The 420 Expo was held at the Edison Convention Center in Middlesex County. It was a great celebration of the New Jersey cannabis community.
It was the largest cannabis consumer convention in New Jersey in a while. They certainly held the first in Central and North Jersey. However, the first-ever New Jersey cannabis consumer convention title goes to last year’s Boardwalk Budz in Atlantic City.
The expo was a consumer-focused affair with paraphernalia and smoke products for sale, along with a lot of music. Thus it was unlike many of the cannabis conferences in New Jersey. Most cannabis conferences in New Jersey have focused on different aspects of the business and the growing industry. These have largely been white-collar professional gatherings. Thus, this represented a more representative gathering of the diverse New Jersey cannabis community.
The New Jersey Cannabis Community Celebrates
One of the highlights of the 420 Expo was the outdoor section. It featured a range of food trucks and a consumption-friendly fenced-in parking lot area. While the weather was beautiful, and the New York Giants managed to win on Sunday. Unfortunately, there were not many chairs.
Outside there were clouds of smoke and food enjoyed at tables that required them to stand. Bob Marley and other cannabis musical favorites played on the speakers.
The event had an air of a fun festival with the diverse New Jersey cannabis community on full display.
At 4:20 PM on Sunday, a man had attached a dab machine to a leaf blower blew gigantic clouds of smoke into the faces of consenting adults.
The event overall had a peaceful, calming atmosphere. Unlike the views of those who are against cannabis, no violence or threats were seen or heard through the grapevine.
Only those who were 21 plus were admitted.
An Array of Products Available
The 420 expo floor vendors had CBD, Delta 8, Delta 10, THC-O, THC-P, and hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products for sale. The better companies had QR codes explaining the scientific nuances of their products in depth. Hemp and CBD represent great entry points into the market. It’s good for many small business people interested in cannabis who might have trouble with the barriers to entry into the New Jersey adult-use cannabis market.
The Apothecarium by TerrAscend was the only licensed adult-use cannabis dispensary displaying itself to the New Jersey cannabis community. The others did not feel the need to market to the faithful.
There were many bands, dancers, and a few funny acts on the main stage, which was on the exhibition floor. Grinders, trays, bongs, glass, glass blowers, and a stage with a band.
There were many rows of the expected CBD, hemp, and cannabis vendors. In addition there was the opportunity to take a picture with a real-life Mystery Machine and a Scooby Doo doll inside. There was also Nintendo 64 games to play, along with arcade games.
Tommy Chong Issues
Tommy Chong was pitched as the headlining act of the event. But he had to leave earlier than his Saturday 7 pm panel discussion scheduled with former High Times Editor Steve Bloom, who publishes celebstoner.com. There was a miscommunication regarding his schedule and flight plans back to California, according to Bloom. That prevented him from staying.
Fortunately, Bloom was able to get Heady NJ into his green room, where Chong was relaxing briefly. He also had a giant blunt on hand, ready to light up.
When asked what sort was in it, “no idea,” he said.
The prospect of a new era of cannabis legalization did seem to faze the old counter-cultural symbol.
“I have never been paranoid about smoking weed. I was always smoking,” Chong said.
“When I went to jail, it was more about me being embedded with the troops kind of thing,” he said. He spoke regarding his 2003 arrest. “So I’ve never had an issue with it being illegal. That’s the way it always was.”
Chong’s imprisonment was noted as the great catch of a cannabis leader by the anti-legalization former President George W. Bush. His agencies raided California-legal medical cannabis dispensaries.
Many convention goers reported Chong spent most of the time signing autographs for money and smoking weed with those who paid $1,000.
The wrestler Rob Van Dam was also on hand with the company he had promoting Delta products.
Panels on a range of interesting topics were held. One was on NJ Cannabis Homegrow politics I moderated (a separate article is forthcoming.) Unfortunately, like cannabis conferences, there was a great divide between the exhibition floor and the panels. It was at the expense of the panels. Most of the foot traffic was directed toward sights and delightful products displayed at the convention. Or the allure of smoking outside was stronger, unfortunately.
The producers of the show also produce other shows at the Edison Expo and Convention Center. They are the main force behind the Exotica pornography industry conference. Thus, they had the website Chaterbate on the convention floor along with cannabis brands.