Listen up, Leafly Nation—you 147 million people around the globe smoking on the good-good.
Get ready for more fresh Zkittlez crosses, more killer ‘Cali weed,’ more US-made seeds, and more live rosin in the coming weeks and months hitting your local smoke scene.
Leafly just got back with the details from Europe’s top cannabis festival, Spannabis, which just wrapped up in Barcelona, Spain.
The three-day expo demolished records for the 19-year-old event, with more than 25,000 attendees and 500 exhibitors from over 50 countries. The massive smokeout anchored two weeks of pot contests like the Ego Clash Barcelona and parties like Fidel’s Hash Holes and Donuts. Global stoners packed more than 100 private Barcelona cannabis clubs in what amounted to the US cannabis industry’s mix of South by Southwest and Spring Break.
Here are seven trends coming to your cannabis from Spannabis.
More Zkittlez strains in more corners of the globe
Let’s start at the beginning—with the weed. The 8-year-old hybrid Zkittlez had a banner year at the Spannabis Champions Cup, placing first and second in the expo’s official contest. Furthermore, the Zkittlez project Zortzi from Bask Triangle Farms placed first in the 2023 Barcelona Ego Clash contest for flower. Zortzi is made of Z x Ortzadar (the Basque word for rainbow). Ortzadar itself is a Bask Triangle Farms cross of Z x Cookies and Cream.
Beyond the undeniable trophies, the lines spoke for themselves. The 3rd Gen Family Farm booth pretty much sold out of its Z-focused seed packs at €350 (euros) per seed pack, or two packs for €500. 3rd Gen’s Z work powered seven wins in the Spannabis Champions Cup, said 3rd Gen Fam owner Brandon. Another leading Z seed seller, Terphogz, also served throngs of customers at Spannabis.
What makes Z so dominant? It’s the terpenes, dummy. Z emits a kaleidoscopically-juicy rainbow of tropical fruit flavor. Z’s heavy yet happy high has made fans the world over.
‘Cali weed’ is calling the shots
Walk into the private Barcelona Strain Hunters Club, and look at the menu: California flavors rule. California strains Baby Yoda and Red Velvet sit right at the top of the menu at €30 per gram.
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Many clubs, including Dank of England, have an entire top shelf named “Cali Weed.” It featured three Los Angeles heavyweights: Seed Junky Genetics’ Permanent Marker strain, Super Dope brand eighths, and Backpack Boyz’s Lemon Cherry Gelato. Cookies’ Cereal A La Mode gave a NorCal assist. Eighths ran the equivalent of $100.
Growers from Barcelona to Morocco showed off California genetics like La Bomba (Jet Fuel Gelato x Wedding Cake). We saw local Apples & Bananas x Red Pop. Cookies’ Gary Payton strain got crossed to Leafly Strain of the Year 2022 Jealousy, and Gary Payton x Jokerz (both by Hidden Group Genetics). Node Labs, a tissue culture company in Santa Rosa, CA, said White Runtz now grows in Colombia.
Many California industry players bought one-way tickets to Barcelona. They planned to keep traveling to prospective business deals in Israel, Portugal, Switzerland, and beyond.
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DNA Genetics sold out of their #23 ‘Michael Jordan’ variety of Holy Grail Kush x Kosher Kush.
Lior Pisso, co-owner of a greenhouse mega-grow in Israel, said the company had switched from Canadian seeds to Compound Genetics in San Francisco.
“California genetics are amazing,” she said.
Israeli medical cannabis patients need maximum-potency Cali flower, due to a 50-gram-per-month cap, she said. “We need every puff to be a killer.”
The US seed scene has eclipsed Europe’s
Since the ’70s, European hemp laws gave cover to a robust weed seed industry that decided what US growers planted. The US is the captain, now.
Michigan cultivation director, Erin Najebi, at Tang Farms said, “The European seed free-for-all is now the US seed free for all.”
What changed? Congress legalized hemp in 2018. In 2022, the US Drug Enforcement Administration ruled seeds were hemp, not marijuana, and so legal to possess, sell, and distribute.
DNA Genetics CEO Rezwan Khan said, “for ten years, Spannabis was seeds, seeds, seeds. The seed revolution is in the US now and it’s totally wild.”
“All that American shit hits hard.”
“Gil,” a local Barcelona grower
DNA Genetics co-founder, Don Morris, added that “we’re creating the rocket and then riding it.”
One UK grower, Adrian (not his real name) said full legalization allows US breeders to innovate further and faster “than anything Europe can do under prohibition.”
One Barcelona greenhouse grower, “Gil” said he ran Artificial Red (GMO x Red Pop) and Swamp Boys Seeds’s hashy Lemon Tree strain Romie this year. Why?
“All that American shit hits hard,” he said.
Rosin and live rosin is sweeping the globe
A solventless revolution sweeps around the globe, ya’ll. We’re talking about bubble hash, heat-pressed and filtered into pure, potent, and tasty dabs. Bobby West, founder of the contest Uncle Stoner’s Squash Off, told Leafly, “the world is going solventless. I think it’s the future—from edibles to everything. The cleaner it is, the better it is.”
Mauricio Santa Cruz from the Colombia Exotics hash brand in Colombia said, “Oh yeah, it’s sweeping the globe.”
Colombia gained live rosin technology around two years ago, he said. This year, growers across Latin America are buying seeds for plants that produce great hash, as well as rosin presses to make the product.
DNA Genetics’ Khan said Europe has a longtime specialty in trichome extraction with bubble hash. Europe’s now skipping over the butane hash oil wave and going straight to rosin. Rosin and live rosin accurately reproduce flower’s taste and high, experts said.
More wild legal dichotomies
Medical cannabis law reform, as well as decriminalization, have given weed ‘semi-legalization’ status in more places than ever. That makes for some wild legal dichotomies.
In Barcelona, private clubs sell 2023 Cali weed, but walk out onto the streets and police can stop and search you for the smell alone like it’s the ‘90s. They may seize your stash, or worse—a night in jail and fines of several hundred euros.
Barcelona grows better weed and nurtures a more robust scene than Amsterdam, but pot remains illegal in Spain. We heard of several tourists stopped, and some held overnight.
Amsterdam-based Raavi Spaarenberg—head of Sensi Seeds—said, “Laws go back and forward. Barcelona is going left and right. People are still going to jail.”
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Lance Lambert, chief marketing officer for Grove Bags, compared Barcelona to the medical state of Oklahoma, mixed with California’s Proposition 215 days. “It’s insane.”
From India to Australia, pockets of cannabis culture thrive in countries without weed freedom. These are places where society tolerates private smoking, while growers and sellers face fines and prison.
A new level of collaboration begins
More dope collaborations are coming to your weed than ever.
At the top of the list, two titans of European and American seeds unite in ‘Breeding Grounds’—the new deal between Humboldt Seed Co and Amsterdam’s 35-year-old Sensi Seeds brand.
The pair have four new strains—two new automatic cultivars and two new feminized strains—that unite the best of the Old World and the New. “We are growing together and playing off each other’s styles,” said Sensi’s Spaarenberg, whose dad is Sensi Seed’s famous Ben Dronkers.
Celebrity cultivation author Ed Rosenthal helped put the deal together, saying “it’s a match of legacies. They have an unbeatable combination.”
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Europe has a lot of Hazes and Cheeses to work with, said Spaarenberg. Humboldt Seed Co plans to hunt through 2,000 authentic Skunk phenotypes from decades past, and bring back the true Skunk.
Spaarenberg said weed brands once did everything by themselves. But the explosion in international cannabis requires collaboration.
Other winning collabs included: Spanish brand Black Tuna x Colombia Exotics and their strain Milk Runtz—which won the Dabadoo contest. 3rd Gen Fam also showed off two Emerald Triangle collabs—the Zunkist line and the Ill Eagle line of OZ Kush male crosses for just €50. Terphogz Fields x DNA Genetics’ collab on Z x Strawberry Banana—Ztrawberriez.
And a hyper-charged international cannabis culture
Cheap flights, Instagram, and global weed law reform have combined to make cannabis culture more international than it’s ever been.
By 2026, 7.5 billion people will have smartphones. The cannabis community has never been more connected.
“You can find it in real-time, all over the world. Any US trend, within 30 days, is global now,” said Khan at DNA Genetics.
Remote spots like The Canary Islands now host pot contests. Germany has gone medical, with Switzerland is next. The Czech Republic is opening up, and Thailand is smokin’ with over 1,000 dispensaries open in Bangkok.
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The Israeli mega-greenhouse owner Lior Pisso said “it’s insane to see the globalization going on. Just look around at Spannabis and all the colorful, amazing, beautiful people here.”
Raavi at Sensi said, “It’s going off. The industry is changing everywhere. It’s a global thing now.”
And that’s seven trends, so we’ll save what’s going on with cultivation and the living soil wave, or accessories like the Puffco Proxy for another day.
Go get your passport renewed, book a flight, and get out there, Leafly Nation. A whole weed world awaits.