It’s the most interesting time of the year.
Fresh off a robust Croptober and only a week after Election Day, MJBizCon is finally upon us. The cannabis industry’s biggest trade show, which attracts around 30,000 attendees to the Las Vegas Convention Center, is poised to see an onslaught of C-suite executives, hopeful entrepreneurs, niche media representatives, service providers, brand reps, and everyone in between.
After a roller coaster year for cannabis, which saw worsening market conditions and massive layoffs, as well as glimmers of hope toward reform, it’ll be a fascinating week. Conversations will likely center around what’s to come, how the industry will survive, and whether we’ll actually see any true progress made in 2023. The addition of psychedelic programming to MJBizCon via the reMind Business Forum should also provide food for thought, especially after voters in Colorado decided this week to legalize psilocybin.
Despite the turmoil within the space, it’s always something special when the community gets together. There will likely be many new faces this year, and this writer anticipates many of them to be from the East Coast and the South. The entire team at Beard Bros is looking forward to making new connections, reuniting with old friends, and seeing what everyone has on deck for the new year.
Here’s what else we’re stoked on ahead of the biggest week in weed.
Making Emotional Deposits
We asked the cannabis community on LinkedIn what they were most looking forward to at MJBiz and the vast majority of responses centered around building and strengthening bonds. Whether it’s catching up with peers, meeting social media contacts IRL, or gaining new leads, everyone’s craving some in-person interaction (after all, aren’t trade shows meant to facilitate networking?).
Daryl Denison is looking forward to his first MJBizCon. The COO of AI Grow, which provides automation solutions for controlled growing environments, is hoping that he and his team can use the week to learn from other experts and educate the community about the benefits of their unique technology—and take in all cannabis week has to offer.
“We are excited to see all of the industry-leading companies coming together under one roof, positioned alongside new companies that are bringing fresh ideas to the market,” Denison said.
“As medicinal and recreational use laws are enacted in more and more states, the demand for efficient and sustainable growing methods will only increase. We’re looking forward to meeting with attendees that may not be aware of how much our automation services can help their operations. Plus, the after-hours networking events are always a good place to relax after a long day and continue to make connections.”
The Evolution of Vegas Consumption
Despite having legal adult-use cannabis, and playing host to the country’s largest cannabis conference, Las Vegas has historically been especially unkind to consumers. The vast majority of resorts and casinos forbid guests from smoking on the grounds, leaving many of us to hide in the bushes just like the old days.
However, consumption lounges have finally been approved in Sin City, and boy, are we ready. While there’s currently only one “tasting room” in operation, several dozen more are in development. Many also wonder if any hotels will begin to loosen up with regard to their smoking policies, particularly non-gaming properties. Could 2022 finally be the year where you can hold a Puffco Peak and not get kicked out of Mandalay Bay?!
Coinciding with the policy shift, MJBiz is debuting a new outdoor activation for this year’s event. The move is likely in response to years of watching attendee attention waft away in the clouds of smoke coming from the sesh that always pops up in front of the convention center.
Dubbed “The Patio,” the enclosed space will feature lawn games, food trucks, a DJ, and plenty of space to chill. While it’s unclear if the space will be consumption-friendly, one can only assume that plenty of joints will make their way around.
Catching Up With The Women of Weed
Connecting with other dynamic ladies in the space is one thing this writer is most excited about. After last year’s problematic behavior and minimal advancement for female executives, the Beard Bros team is hoping to see more opportunities and safe spaces for women.
Fortunately, there are already a number of female-focused mixers and meetups on the docket.
The day before the official start of MJBiz will see over 200 women ascend on the annual Blunt Brunch Las Vegas, easily the most talked about (and coveted) event for industry gals. The afternoon will feature inspiring talks, high-impact networking, and plenty of amusements certain to start Cannabis Week off with a bang.
“I am really hopeful that by kicking off the week with an event like Blunt Brunch, these women will feel confident walking into a conference surrounded by men. We want them to understand our numbers may be low but we are stronger together and we can move mountains in this industry,” Adelia Carrillo, CMO and co-founder of EventHi and co-founder of Blunt Brunch, told Beard Bros. “I also hope it allows them to have familiar faces as they attend all these different after-parties, and networking events.”
The women of cannabis will also want to scope out the CannaLadies Lounge at the FlowerHire Smoke and Magic party, going down Thursday evening at the English Hotel. Presented in partnership with GreenHaus and Arcview Women’s Inclusion Network, the activation will feature several women-owned brands and hosted conversations with some of the top ladies in the game.
Parties, Parties, Parties
Speaking of after-hours happenings, it goes without question that the best moments of MJBizCon nearly always occur off-site. There are more than 40 parties and networking mixers scheduled that we know about, leaving endless opportunities for fun and frivolity Vegas style.
Spotlight Media’s PSYC’ed for MJBiz and Jimi Devine’s Las Vegas Heat Quest will be the top events on Tuesday. Wednesday will be the busiest night for events, with the GoodLifeGang sesh, Sensi Soiree, Cova’s Back to the 80s gathering, and the Grasslands party all promising to be popping.
Thursday the Beard Bros host the “Let’s Talk Terps” mixer presented by PhytoFacts. Returning to Cannabis Week include hosts with the most Farechild with the highly anticipated Shangri-La along with the always hot High Times Biz Bash. For those seeking a grown and sexy affair, Hush House is the place to be (use code PLANT at checkout to save $25 off tickets!).
Building Hope For The Future
MJBizCon may on the surface seem like a place meant for business and pleasure, but at the core, it’s truly about bringing the community together.
At a crucial sink-or-swim point for the industry, it’s more important than ever that we unite for the common cause of progress. Nationwide reform may (or may not) be on the precipice, and we have a chance to learn from the mistakes a decade of state-by-state legalization has revealed. We’re all on the same team, so let’s take advantage of our time together to be productive so we can all prosper.
And while we’re enjoying all that Cannabis Week brings, let’s remember there are still people in prison for this plant—we still have a long way to go.
Show up with an attitude of gratitude (and a jacket, it’s supposed to be cold), drink plenty of water, and stay focused. Like the late Senator Paul Wellstone said, “we all do better when we all do better.”