Throughout each year, Maine is home to a number of cannabis-related gatherings, many of which are recurring, greatly anticipated events. Both medical patients and adult enthusiasts travel from all over the state and beyond for the opportunity to connect with local cannabis brands, glassblowers, and many of the other pivotal people in the Maine cannabis community, while being able to do so and relax in a laid-back and low pressure environment.
One of the most prominent of these events is the Community Bonfire, a quarter-yearly gathering which takes place in alternating Southern Maine locations. Beginning in 2015, the Bonfire has gained a name for itself by hosting some of the premier cannabis cultivators and extractors from across the state. Each individual caregiver, brand, or collective exhibiting products are to supply their own tents, tables, and promotional materials, whereas patrons are able to walk around freely and explore booths at their leisure. The event begins in the morning and spans the day, with early-access and other passes available for those wishing to enhance their experience, giving patrons significant time to make a few rounds and see all the products on display.
For newer cannabis brands trying to showcase their products and gain exposure, this can be a make-or-break situation, whereas more established caregivers can be highly sought after and often draw large crowds. Among such veteran exhibitors is Michael Saunders, CEO of Soylent Greens, a medical cannabis delivery service accessible throughout the state. He has recently partnered with Humble Family Farms, a Western Maine-based cannabis company and Bonfire staple which received national recognition in a recent Forbes article, and helped run the Humble Family Farm booth at this past Summer Bonfire.
Saunders explains how due to such large demand for HFF products, in addition to long lines, the booth was forced to turn down many attendees hopeful to get their hands on some product. While largely due to the prominent name the group has made for themselves, there were those turned away due to not being medical patients. While the event is open to non-patients above the age of 21, due to Maine’s lack of recreational marijuana retailers, only those with valid medical marijuana cards can purchase THC products. In an attempt to overcome this barrier, Saunders suggests bringing the services of a practitioner directly to the event, who would be able to issue medical cards on-site for Mainers without.
While marijuana-focused, the Bonfire is also known for its variety of other features, such as on-site glassblowing, live music, and other artistic performances. Each Bonfire also hosts various competitions, games, and raffles, including scavenger hunts, Best Booth contests, and the opportunity to win glassworks from local blowers. Occurring on a quarterly basis, each Bonfire takes advantage of Maine’s distinct seasons, such as previous Winter Bonfires hosting cardboard sled competitions and each summer iteration having a campout theme, where attendees can choose to extend their stay and spend the night after the event ends.
Like most events this year, the Community Bonfire has been affected by the Covd-19 outbreak. The Spring Fever event scheduled for April was cancelled and the recent Summer Campout, which took place this past July, adopted safety guidelines which allowed the event to occur, but still saw a decrease in attendance.
The next Bonfire is the Haunted Harvest, scheduled for October, but current Covid trends give little evidence that the virus will be going anywhere anytime soon, putting a degree of uncertainty on the event and whether it should even take place. Maine, like many states, is struggling with it’s reopening procedure and currently advises against large gatherings. Only time will tell whether conditions will change in time for the event, but in any case, facial coverings, hand washing, and maintaining distance from others whenever possible will go a long way in making such events able to occur more regularly.
Maine Potcast Contributor