Las Vegas, NV, August 29, 2022—Cannabis Conference, the industry’s leading educational and expo event for plant-touching cannabis businesses, wrapped up Thursday after drawing 2,500 professionals to the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.
Held Aug. 23-25, the three-day event featured 40+ education sessions, 90+ expert speakers, and an 85,000-square-foot expo hall with nearly 200 exhibitors with industry-leading technologies.
Attendees from more than 30 countries gathered to network with and learn from top experts and leaders in the cannabis and hemp industries.
“If you’re not here, you’re missing a lot of it. You can read about these topics, and you can understand a lot of that through media, but you get a lot more by sitting down with someone and talking to them and seeing them and what’s in the passion they have for it,” said attendee Stan Wagner, owner of Bozeman Plan Room Inc.
Cannabis Conference panelists and presenters provided these quotable moments and highlights:
- Sales growth
- The industry is currently dealing with sales declines following a boom during the early days of COVID-19. However, Editorial Director Noelle Skodzinski noted in her 2022 State of the Industry address that when compared to pre-COVID, current sales in legacy markets like Colorado, Washington and Oregon have actually grown. For example, Oregon has experienced a 20% decline in monthly sales over the past year, yet the state’s sales are still up 25% over the past three years, according to Headset. “The market has overall a very strong growth outlook, despite many challenges,” Skodzinski said.
- “There will be wind in our sails, and it’s not always going to be a headwind,” said Merida Capital Holdings Founder Mitchell Baruchowitz in his Day 2 keynote presentation. Baruchowitz also noted the importance of understanding the difference between “the future that will arrive” and “the future that will be built.” The former is coming anyway; sales will continue to accelerate, more states will come online, cannabis will become a normalized product in society. But the latter is something you can create.
- How cannabis compares to alcohol and its place in the beverage market.
- “I always compare cannabis to alcohol spirits. When you’re an 18-year-old kid, you go into the liquor store, and you buy Bacardi 151. You’re like, ‘That’s the one. That’s the best one—151.’ And then eventually you learn to like something that’s aged, or it’s just a better quality with a better effect. The [cannabis] consumer is not there yet, but they will be.” – David Holmes, founder/CEO, Clade9
- "We now know how to make a stable beverage that will preserve the ... terpene content,” said Paul Weaver, director, head of cannabis, Boston Beer Co., who also noted, “Our biggest dream, and [I think for many people] is to find harmony in how we market alcohol and how we can market cannabis.”
- Research and genetics
- “We’re coming to a point where university research has really helped the cannabis industry,” said Dr. Bruce Bugbee, professor, Utah State University, who presented on the session, “University Research Roundup: The Latest In Cultivation Science.”
- “At this stage, we’re growing for high THC, growing for real pretty-looking, super triched-out purple bud. But it’ll evolve eventually. It’ll be a little bit more of a connoisseur landscape.”– David Holmes, founder/CEO, Clade9
- Social equity in cannabis
- Chima Enyia, executive vice president of SEED at Cresco Labs, explained that Cresco has prioritized having a diverse staff at all levels, and said that Cresco’s commitment to diversity has helped the company attract—and perhaps more importantly—retain talent. Cynthia Villamizar, member of Cookies Social Impact team, shared how Cookies partners with legacy growers throughout California, including its Humboldt Grown Initiative, in effort to promote inclusivity and diversity in the industry.
Other highlights from the week included:
- Awarding five cannabis industry professionals at the second annual 2022 Cannabis Leadership Awards (made possible with the support of FOHSE - Future of Horticultural Science + Engineering). The Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Conference’s Cannabis Leadership Awards recognize those who demonstrate the leadership qualities needed to inspire and empower those around them and who aim to better the industry and their communities.
- Honoring Tommy Chong with an inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award during the Cannabis Leadership Awards reception, recognizing Chong’s many contributions to the industry.
- A keynote fireside chat with legendary activists and authors Chris Conrad and Mikki Norris, whose 30 years of work have contributed significantly to cannabis legalization in California and have kept people out of jail for cannabis-related charges throughout the country.
“This year’s Cannabis Conference showed the resilience of the cannabis industry. It’s been another challenging year to say the least; however, our attendees, sponsors and exhibitors came together to share how they keep pushing every day to solve complex issues and provide and expand access to the plant. Just like the industry, Cannabis Conference is continuing to grow and adapt, and I can’t wait to see what the upcoming year will hold,” Skodzinski said.
2023 Dates Announced
Cannabis Conference will be returning to the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Aug. 15-17, 2023. More information will become available on CannabisConference.com in the months leading up to the event.
“With another successful Cannabis Conference behind us, we are already looking ahead to next year to see how we can move the needle forward and continue providing the best education and networking opportunities for cannabis professionals. We have big things in store for next year that we are excited to share in the coming months,” Cannabis Conference and Cannabis Business Times’ Executive Director Jim Gilbride said.