People browse through rows of vendors in the hills in Malibu, scoping out farmers’ latest crops and companies’ products. They discuss where products are from and how farmers grow.
These people aren’t picking up groceries — they’re getting pot.
Emerald Exchange brings Northern California farmers and Southern California companies together for an event that features a cannabis farmers market, workshops, music, a speaker series and educational events. The first Emerald Exchange was held in Malibu last August and two other events have been held since then. Some 500 attendees came out for the latest event in March.
As California dives into a so-called green rush with the legalization of recreational marijuana last November, Emerald Exchange gives attendees an opportunity to learn about the cannabis they are consuming, where it comes from and how it’s grown — from some of the best farmers in the business.
“The way that people are able to approach the craft of growing their product up there is just really special,” said Michael Katz, co-founder of Emerald Exchange and Evoxe Laboratories, a cannabis vaporizer company.
At the farmers market, the bulk of farmers are from Humboldt and Mendocino counties. Imagine a farmers market where instead of growing tomatoes, zucchini and squash, farmers are growing their own cannabis, Katz said.
Aside from sun-grown cannabis, vendors and companies who source from those Northern California cultivators sell products including infused olive oils, massage oils and lemonade, along with other health and wellness products. There are even some non-cannabis products available. Medical marijuana card holders receive wristbands that allow them to make cannabis transactions with vendors.
The day’s events are all designed to bring consumers, cultivators, and leaders in the industry together, something emphasized during workshops and a speakers’ series. Topics focus on what is happening in the state with marijuana, and on what will help the cannabis community move forward together to create positive progress, Katz said.
The next Emerald Exchange is slated for August 12-13, and other events are in the works, including talk of an event that would bring SoCal companies to the farmers up north, added Katz.