When someone says the word cannabis, many things come to mind. Everything from bushy plants, and people passing joints, to vape pens, weed brownies, and big plumes of smoke. Then there are celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Tommie Chong and Willie Nelson, tie-dye shirts, among countless other cliches associated with cannabis culture. These images do relate to cannabis, but they don’t convey the cannabis industry’s break-neck growth as the fastest growing industry in the United States.
Marijuana Business Daily is a cannabis business-focused publication, and one of the fastest growing publications in the world. Cassandra Farrington is the CEO and co-founded the publication in 2011. Farrington and a team of business media professionals saw an opportunity to help the cannabis community understand business-focused numbers and language.
“We want to help people run their businesses better and do their jobs better,” Farrington said in an interview with Respect My Region co-owner and Brand Director, Joey Brabo.
MJBIZCON was founded by Marijuana Business Daily to expand their role as stewards of cannabis business. Business-to-business (B2B) conventions aren’t a new thing in the industry, but few are backed by a publication with the business experience and clout that Marijuana Business Daily possesses. MJBIZCON Las Vegas their flagship event and the largest cannabis business convention in the world with around 35,000 attendees this year.
MJBIZCON takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center—a massive facility that spans 3.2 million square feet and is filled with a full-sized Starbucks and multiple food courts. Thousands of vendors covered every inch of the convention floor while experts from different sectors of cannabis spoke in the exhibition halls. The grand entranceway had makeshift podcast studios where people were having interviews throughout all three days. Journalists and media members conducted interviews all over the floor and inside the makeshift press room—set right in the middle of the convention floor chaos.
The convention floor was a 1,000,000 square feet of controlled chaos, the human equivalent of a busy beehive. The constant buzz of conversation washing over everything like a static wave. Thousands of cannabis professionals were swapping business cards and chopping it up about business deals and trade secrets. All the while networking and building their respective empires.
There were so many different businesses competing for market-share in similar spaces. Extraction equipment, branding companies, automation technology for production, investors, research and development, CBD products in every functionality imaginable, cultivation equipment, vaporizers of all sizes, beverage makers, and a heavy packaging presence. Sto Responsible is a child-resistant and sustainable packaging brand competing for sales and clients on the convention floor.
Sto Responsible is based out of Boulder Colorado and has only been in the market for a few weeks after four years of research and development into their patented cannabis packaging, co-founder Sandra Elkind said. The goal behind Sto Responsible was to create safe and creative solutions to solve producer packaging problems.
Sto Responsible designed their packaging to provide a true “unboxing experience” that allows products to sit inside protected and unscathed. Elkind and her partner designed their packaging for the cannabis industry instead of sourcing from medical and food industries like many other types of cannabis packaging. Sto Responsible also sources materials and builds everything in the United States and uses biodegradable plastics that start to oxidize and break down in five to 10 years instead of 500 years like cheaper types of plastic.
Elkind isn’t worried about the ravenous competition and high barrier of entry to the cannabis industry. While it may seem like it’ll make things more difficult, it actually limits your competition. Because people are more likely to quit when there’s more adversity standing between you and owning a successful cannabis business.
Best Of Show Room Floor
There were hundreds of eye-catching booths and displays, but several stood-apart with unique products, lavish displays, or memorable experiences.
Two Roots Brewing
Two Roots Brewing separated themselves with unforgettable non-infused samples of their tea, , beer and coffee. They were offering two flavors of tea and beer. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I do love tea, and their teas were both spectacular. The mango-peach tea had a smooth and subtle flavor, but the mint-black tea was something special. The mint wasn’t overwhelming but balanced out the tea flavor into something incredibly refreshing.
Another beverage maker specializing in hemp-based soda pop. These samples also packed memorable flavor. My favorite was their hemp CBD soda that tasted like Captain Crunch Crunch Berries, it was absolutely incredible.
One of the only pet-intended CBD brands on the floor is based out of Coppell, Texas. Paws Effect offers hemp-based CBD tinctures and topicals designed for dogs and cats. They will soon have more products on the way. Paws Effect uses third-party testing for all of their source material to make sure their pets and yours are only getting the clean and safe medicinal ingredients.
This Portland, Oregon based brand always shows out at cannabis conventions, but their booth in Las Vegas was incredible by their own lifted standards. The main section of their booth had a traditional holiday shopping mall feel. It was featuring little fake trees strung with white Christmas lights and bottles of terpenes stacked on white wooden boxes. The back display had a beautiful backdrop of six prominent cannabis terpenes and a smelling jar for each one.
A booth straight out of Minority Report with sales reps and models in all white attire, towering columns with video screens and loud bass music. What really stood out was their product demonstrations. This was including a powerful flower grinder and device that uses steam to seal pre-rolled joints instantly.
Pax continues to stand out from other vaporizer brands in the market. Their booth boasted a lounge and video monitors that encouraged attendees to stay and learn about Pax devices and purchase their own. Pax always brings laser engraving devices to customize your Pax device—mine has a pair of dice.
These brilliant neon signs will add a level of unrivaled flair to your facility or retail shop. The classic Cheeba Chews sign caught my eye from across the entire showroom floor.
Definitely one of the coolest demonstrations on the convention floor, these powerful little microscopes have the power to clearly show you the fibers in your shirt or any other microscopic pest you’re trying to find on your cannabis plants.
There was a definite global presence at MJBIZCON. Canada, Israel, and many other countries came out to explore financial and business opportunities in the cannabis space. Farrington and Marijuana Business Daily are well aware of this global presence and are expanding their content to accommodate by stationing more full-time reporters in Canada and Europe.
On top of MJBIZCON Next which takes place in New Orleans, they also produce MJBIZCON Int’l which is specifically aimed at solving issues and networking in the cannabis global marketplace. A crucial part of that global marketplace will be the hemp industry. Hemp Industry Daily is already live and Hemp Industry Daily Conference is launching in conjunction with MJBIZCON Next in New Orleans this upcoming June.
Farrington expects the hemp industry to bring a lot of economic stability to communities all over the world, including America’s rust belt states.
“People have already connected with everything from biofuels, to construction, textiles – everything hemp has the potential to be,” Farrington said.
Doing It Big In Vegas – After Parties And Nightlife
There were dozens of parties and celebrations surrounding MJBIZCON all week long. On top of free nightclub entry with your MJBIZCON badge, numerous parties rented out lavish casino suites and kept the party rolling into the wee hours of the morning. Respect My Region was lucky enough to spend time at the Cannabition Cannabis Museum checking out the world’s largest bong, as well as Cosmopolitan and Bellagio suites living the high life above the Las Vegas skyline.
The Cosmo is one of the newest and hippest spots on the strip. It’s also one of the last featuring balconies with incredible views overlooking the electric horizon and serene desert mountains. The Bellagio suite was set right behind the legendary Bellagio fountains. The guests ordered room service and served up some of the largest dabs of the finest oil I’ve ever seen.
Business & Cannabis Heads Need To Unite
It’s important to remember that Marijuana Business Daily and MJBIZCON comprise of mainly business professionals. Business professionals who aren’t necessarily well-versed in cannabis culture or the art and science of cannabis cultivation. Farrington herself admits she and her team were “not informed on the plant itself” at first. Business professionals will need to network, consult and partner with people who live with and for cannabis. We’re talking the smokers, stoners, weed-connoisseurs, master growers, breeders, and extractors.
Knowing how to run a business, raise money, and manage resources is an important piece of the industry. But that all starts with creating an amazing flower that people want to experience and turn into oils, tinctures, topicals, and edibles. The cannabis industry will only reach its full potential when the business professionals and the cannabis-heads come together. That way business is profitable but still has dank flower and cannabis culture rooted as the base of the industry.