In order to bolster Greece’s reputation as a home to wonders of the world AutoPot Watering Systems recently took a trip to Athens! The “City of the Violet Crown” was playing host to the inaugural Balkannabis Expo wherein we were to exhibit. Balkannabis Expo has the admirable aim of becoming a focal point for the commercial hemp and medical marijuana sectors in the Balkans and S.E. Europe. Specifically this involves attracting those who provide manufacturing, processing technologies, seeds, tech distribution, commercial production, wholesale services, retail outlets and horticultural innovation. Happy to say that the organisers ensured every one of these bases was covered in depth and with eye-opening variety. First shows can be a source of trepidation but our AutoPot show veterans reckoned the venue, fellow exhibitors and attendance were up there with the best events in which we’ve participated.
In showcasing some remarkably efficient and innovative horticultural companies Balkannabis serves to meet a growing demand from Greek and Eastern European commercial growers. Horticulture is, and will be, an important industry for the region but only as long as technologies can be introduced that make increasingly scarce resources go further. Safe to say we felt qualified to dip our toes in the water efficiency debate where Greece and the Balkans are concerned as AutoPot Watering Systems waste not a drop of sacred aqua and draw not a watt of power.
Appropriately enough, for an event set on the artfully redeveloped site of the former Athens gasworks, the weekend was absolutely piping! AutoPot thoroughly enjoyed their spot in the outdoor courtyard of the former Gazi factory – now renamed “Technopolis”. Special thanks go out to our translator Chris who helped us forge some very promising relationships with customers from northern Greece and Macedonia.
Such customers, along with large-scale foreign producers and investors, are being drawn to medical marijuana (MMJ) cultivation in Greece as the country’s trajectory towards a government sanctioned MMJ program assumes near-inevitability. Several key criteria are already satisfied in the case of introducing an MMJ program to Greece. The climate is such that, provided power and water efficient technologies can be applied, overheads for producers will be absolutely minimal. A progressive and liberalising government appears to have taken the view that, as a crop, marijuana can have life-changing effects on a medical and economic level. They are now legislating accordingly in the hope of satisfying increased medical demand, attracting investment in horticulture, drawing revenues from taxation and providing much needed jobs.
Barely pausing, but pausing all the same, to enjoy their ensuite swimming pools (water efficiency questionable) our show-hardened staff got the AutoPot caravan rolling once again for Berlin. It was the siren call of Mary Jane Berlin that brought us to the banks of the River Spree. Suffice to say the temperatures there were sufficient for Berlin down the house, twas crackling! UK Account Manager Dan Dozzini and European Account Manager Dave Gulliver did sterling work in the heat whilst Elena Perez, jetting in from AutoPot Spain, was entirely unruffled in a cardigan at all times in order to keep any rogue drafts at bay.
The third edition of Mary Jane Berlin combined the prestige of over 200 major international exhibitors with conferences, entertainment and cultural diversions. Naturally, the tone and thrust of the show reflect the current state of Germany’s MMJ program. Germany is a little way down the road from Greece both physically and in terms of its medical marijuana program. In Germany there have been unexpected positives and negatives both of which demonstrate that medicinal legalisation isn’t straightforward. Legalisation for prescribed medicinal use in 2017 led to a surge in demand and positive testimonials. However this surge has outstripped supply and blindsided German health insurance companies. Lack of preparedness has led to costs at which insurance companies have baulked – even to the extent of questioning the medicinal value of their patients marijuana treatments. Amongst other things these issues might’ve been alleviated by researching the kind of established, reliable, efficient technology and infrastructure to be found on show at events such as Mary Jane Berlin. There was clearly an impressive range of practical knowledge and hard earned perspective there, ready to be tapped.
Interest in the AutoPot stand was insatiable to say the least, with special attention garnered by the XL SmartPot Systems and the understandably much ballyhooed Auto 9 and 8 XL tray systems. As is the norm we brought some of our personal favourites onto the stand including SANlight who most kindly gave us some of their LEDs to demonstrate over the easy2propagate along with Cutting Edge Organics Rooting Gel. A big mention of thanks to Rob from OCL lighting for giving us one of his Ralight fans. Without it Dave G. doubts he would have survived to tell the tale / been able to keep his quips and repartee from becoming sweat addled before the Mills-AutoPot dinner on the Saturday night.