Going to the largest Cannabis Business Expo and Convention for the first time was exciting for us. So much has changed since we started our journey back in the ‘70’s. Sure, we smoked pot – but it was kind of an underground thing. We all did it – and we all managed to get it – but there was no actual place to buy weed. Still, somehow, everyone who wanted it found a way to get it. It was in that heady time that I started and published Head Magazine.
Imagine the Rip Van Winkle experience- waking up today, where you can go into a store to buy marijuana, chat it up with budtenders about which strain does what, and select from a variety of edibles and flower and so much more. That was the experience: being blown away by MJBizCon with 30,000 attendees and a football field’s worth of paraphernalia.
I believe the cannabis business is still in a nascent stage, with so much more to go.
Now, onto the incredible experience of MJBizCon.
First off – I love the Cannabis Business. It has the most wonderful people in it, people of all ages and backgrounds from all over the country and the world.
Day One: Associations Day. It was a lot about the non-profits and the good they do for their communities and for the industry. Associations Day at MJBizCon was an opportunity to meet, mingle and get involved with a wide variety of non-profits in the cannabis world.
There were a lot of events and Symposiums tailored to those in different aspects of the cannabis industry, including cultivators, retailers, packagers, and all kinds of support, including papers, paraphernalia, machinery to facilitate the businesses. It was also a marketplace for capital development and marketing and distribution concerns.
The Symposiums covered topics of interest in a variety of aspects of the industry including in-depth seminars and lectures on Manufacturing, Growing, and the Law.
Of course, the centerpiece was the Expo itself, which was amazing. One side of the vast Las Vegas Convention Center Hall was for cultivators, while the other side was for packaging. Each side was the size of several football fields, and one could easily spend all day just in a small part of it.
There was also an area devoted to psychedelics and the related industry.
For us, one of the highlights was the Feminine Forward Talks that took place at The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino, featuring some of the industry’s top women cannabis entrepreneurs. The atmosphere was smart, friendly and informal and if you wanted to pause and have a drink at the world-famous chandelier bar on the way, well, there was no one to stop you.
Speaking of hotels, we had a chance to ride the Tesla Tunnel (which was very cool), which takes you to/from the various Las Vegas Convention Center Expo Halls and the fabulous four-point-three-billion-dollar Resorts World Hotel and Casino. Videos Below.
Tesla Tunnel Reception Area
Tesla Tunnel Ride
And then, there were The Parties. While some spent their after-hours time visiting The Vegas Eye, or hitting the clubs, or the gambling tables, we took a VIP tour of the MJBiz parties. Some were complimentary, others required payment and still others required registration in advance, they were all fantastic. Even for Vegas’ high standards, believe me, no one parties like this crowd.
But, if you just wanted to kick it, every night there was a get together at the Cosmopolitan, just for those that had no other plans.
The adventure began with the official MJBizCon After-Party at Caesar’s Palace the first night in town, which was complimentary for those attending- requiring only a badge to attend. After that there were numerous “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” events every evening to choose from.
We were lucky to be invited to the DopeCFO party, hosted by the powerhouse accounting firm for its clients. Top of the Industry, and such nice folks.
Final highlight- the Grasslands party. Everyone wanted in on that one, and we were lucky to attend. It was a rollicking night with excellent networking opportunities and a wonderful vibe. (It also featured great party favors.)
As a first time attendee, I can say we definitely want to go again next year!
Charlotte Parker is the Editor and Publisher of Head Magazine and HeadMagazine.com