Scenes From the First Vermont Cannabis Convention | Off Message

Scenes From the First Vermont Cannabis Convention


Enthusiasm was high.
  • Enthusiasm was high.
So abundant were the CBD-infused treats Saturday at the Vermont Cannabis & Hemp Convention that even the dogs were getting in on the action.

Well, one anyway: Maple, a Spinone Italiano, sat quietly with her owner, Rachael Henne, at the table for RopaNa LLC, a CBD company from White River Junction. When Henne retrieved a vial of CBD, which is heralded for its supposed anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties, Maple licked voraciously from the dropper.

The pooch has anxiety, said Henne, and needed the stuff to cope with the buzzing crowd inside the DoubleTree by Hilton in South Burlington. A vet recommended Maple take Xanax, but Henne said she knew the healing power of CBD — and it's worked.

"Every time we take the bottle out, even for ourselves, she gets really excited and runs over," said Henne, whose company name means "heal oneself" in Sanskrit. And, at least to this observer, Maple was certainly chill.

RopaNa was one of about 65 exhibitors from around the country participating in the two-day convention, the first of its kind in Vermont. Attendees flitted from booth to booth, trying CBD-infused goodies such as maple candies, fudge, honey, kombucha, coffee, lollipops and CBD hemp joints. The extract was also on offer in salves, lotions, tinctures, massage oils, soaps and even CBD hand sanitizer.

Industry entrepreneurs hawked items of all kinds: grow lights, pipes, machines that extract CBD from hemp plants, security systems, grinders and hemp plants.

The skunky smell of cannabis was omnipresent, as were 420 puns.
Over in the auditorium, experts spoke in front of standing-room-only crowds about getting a job in the cannabis industry. Some gave tutorials on becoming a medical marijuana patient or caregiver.

Outside, the Bern Gallery held glassblowing competitions in the parking lot as reggae blared from speakers and food trucks stood by, ready to feed the hungry hordes.

By midafternoon Saturday, Kathy Blume of Heady Vermont, the host of the event, said the turnout was on track to beat their expectations that 1,000 people would attend the event this weekend.

"It's a really nice cross-section of businesses in the industry," she said. "Everyone's excited to be here."

As for the chill vibe emanating from attendees? "It says a lot about allaying the fears of people who worry we're going to descend into Reefer Madness," Blume said.

The event continues Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for more information.

Correction, May 14, 2018: A previous version of this story misidentified Rachael Henne.

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