Thousands of marijuana aficionados gathered at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Saturday for Dreamsesh, a festival where growers and manufacturers showed off their wares and hordes of potential customers sampled the merchandise.
The festival – in its inaugural run at the fairgrounds – drew about 300 vendors, who packed the J.J. Crosetti Building to sell marijuana from $10 gram-sized bags to massive bags that ran as high as $2,000.
Vendors were also showing products such as cannabis-based oil extracts and tinctures, in addition to brownies, cookies and other food products infused with marijuana. This is in addition to clothing items, stickers and other mementos.
And all throughout the hall, customers were sampling the wares, creating a cloud of smoke that filled the building and could be smelled across the grounds.
James, who asked that his last name not be used, said the event gave attendees a chance to buy marijuana without the onerous taxes imposed by Santa Cruz County. He bought an eighth-ounce bag.
“You get a better deal, and you get more bang for your buck, that’s for sure.”
Visitors, meanwhile, browsed different strains of marijuana, with names such as Grape Cookie, Mochi, Candyland and whoisbillykinder, all of which filled jars, bags and boxes.
Organizer Essex, who goes by one name, said his interest in cannabis began when his mother was suffering from cancer, and who he said was helped immeasurably by using medical marijuana.
“I do it because I believe in the industry,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that we need to get rid of the stigma.”
Fairgrounds manager Dave Kegebein said that the inaugural cannabis convention was a “dry-run,” to see whether the event will return in the future.
“We’re always trying a variety of things,” he said. “The nice part is that the people are super polite and responsible.”