The ban on events with more than 1000 people in Catalonia due to the coronavirus has resulted in the cancellation of the Spannabis Fair. The Spannabis organization tried to keep the event against all odds, refusing to postpone as recommended by the health authorities and asking many exhibitors, again and again.
In the previous weeks, he received multiple pleas to postpone from the exhibitors, but the Spannabis Fair decided to move forward, putting health and safety above not facing the losses arising from canceling the Fair on his own. They even issued a statement saying: “The health authorities and the Government say there is no reason to cancel events and recommend continuing with normal life (…) The Spannabis organization recommends not to fall into fake news and social alarm, which, according to the authorities, is disproportionate in relation to the facts. We are following closely the recommendations and indications of the authorities ”.
Other Fairs such as the World Mobile Congress or Alimentaria, allowed their exhibitors to cancel without reprisals, and ended up canceling themselves, it was not the way of Spannabis, but instead pressured the exhibitors not to cancel. The Spannabis organization, asked by Soft Secrets, recognizes that it is true that it reminded those who were trying to cancel that they had signed a contract, for which they would not only lose what was paid, but also their position for the next edition.
Instead of postponing orderly, or allowing its exhibitors to cancel without reprisals, this effort to maintain an event attended by tens of thousands of people, as well as exhibitors from areas such as China or Italy, has ended in a messy cancellation, with companies in half of the stand assembly. All the exhibitors with whom Soft Secrets has spoken are very angry with the attitude of the Spannabis Fair, which due to its resistance to postpone, has been forced to decree the cancellation in the middle of the assembly, causing large losses to the participants. At the close of this article, it is not yet known if Spannabis will postpone, and if it will return the money to the exhibitors or refuse, alleging force majeure.
Feria Spannabis did not follow previous Health recommendations
The key day that Feria Spannabis accelerated towards the precipice was Monday, March 9. At noon they received a letter from 40 of the main exhibitors in which they insisted that they cancel the Spannabis Fair, while assuring them: “In case you decided to suspend the fair, the companies in whose name I speak would value it positively and give them their strongest support for an upcoming event. Mutual understanding is always the best path for a harmonious, common and solid future. ”
The representative of the Spannabis Fair, Inma Bonhevi, has recognized Soft Secrets who met for the first time with Health that same Monday, March 9, at the request of Health, since Spannabis had not managed any previous meeting with Health, since they did not consider it necessary. After the meeting they issued a letter to the exhibitors stating “Spannabis takes the matter very seriously and has initiated a level of greater vigilance. This also includes that we are in permanent dialogue with the health authorities. The competent institutions indicate that they do not foresee a threat greater than what currently exists. ” According to sources of Health, this letter is not a faithful reflection of that conversation, but they were asked to cancel at will, as the World Mobile Congress or the Food Fair had done. Apparently,
Soft Secrets has asked Feria Spannabis about this difference between the two versions. According to Bonhevi, it is true that at that meeting the health authorities asked the Spannabis Fair to cancel or postpone and told them that the fewer events, the less sources of infection. That is why they were recommended to cancel, “because the less public events, it would be better for everyone.” On behalf of the Spannabis Fair, Bonheví replied to the health authorities that they would only postpone “when they received an order and could allege force majeure, to give it to them in writing and sign an order or they would go ahead”. That is, the same organization that stated in a public statement: “We are following the recommendations and indications of the authorities very closely,” when he received a direct recommendation from the health authorities, he ignored it and did not communicate it to the public and exhibitors.
When leaving the meeting, instead of informing the exhibitors of the Health recommendation, Feria Spannabis wrote a letter in which they assure that they have “valued above all the safety, precaution and health of all the participants in the Fair”. If they valued above all the health of all the participants, why did they not follow the health recommendations? Why did they not transmit the health recommendations to the exhibitors? Why did they press to cancel their place in future editions? the ones who wanted to cancel? Perhaps they valued its benefits above the health and safety of the participants? This short-term attitude led them to suspend at the worst moment,
In addition, in that letter, the organization of the Spannabis Fair, states that: “more than 90% of the exhibitors urge us to hold the fair”, which does not match the reality, since they had received a letter with 40 of the main exhibitors recommending the postponement and offering to collaborate. The Spannabis Fair did not even bother to respond to this letter. In addition, other exhibitors who are not listed in the letter, confirmed to Soft Secrets that they had also asked to postpone the exhibitors, in addition to this, Spannabis pressured not to cancel stands with the threat of losing the position for future editions. Rather than urging 90% of the exhibitors to continue, it was Feria Spannabis that resorted to the fine print of the contract so that no one would cancel.
Spannabis’s communication policy was totally opaque, as they did not even update the map or announce the exhibitors who, despite the pressure, had already carried out the cancellation. On their social networks they also did not answer the many people who asked them to cancel or information for those who had canceled.
Risks in Spannabis 2020 by Covid19
Exhibitors who did not want to attend Spannabis 2020 had many reasons. Firstly, for people, avoiding the transmission of the coronavirus is helping to avoid collapse of emergencies. Although it is a virus that only affects the elderly and the population at risk, by decreasing the transmission speed, the possibility of business collapse is also decreased. Also, they didn’t want to be responsible for someone on their staff getting infected. They also did not want the risk of being in the news, because in the press conferences data such as companies, schools or religious communities with positive results are being indicated, nobody wants them to tell the whole of Spain that there is a positive or quarantine in their company, for having attended Spannabis, with the additional stigma that it would place on the sector.
They also took into account other types of risks. For example, the entire hotel will be quarantined and all the company will be held there, unable to return home. Also, if an employee becomes infected, but is asymptomatic, they can infect another part of the workforce. With the Health regulations in hand, this can mean quarantine of the workforce and closing of warehouses, in the middle of the season. In addition, international companies in some countries were afraid of being quarantined at their borders, when returning to their countries.
Context in Spain while Spannabis intended to move forward
On March 8, although there were public events throughout the country, Spain already came out of sologripism, when the Civil Guard Rapid Action Group, in NBQ suits, showed up in Haro to monitor that quarantine was being fulfilled. Time when the Government delegate in La Rioja, Maria Marrodan publicly recalled that “the obligation of obedience is not a voluntary matter, it is a duty.”
On March 9, Spain passed the barrier of the 1000 infected. The minister of health, Salvador Illa admits in his appearance that the crisis was evolving worse, while decreeing the change of scenery to reinforced containment and the closure of colleges, institutes and universities in the Community of Madrid.
On March 10, Salvador Illa, announced, in high transmission areas, the suspension of events of more than 1000 people, as well as the reduction to a third of the capacity of the rest of events. He also indicated that the rest of the events would be assessed on a case by case basis. That same day the president of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, acknowledged that we are facing a health emergency, in which each person can help following the recommendations of the experts. He explained that “There will be difficult weeks, but we will overcome it if we all assume our role.” After the intervention of Pedro Sánchez, the cancellation of the failures was announced.
Spannabis did not respond to World Health Organization recommendations for fairs
On March 7, WHO announced the global number of confirmed COVID19 cases has exceeded 100K. WHO reminds all countries and communities that the spread of this coronavirus can be significantly reduced or even reversed through strong containment and control activities.
In the recommendations for events, published on March 8, WHO warns the organizers: “There is a risk that people attending your meeting or event may unintentionally bring the coronavirus to the meeting. Others may be exposed to COVID-19 without knowing it. While COVID-19 is a mild disease for most people, it can become seriously ill. About 1 in 5 people who get COVID-19 need hospital treatment. ”
That is why WHO asks that a face-to-face meeting or event be needed. Also ask can you climb so that fewer people attend ?. Spannabis could have escalated unless with two simple measures. First, allow exhibitors to cancel without threatening to lose their position in later years. Secondly, raising tickets to the public to deterrent levels, such as 1000 euros per ticket. Neither these nor other measures were taken by the Spannabis Fair to reduce the influx of the event.
Spannabis as a metaphor for the coronavirus in Spain and the world
The cancellation of Spannabis, as well as the position of the different actors, is a good metaphor for a debate between the different models. In the week before Spannabis, Soft Secrets was able to verify that the majority of large companies were in favor of cancellation, for assessing aspects already mentioned, especially the safety of their staff, as well as the possibility of having to carry out a quarantine between their staff or facilities. It is logical, they are companies that face much greater risks than losing what is invested in Spannabis.
On the other hand, some medium and small companies were in favor of continuing because they could not allow the cancellation, since they had invested a lot of resources in preparing this fair that they did not want to lose. This is also logical, to some extent, since mass demonstrations were allowed in Spain on March 8, while VOX gathered 10,000 people in an enclosure, why did they have to suffer the losses?
This duality is also observed in how the situation is treated worldwide. China was in favor of radical measures so that the process was not extended, because they can afford it, thanks to its impressive surplus. On the other hand, it is a more difficult measure to take for small, more indebted countries that depend on tourism, such as Italy and Spain.
But not taking these measures leads to a worse place. Right now Italy is approaching the precipice, the risk premium goes up, the debt goes up, exports fall, tourism stopped, the country is blocked, the UCIS collapsed and triages to decide the patients who live and die. If Spain does not act quickly, it will travel a similar path and discover that it is better to face losses in the short term to the consequences of not taking action.
This attitude is not only of Spannabis Fair. For example, the hostel where we booked, Hostal Cornella, when we tried to cancel on March 9, after the Salvador Illa conference where he advised not to travel, they told us that they would not let us cancel because those were opinions. On March 10, after Pedro Sánchez’s press conference where he explained that we were in a national emergency, we were told that what we wanted was to skip the contract conditions. It is a time of solidarity, that we all put a little and nobody loses much. At this time, humanity, empathy and solidarity are needed, not trying to take advantage of a public health crisis to charge for a service that has not been provided. There are plenty of attitudes like those of the Hostal Cornellá, sticking to the letter of the contract, in the midst of a national emergency.
Coronavirus and the cannabis industry
Different key players in the industry, with whom Soft Secrets has contacted, consider that the main concern now is to keep workers healthy, who are the biggest capital of companies. Some companies are already preparing to minimize trips abroad, as well as eliminate commercial visits to their facilities. They are also promoting teleworking and preparing for future incidents.
Beyond the cancellation of Spannabis, another important concern is to maintain the supply chain. Of course, the masks, which sold to spray pesticides, have flown and there is no stock left. The problems have also reached the Chinese factories that supply many products of the cannabis industry, some factories came to a standstill and now start with significant shortages of personnel and raw materials. This situation could bring the rise in prices of some products and also stock breakage, due to delays in Chinese factories. Different sources indicate that companies with better contacts in China will simply receive their products two or three weeks later or will have to pay shipping costs by plane,
Regarding the listed companies, they were already in a crack process, very detailed in the report on licenses for cannabis cultivation in Spain and the international speculative bubble. These companies have relied on news prepared to inflate the value of their shares. An example can be found in Spannabis itself. The year 2019 High Times announced to hype and saucer that it would buy Spannabis, but they did not make any of the committed payments. This year 2020 has been Spannabis that has denied any kind of collaboration or relationship with the High Times. All these companies so bubbly, which had been in full crack for months, are going to find themselves with an additional difficulty, the wild drainage of liquidity in the markets, which is making even veteran companies with solid businesses have the prices falling to lead. This lack of liquidity in the markets could be the definitive sprig to Canadian quoted cannabis companies, which have been falling for months.
Covid19 and the marijuana scene
Many of the main exhibitors at cannabis fairs, give the spring season of Fairs for loss, with cancellation of all fairs in the coming months, also those that have not officially canceled. For example in France or Switzerland, right now there are limitations to concentrations of more than 1000 people, if it is maintained it could affect the CannaTrade that has dates from May 15 to 17.
It remains to be seen, how it will affect other types of events, such as congresses, marijuana cups or marches. Cancellations are high probability throughout Italy and France, as well as certain areas of Spain, such as Madrid, Catalonia, Euskadi or La Rioja.
In Italy the measures also affect shops and restaurants that cannot guarantee a minimum separation of 1 meter, if such measures are imposed in areas such as Spain, they could also affect growshops or clubs.
As of now, a new cannabis label is necessary for the coronavirus. Practices such as sharing the pipes or pipes are transmission vectors, so they should be eliminated. Each person should have their smoker’s tools and not share them. The presence of large numbers of people in enclosed spaces should also be avoided, which increases the viral load and facilitates the spread. Washing your hands frequently is important, but be careful with compulsive soap washes, as they can cause eczema on the hands, so it is convenient to alternate with the famous hydroalcoholic gel, which in many cases is hydroalcoholic lotion, much less dense, but also effective.
Growshop products to prevent COVID 19
In your growshop you can find materials to protect you from the coronavirus. Spray masks have already flown, but there are still stocks of nitrile glove boxes to protect your hands.
Another very interesting topic for disinfection are products such as Hydroliq and Purolyt, based on water, salt and electricity, to achieve a powerful natural disinfectant, totally safe for plants, people and animals. In addition, you can purchase a Light Clean, this ultraviolet light is used to disinfect oidium and is also effective in the case of the coronavirus, it can be used to disinfect money, mobiles, clothes or other elements that enter the street.
Take advantage of going through your growshop to load and make the purchase of the season, just in case your area falls into quarantine. If you are a self-cultivator of cannabis, it is a good idea to stock up on seeds, land and fertilizers. If you have not yet started self-cultivation, perhaps now is an excellent time for a hobby like this, since if you go through a quarantine, you will have time to inform yourself, in addition to a hobby that entertains and relaxes. Self-cultivators have the advantage that they do not need to go to the black market for marijuana, they already have the fruit of their harvest, so in case of quarantine they will not be left short of supplies.
Corovirus What will happen?
In his message of March 10, the president of Spain, Pedro Sánchez warned that there will be difficult times, but we will overcome them if we all assume our role. He called trust, serenity and unity. From Soft Secrets we join this message. The moment is now.
During the coronavirus crisis, private health insurances have washed their hands, if we get ahead it is because of the excellent national public health system. We are playing a lot, first of all serious public health crisis and the entry into an economic depression. In addition, Western democracies could be weakened, compared to the Chinese centralist state that reacted strongly and organically. Chinese communism, to survive, has been tinged with elements of capitalism. To survive this crisis and others to come, such as the energy crisis, capitalism will have to adopt elements of the Chinese state, such as a large central state that guarantees health, housing or education for all people.
Note: Article in constant update, as news arises and the Spannabis Fair offers explanations of why they did not put above all people’s health and why they did not follow the recommendations made by Health in previous days. We thank Inma Bonhevi of Feria Spannabis for the time she spent responding to Soft Secrets during such a complicated day for the organization