 2024 even their weed companies are using blues and yellows that West Coast leaders like Cookies have ridden to the forefront of pop culture.

-Psychedelics. From the political front, with a referendum that would legalize psilocybin and some other substances potentially appearing on the Mass ballot in November, to discussions about medical and clinical applications, the chatter around these drugs at NECANN was only the beginning of a long and involved multi-stakeholder discussion.

Activism. I’m not going to get specific here, since I don’t want people to think I am pulling weight for one cause or another. That may be the case, but more important and germane to the topic at hand is that I sensed at the convention through the excitement and commerce a simmering rage or at least aggravation over a number of growing concerns. They aren’t all directly related, but many were addressed head-on by panelists who spoke about how they’ve taken action on behalf of their communities and companies. Expect to hear more from individuals as well as organized interest groups about everything from medical access, to municipal equity, to social consumption in the coming months.

Prerolls. I know, I know. There’s nothing new or exciting about this one; the category is a rocket ship with still untapped potential, and over the past year we have explored the gamut ranging from the boutique hand-rolled market to calibrated machines that can stuff, crown, pick, and cap thousands of cones an hour. But with the number of booths occupied by companies servicing the high demand, it’s worth mentioning. And I’ll also note the staying power of good old gummies and chocolate bars was on display as well.

-Banks. They’re showing up at events like NECANN, and even setting up booths and pitching their services. That’s right, some of the same banks that as recently as last year eschewed cannabis clients now want in on the action. It’s a subtle change from the days when a single lonely credit union or two would show up, but their presence in numbers in 2024 speaks volumes about where the industry is headed.

At this point, NECANN is huge. A lot of us spent several months or at least weeks preparing for last weekend, and from what I’ve gathered in the wake of this year’s show it was, generally speaking, well worth it. NECANN 2023 was massive, and 2024 was even bigger, so you know what that likely means for 2025. Before I can start thinking about next year, though, I have about 500 business cards to sort through and dozens of folks to follow up with. Sound familiar?