June 06, 2017 | WES ABNEY
The Northwest Cannabis Classic returned to Anchorage for a third year but at a new venue, delivering a festive blend of trade show, Cannabis Cup and community. Photos by Chronic Imagery.
With the Cannabis industry taking shape and gaining steam every day, The Northwest Cannabis Classic was an interesting reflection of the state of the industry at this time. While there were fewer vendor booths and attendees this year, the inclusion of an industry awards show helped round out an already high-quality event.
Cory and Kendra Wray, the event’s married cofounders, said this year was one of many firsts, and some areas to enhance or improve next year.
“Overall I think it went well,” Cory said.
“It was a lot of firsts for us. Our first time outdoors, our first time other than at the Denina Center, and the first time people felt comfortable smoking and consuming at the event, he said.
By shifting and moving the event outdoors to the Sullivan Arena, the event was able to allow consumption of Cannabis, a noted first and also an important part of any Cannabis event. This should be the standard, and the Classic did a great job showing that this can happen in a fun and peaceful way
“I think for a lot of people it was liberating [to consume], people want the opportunity to show the community at large and be like any other industry, like wine and craft beer, where we can have an industry gathering with sampling onsite and we can go home and be responsible adults at the end of the day,” Cory said.
“For a lot of people, it was an opportunity to show the community that we are responsible and professional, and I feel we did that well.”
As with every year the competition for awards in the products category was fierce, with a ton of quality flowers, oils and edibles entered into the cup portion of the event.
“We had an industry awards show this year giving awards for retail store of the year, best branding and packaging, best budtender, best headshop, best garden supply store and a few others that were industry focused,” Cory said. “That went really really well! We’ll probably focus on the Cannabis competition aspect in the future along with the award show.”
Overall feedback from those who did make it out was that the event was fun and a positive experience. There was optimism for what next year’s event could be like.
“People loved the venue change and being outside and getting to experience the outdoors and enjoy a festival vibe and the awards show,” he said.
“While we might shift the model next year away from vendor exhibits, we will continue the cup and everything we’ve built on.”