Weed Greed? Or Something Else…

By Cori Petersen

Cannabis is experiencing an inrush of another type of green… investment money.

In 2014 the Next Gen Metals created the Green Rush Conferences, a company that put on two successful conferences in Canada, with a third planned for Seattle, Washington. The demand for the eight-plus hour event was so high that it was delayed so a two-day ordeal could be planned.

November of 2014 in Las Vegas, NV, what was heralded as the “Biggest Marjiuana Conference Ever” (this could use a North American qualifier) was held, and as there are international events that might have dwarfed this, but hey… it’s a headline. Of course, when the back drop is Vegas and when you dine atop a sky-scraping hotel, who’s to say if the measurement was accurate or not.

What is clear, is that demand, desire and money is making its way to the fore front of the Cannabis scene. On display for the public’s eye as never before, is a legitimate industry popping into existence. There are many talented individuals poised to be tapped for this burgeoning field, one hopes they are not over looked by big money.

On the horizon are a plethora of similar events, each one with an impressive number of speakers, vendors, and predicted attendance totals. This is not to mention conferences of the information kind, cropping up faster than the Business-minded ones. Activists and patients alike know that knowledge is power. From the largest of its kind the Sensible BC’s Conference held in October 2014 which offered many varied subjects including owing or operating a Medical Cannabis Dispensary, to a call for funding of a new school looking to educate those looking, who want to become more informed on Cannabis as Medicine, growing, and so on.

Each month of 2015 brings new opportunities, starting in February with theNew England Cannabis Convention , which was conceived from a similar situation faced by so many Ganjapenuers. Here is a new space that many hard working individuals are beginning recognized business with no place established for them to gather, advertise, bond, or network. The NECC decided to do a grassroots event with “locally owned & operated series of events at key locations across the region” instead of a the traditional large once-a-year corporate sponsored event.

If you are looking to challenge your idea of a large Cannabis Business event, then the end of March and Spain are calling your name. Spannabis is truly an amazing event held over three days in Barcelona. A convention to end all, consisting of hundreds of booths and all kinds of businesses dedicated and committed to the legitimacy of Cannabis.

With just under a month to recover, one can take their pick of April 20thcelebrations all over the world. Never disappointing is Vancouver’s 420 held for many years now at the Vancouver Art Gallery. 2014’s attendance estimates ranged from 10 to 30 thousand. Just Google the drone footage and decide for yourself how many where there at just after 4pm that day (this reporter is the one clapping their hands delightedly just right of centre frame as the drone lands).

Chicago has its own Marijuana Business Conference and Expo in late spring, held by the MMJ Business Daily website. Boasting over 2,000 Cannabusiness professionals and 50+ expert speakers, it looks like a great resource for the area.

Eastward in the Big Apple, mid June is the “Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition,” hosted by the International Cannabis Association. With last years success, they too look forward to increased demand, growing consumer base, and new ground to cover.

Now hosting a 2nd annual Cannabis Business Summit, aptly name as it is held in the mile high city of Denver, CO. Finally a place for Cannabusiness to have stable footing in legal framework. Aside from impressive exhibit number, speakers, sessions and hands on workshops the subjects to be covered are quite advanced including “Infused Products, Cultivation Management, Policy & Regulation, Emerging Topics.”

It is only fair to note that without the brave souls that started the Washington Hemp Expo close to 25 years ago many of these great events may not have the traction they do today. To look back to the roots and pioneers is a journey worth taking. That humble Hemp Expo evolved into what we now know as Seattle Hempfest that draws over 300 thousand people and has outgrown every location it’s ever been.

Here’s to a very green future. OVERGROW!