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Coronavirus Update: Expo West Cancellation Hits Small Startups and Cannabis Businesses the Most

CBD Brands Face Setback After Expo West Cancellation

Covid-19 or popularly known as the Coronavirus, has been spreading massive panic across the globe. Companies are taking the work-from-home and remote working location approach, while businesses are taking heavy preventive measures to save their workforce from becoming a victim to the deadly Covid-19. 

Coronavirus has had a severe impact on the CBD industry as well. Recently it was announced that the largest natural products trade show in the world, the Expo West, has been postponed due to rising concerns about spreading coronavirus. The event was earlier scheduled to take place this week in Anaheim, California. 

With the rapidly growing cannabis industry propelling hundreds of cannabis-based businesses, this year’s Expo West was forecasted to be highly critical for the cannabis industry. It was initially expected to draw as many as 85,000 attendees from all across the globe. However, fears about a possible pandemic have spread since January 2020 after hundreds of people were detected with the rapidly spreading Coronavirus. 

Rising concerns have sparked thousands of people to cancel their travel plans, including hundreds of exhibitors and attendees. From music concerts to educational institutions, every organization seems to be closing down its door until a possible solution for coronavirus is found. 

On Monday evening, the New Hope Network, which hosts the event, announced that despite continued advice from health authorities and local government that the city of Anaheim remains open, the majority of the community wants the show, however, they don’t want it now given the widespread Covid-19. 

According to Bethany Gomez, the Managing Director at the CBD and cannabis market intelligence firm, Brightfield Group, the cancellation or postponement of the Expo West poses a problem for the CBD industry as the event has become the go-to event for CBD brands. Many businesses have already invested a considerable amount of money, to get ahead of their competitors, and in front of distributors, retailers, and potential partners. For those who are already running on tight budgets will face the greatest wrath by the postponing of the event. In the future, CBD brands may rethink their strategy and opt for smaller buyer-focused events such as the ECRM to avoid similar challenges, said Gomez. 

Prior to the official postponement of the Expo West, Michael Harinen, the Chief Brand Officer of Bluebird Botanicals had said that he hoped the event would reschedule. Harinen said that many CBD companies have invested a hefty sum of money in the event and while his company is established and healthy, the postponing of the event might cause the end for some smaller startups.  

The New Hope Network said organizers will be announcing the new date for the event in the coming weeks. The company said that it is their intention to work with all of their exhibitors and attendees on future credits and support while focusing particularly on multiple entrepreneurs and small businesses, for whom they will be standing up a rebate fund of $5 million targeted at their specific needs. 

Many small to mid-scale businesses (SMBs) cropped up after the federal government legalized hemp in December 2018 under the Farm Act. Companies started rolling out CBD based products with a wide variety ranging from skincare to lifestyle products. CBD or cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound derived from hemp which is widely touted for its health benefits such as reducing inflammation, muscle injuries, muscle spasms, acute pain, chronic pain, etc. 

Today, the market is filled to the brim with CBD based products like a tincture, oil, capsules, cream, ointment, isolate vape pens, lotions, gummy bears, chocolates, dietary supplements, pet products, drinks, etc. Despite the growing popularity of cannabinoid oil, there have been concerns regarding its side effects, long term effects, and how it interacts with other drugs. 

While research continues to explore the different sides of CBD, companies are steadily growing and investing in the cannabis industry. CBD has garnered trust all across the world. From the western countries like the United States and Canada to the Southeast Asian countries including Bangkok, more people are adopting cannabis-based products. 

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Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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