CBD Brands Suffer Setback as Expo West is Cancelled Over Coronavirus Fears

At the moment, the entire world is watching with bated breath as the Coronavirus tears through parts of China and threatens to spread to other continents. Governments have taken measures to make sure the virus doesn’t breach their countries’ borders, such as canceling incoming flights from China and allocating funds to cover health care costs in case it does spread.

With the exception of dozens of cases, the virus is still largely confined to China, but the economic fallout from the Coronavirus is being felt all over the world. China produces a lot of the cheap raw materials used in many manufacturing and processing industries, and the shutdown has led to slowdowns in business.

The U.S. hemp sector has also been affected after the Expo West, the largest natural products trade show in the world was postponed on March 2 due to the Coronavirus. Scheduled to take place this week in Anaheim, California, the event was expected to draw at least 85,000 attendees from all over the world.

The announcement came after hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees pulled out of the event, fearing the growing Coronavirus pandemic.

The New Hope Network which organizes the event stated on Monday evening that, “It is clear, despite continued advice from local government and health authorities that the city of Anaheim remains open, the majority of our community want the show, but they do not want it now.”

According to Bethany Gomez, Managing Director at the CBD and cannabis market intelligence firm Brightfield Group, the cancellation poses a problem as the Expo West has become the go-to event for CBD brands.

“Many have invested a considerable amount of money, from already tight budgets to get in front of retailers, distributors and potential partners. In the future, brands may rethink their strategy here, focusing on smaller buyer-focused events like ECRM to avoid similar challenges,” she states.

Michael Harinen, the Chief Brand Officer for Bluebird Botanicals concurs, saying that while healthy, established companies will be able to weather the cancellation, it could spell the end for some smaller startups.

According to the New Hope Network, the organizers will announce a new date for Expo West in the coming weeks.

“It is our intention to work with all our exhibitors and attendees on future credits and support, with particular focus on the many entrepreneurs and small businesses who are the heartbeat of this community, for whom we are going to stand up a rebate fund of $5 million targeted at their specific needs.”

It isn’t yet clear what established brands like Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM) have to say about the knock-on effects of this cancellation upon events organized in other industries.

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