It was sunny, clear and 70 degrees at the first Emerald Exchange of 2017. The perfect weather was a complement to the location—a ranch in Malibu, surrounded by mountains, ocean views to the west. The event included an upscale cannabis farmers market, film screenings, a speaker series, healing sanctuary, live music, dancing with music by a live DJ, as well as a bonfire with medicated s’more snacks.
Understandably, tickets had completely sold out 24 hours before the gates opened. I was lucky enough to have a VIP ticket waiting for me at check-in. After having my California ID and medical recommendation verified, I received one of the coveted Emerald Exchange passbooks. Inside were a dozen blank pages and a list of vendors, each with a unique stamp. The passbook bearer’s mission? Obtain a stamp from each vendor on the list. This allowed VIP ticket holders to have direct contact with vendors, creating relationships and putting a face to the product. Samples ranged from brand literature to pre-rolls. One generous company, Big Rock Farms, sent me away with somewhere around a ¼ ounce of Tangerine. They also raffled off six medicated pies, and I won an apple pie! I never win anything, so this was especially exciting.
A 12-hour festival like the Emerald Exchange can be a test of endurance. If you want to maximize enjoyment and minimize festival fatigue, here are some pro tips:
- Prepare yourself to be outside for 12 hours. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle, an umbrella if you’re especially sensitive to sun and something warm for after the sun goes down.
- Take advantage of opportunities to relax and recharge. Emerald Exchange provided multiple refuge spaces, from a limo bus brought in by Club M to a healing sanctuary in a large circular structure. A massage therapist was also on-site, offering chair massages with apothecanna topicals.
- Pace yourself with samples. If you’re going to be consuming edibles, set a personal limit in advance for how many milligrams of THC you want to consume. Remember that edibles can take up to two hours to fully kick in, so start low and go slow. Novices should stick to 2.5mg-5mg THC, and unless you have an exceptionally high tolerance, don’t dab. Dabbing too much THC + warm weather + a festival setting can lead to dizziness, fainting and even nausea or vomiting. Trust me, I’ve been there. There’s no prize for largest amount of cannabinoids absorbed, so take it easy on yourself.
- Socialize and network! Introduce yourself to new people. Many find cannabis helps create bonds and solidify new relationships. I connected with beloved colleagues such as Cara Luhring of Femme Nuri, Adelia Carrillo of DCN and Lauren Unger of Humboldt Brothers, while also meeting dozens of new folks! The bountiful seating (including a floating bed!) created plenty of spots for people to cluster and connect over some sun-grown, Northern California flower.
Have you been to anything like the Emerald Exchange before? What are the can’t-miss events near you?