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CannaCon Seattle 2018 was my first ever cannabis convention. I didn’t have an expectation walking in, but each day I left with more assurance that I made the correct decision dedicating my post-college life to the cannabis industry.

CannaCon’s slogan is “where the cannabis industry does business,” and I was blown away by the wide variety of businesses on the convention floor. On top of a packed floor full of booths, there were three days of talks and seminars designed to further educate the industry in business, science, and industry standards. This year’s three keynote speakers were Gov. Jay Inslee, Former President Of Mexico Vicente Fox, and a renown geneticist from Nova Scotia, Canada, Sean Myles.

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The Floor

The CannaCon Seattle 2018 floor was filled with hundreds of vendors. Producers, processors, retailers, and users could all find something to pique their interest. The floor was covered with bowls of free candy in every variety you could think of, plus there was free merchandise, stuff for sale, grab bags, raffles, artwork, and displays. It was a celebration of the cannabis industry and all its many facets.

I was blown away at the level of industrial technology that is entering the cannabis space, especially on the producer/processor side of the industry. The floor was filled with automated conveyor belts, labelers, sticker machines, cartridge filling machines and many other automated devices designed to improve speed and efficiency during cannabis production. Some other services I saw included graphic designers, brand consultants, cannabis publications, analytics labs, data, and technology companies, surveillance companies, safe-makers, nutrient companies, and many others.

Cannabis concentrates still make up a small space in overall cannabis sales, but it’s clear how popular concentrates are becoming. The amount of extraction technology was almost overwhelmingly present on the floor. Extraction companies had the newest extraction tanks and setups, the latest rosin presses, purge ovens, scientific glassware of all shapes and sizes, and other highly scientific materials designed to make concentrates.

Cannabis users and budtenders were able to find just as many booths aimed at increasing their cannabis product knowledge. Brands like Mammoth Labs and Bodhi High had people at their booth spitting knowledge about how their concentrates are made. The booth that I learned the most from was True Terpenes, who create food grade organic terpenes. At their booth, there were terpenes being dispersed through humidifiers, giving you a concentrated aroma profile for six of the most common terpenes. Finally putting names to certain cannabis aromas is such a huge step for my strain reviews. That “lime candy” smell I love from the Banana Split strain is limonene. That distinct haziness you get from the Dutch strains? Terpinolene. That overwhelming pine-needle smell comes from Alpha-Pinene. I took home a personal terpene kit to help identify prominent terpenes in my strain reviews to further educate my readers.

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Seminars

CannaCon Seattle 2018 featured a different keynote speaker each day and dozens of other seminars on topics like business, retail, cultivation, extraction, marketing, branding, finance, science and, genetics. Washington Governor Jay Inslee ended day one with a progress report on the traceability issues involving LeafData. He also thanked the industry for all of their hard work promised to keep standing up to Jeff Sessions’ anti-cannabis rhetoric.

Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox applauded Washington’s cannabis industry for its innovation, promoted the idea of free cannabis trade throughout North America, and announced the CannaMexico World Summit. On the final day, geneticist Sean Myles explained how his research reveals that cannabis strain names don’t reflect their true genetic profiles and that indica, sativa, and hybrid classifications are basically meaningless.

Every CannaCon seminar I attended taught me something new. Besides Inslee and Fox, I focused on seminars dealing with terpenes and genetics. People within the industry have been whispering about misleading strain names and lack of terpene knowledge for a while now, and many of these suspicions were confirmed by science and research this past weekend.

I’m excited that terpene knowledge is growing rapidly because cannabis effects are determined by so much more than a simple indica, hybrid, and sativa designation and THC test results. Learning how cannabinoids and terpenes interact through the entourage effect will completely change how cannabis is bought and sold at the retail level.

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Overall Vibe

You could feel the love and enthusiasm for cannabis throughout the entire conference. Whether it was in the Mammoth Labs VIP lounge sipping free coffee or lemonade while eavesdropping on everyone discussing their favorite booths. In the seminars watching focused attendees take notes and ask questions, or on the floor watching wide-eyed on-lookers admire the technological upswing the industry has undergone.

Before CannaCon Seattle 2018, I truly didn’t grasp how all-encompassing the cannabis industry has become in such a short amount of time. I felt a sense of pride walking around with my camera and media badge around my neck, knowing I’m a small part of it all. The industry isn’t perfect and will encounter more complications, but there’s so much to be proud about. I walked away from CannaCon Seattle 2018  with a better understanding of how many moving parts the cannabis industry has and how hard everyone is working behind the scenes to keep them moving smoothly.

Before CannaCon Seattle, I had a strange fear that the proverbial rug was going to be pulled out from underneath me. I didn’t really understand how cannabis journalism was paying my bills and it felt like the checks would stop at any time.

After CannaCon Seattle, I feel the rug firmly beneath my feet and that it isn’t going anywhere. To see how cannabis is touching people from all walks of life and businesses from all facets of science, agriculture, retail, finance, and business motivated me to put even more work into my craft. I need to make sure I’m pulling as much weight as the hardworking people I met at CannaConSeattle 2018.

CannaCon Seattle 2018 Gallery

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