After the past year and a half, many people have noted how the opportunity to gather with family, friends and colleagues is something they no longer take for granted. This past summer may have looked very different than 2020, with graduation parties, family reunions, happy hours, weddings and other postponed events resuming.
That also includes conferences, and the team at Cannabis Conference, Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower was thrilled to be able to host Cannabis Conference 2021 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in August.
The energy at the event was palpable, with nearly 3,000 industry attendees, including more than 80 speakers and 178 exhibiting companies, convening for the three-day event.
Cannabis industry researcher and pioneer Dr. Sue Sisley, who delivered the Day 2 keynote “Sue’N the DEA: The Story of a Cannabis Research Breakthrough,” echoed sentiments shared by speakers and attendees throughout the event.
“I am shaking … I didn’t expect this kind of crowd, and I haven’t spoken publicly in so many months,” said Sisley, who received a standing ovation from the standing-room-only crowd after chronicling her inspiring story. “This is just fantastic seeing you all here, and I know this is a friendly crowd, so I’m really grateful that you all took the time.”
In addition to the educational programming and opportunity to talk with vendors serving plant-touching cannabis businesses, attendees noted how valuable it was to network with other cannabis companies facing challenges similar to their own. Although many of us have adapted to collaborating digitally with colleagues, meeting in person can help foster deeper relationships and partnerships.
In-person meetings also can spark conversations and help people make connections that might not otherwise happen. During one session, three researchers specializing in plant nutrition, root health and lighting research shared their most recent findings in each area, providing plant cultivators with valuable knowledge they can then experiment with and apply in their own facilities. Another session from Dr. Raymond Cloyd, entomology professor with Kansas State University, detailed pest prevention and mitigation strategies, including how to identify problematic bugs.
These sessions not only help cultivators build on the success of their production facilities and businesses with potentially more effective strategies, but also help them connect and realize they are not alone navigating a particular challenge. By attending sessions, spending time with other business leaders and sharing information, the conference and those who participate can help plant-touching cannabis businesses discover solutions, and build a stronger industry together.
As CBT Editorial Director Noelle Skodzinski said during the conference’s “2021 State of the Industry” presentation, “You never know the difference one conversation can make.”