Report: HamCan Conference & Expo 2023 in Hamburg, Germany
07/31/2023 by Gardy Stein
With discussions about the legalisation of Cannabis taking a prominent position on the political agenda of many countries, a whole industry is standing in the starting blocks, ready to bounce. Giving these businesses visibility and the chance to connect is the mission of the Hamburg Cannabis Conference & Expo, in short: HamCan. Last weekend, it took place for the second time ever, inviting exhibitors, panelists and artists for a very special exchange that we'll review for you here.
Starting Friday, the modern Digital Campus of Factory Hammerbrooklyn opened its glass doors to let visitors in. Next to the main exhibition on the second floor (more on that later), there was also a smaller space on the fourth floor, catering especially to the needs of patients who are entitled to the use of medical marihuana. Doctors and self-help groups offered advice, and many of the experts present were also speakers on the six panels of that day, ranging from subjects such as "Cannabis as Medicine", "Road to Legalisation in Germany" and "Cannabis Cultivation" to the manifold uses of hemp in agriculture and construction.
At 6pm, event organizer Lennart Tacke aka Lenny Roots assembled everyone in the auditorium for the first bestowal of the HamCan Appreciation Awards, an honor five people received: Adele Hollmann ("Newcomer Award"), Dr. Uma Dhanabalan ("Lifetime Achievement Award"), Vincent Kühne ("Social Media Award"), 420 Pharma GmbH ("Topshelf Award") and Jahki Revi ("International Cannabis Ambassador Award"). After a closing ceremony during which Cannabis consultant Farida Hussain held a very short speech on diversity and Mago "Mr. Magic" Magnifico played some card tricks, the first day was coming to an end.
For the business guests of the conference, there was a BBQ at the nearby Innside Hotel, and with fine Reggae music provided by DJ Mystic Bo (and many agents present sporting some kind of high-tech consumption equipment), this was an inspiring evening indeed.
On Saturday, a further six sessions discussed "Building With Hemp", "The International Herb", "Cannabis in Social Media & Advertising", "Cannabis-Tourism", and "Women In Cannabis". Tying in with the latter subject, filmmaker Luisa Nike presented Green Medicine, a documentary filmed in Columbia, England and Spain which asks: "What does Marihuana have to do with Women?"
Resonating with the movie's message, I took a tour around the main exhibition where you could find anything you'll ever need for smoking, vaping or steaming (Happy Buds, Udopea, Vapes'n'Dabs and others), but also for growing (Advanced Nutrients) and packaging (Grove Bags). The German Hanf Magazin provided a stand with lots of information on all these topics, and a great goodie bag filled with samples – thank you! In addition to these essentials, there were also some stands with extraordinary ideas, such as the beautiful bud jewelry of Mary Chainz, the Cannabis-infused Gin Kunubum or the smokable poems of rauchgedichte.de, handprinted on rolling papers with residue-free ink. A lot to discover!
Around 7pm, the upper floor was closed to set up everything for the night to come: the big bad HamCan Afterparty presented by Cann24 and Gizeh, announced as massive event on two different floors. The back of the building belonged to the speaker boxes of I-Livity I-Fi, and once the stack was up and running, it was an uplifting feeling indeed to listen to the bubbling bass while looking out over the Elbe river glowing in the setting sun. Next to the local sound-operators Julian and Idren Anbessa, it was Hille Soundquake from Berlin and Luv Messenger from Barcelona on the controls, and Sweden's artist Dan I Locks added some live vocals to the whole. International ting!
Over at the second floor, Hein Boogie and DJ Ben Kenobi opened the dance around 10pm. During Kenobi's set, just after midnight, an artist from Hamburg called Charlott Green performed three songs, powerfully delivering German rap from a female point of view. Her energy is amazing, making the hard words she utters look graceful and natural, as if she's always done that - but, as she says herself, she is just starting out. Respect, sis!
Instead of using the momentum of the little crowd that had gathered (unfortunately, the event was not well attended, and since smoking was strictly prohibited indoors, most people present were outside on the balcony), though, almost half an hour elapsed before the next artist took to the stage: Jahki Revi. Born in Italy, now living between Barcelona and Amsterdam, he is not only a Cannabis activist, fighting for the legalisation of Ganja in Spain and beyond, but also a talented singer and MC, giving us a taste of his music. Another short break, and then DJ Jabbar from Munich presented England's YT. In finest Rudebwoy style, he brought home the Boops riddim with his song Saved My Life, followed by the faster-paced Ain't No Stopping Me Now. Boom! YT then handed it over to Tiwony, an artist from Guadeloupe living and working in Paris. With his album Frequency out recently, it was an obvious choice that he started with its title track, and also the melodious Long Road up next can be found on that release. My personal favorite of the night, both in vocals and in delivery, was the dynamic Ah Wah Do Dem. Pure fire!
Meanwhile, the headliner of tonight's program had arrived and gotten ready for the show: welcome to Hamburg, Andrew Tosh! Dressed in jeans, a tam, sunglasses and a white arrow shirt with the coolest design ever (it had a red-gold-green trim with a zipper instead of buttons!), he stepped up to the people and hailed us with blessings from his late father Peter Tosh. Fitting to the occasion, he started his set with Bush Doctor and Legalize It, followed by more hits like Johnny B Goode, Brand New Second Hand, Glasshouse, Reggae-Mylitis and African. Niceness! Andrew performed the songs calmly, with a voice eerily reminiscent of his dad's, and all too soon, this intimate concert was over.
The HamCan is a seed that'll hopefully grow into the full potential such a project has. Not only does it bring different players of the Cannabis business together with the interested public, it also builds bridges between this promising industry and Reggae music, as this Saturday has shown. Keep growing, Team HamCan, and thank you for this inspiring weekend!
To close with a quote of Dr. Uma Dhanabalan: "Each one of you is making such a difference, find your passion and let's change the world! What would you like to see happen until 2024, and how would you spread the message?"