A Central Marketplace For Mass Cannabis Buyers And Wholesalers

“There is a lot of excess product on the market and producers really need to reach more buyers”

Back before there was a legal recreational cannabis industry in Massachusetts, some illicit wholesalers would set up shop in fancy hotel suites around harvest time. Street and campus dealers would drop in by appointment to examine and sometimes even consume samples, and would then place orders to be dropped off in the following weeks—logistics that made it so there was minimal cash and drugs on hand, therefore limiting exposure to arrest or robbery.

As far as we have come with the regulated rec market in Mass, in some ways, the wholesale and distribution side of things is less organized than it was in the old clandestine Hilton and Ramada days. The levels of supply and demand have never fluctuated so frantically, in many cases resulting in significant losses or at least with companies accumulating surpluses. There’s also the issue of who’s buying and selling what and to or from whom; with hundreds of businesses in play and new competitors coming online every month, it can be difficult to form relationships that lead to sales.

“People are sitting on weed that they can’t move and they aren’t adjusting their production,” said David Rabinovitz. An industry analyst, business consultant, and entrepreneur who is building a dispensary in Boston, Rabinovitz points out that a new harvest is about to begin for many cultivators, even though they still have plenty of product leftover from last season. He added, “Nobody wants to shut their grow down. There is a lot of excess product on the market and producers really need to reach more buyers.”

Rabinovitz, who is a frequent contributor to Talking Joints Memo, has written several columns about how said volatility has spurred many businesses to shift and even shutter (TJM is also a media sponsor of the CannaFlower Show). He added, “the only way for us to get the Massachusetts market corrected and back to being a healthy state is to clean out that excess inventory. This isn’t just an isolated risk, this is going to impact a lot of people. … Because we have a  finite amount of customers, if we want to get all this product through the pipeline we need all of the buyers and sellers in the same room.”

His answer to the excess issue: the CannaFlower Show, a “buyer’s event” coming up at the DCU Center in Worcester on April 25. Rabinovitz explained, “the exhibitors are licensed producers of flower or products, and the attendees are licensed buyers. And we have some brands that are co-packing that have their products on display. We don’t have speakers and we don’t have breakout sessions—it is focused on making introductions.”

One thing they will have—buses parked outside where buyers can consume samples, since people won’t be able to blow clouds inside of the actual DCU Center.

As for the timing … “It just seemed logical that we needed a one-day buyer’s event,” Rabinovitz said. They’re also looking to do a sequel in October, right after harvest. “We picked April 25 for the first one so we would be after NECANN and after the 4/20 holiday but before MJ Unpacked in New York. Tuesday is one of the slowest days for retailers, and frankly, when I had kids I didn’t like conferences on the weekends.”

At its core, the CannaFlower Show is about human interaction. “There’s a  ton of excess product,” Rabinovitz said, “and I can tell that a lot of these sellers are running into obstacles with the number of wholesale people moving between companies. It’s like musical chairs.”

“All people have to bring is a pen, paper, samples, and business cards. … The show is meant to help foster relationships, introductions, and sales. This is a business about relationships and trust, and you build relationships and trust by meeting people.”

Tickets on Eventbrite