Last week, we traveled to Las Vegas for MJ Bizcon 2019. Described as 'the largest gathering of cannabis business professionals in the world', it boasts 35,000 attendees, programming covering every sector of the industry, and an expo the size of a football field -- it's truly something to behold.
We had a great time learning, networking, and walking...so much walking (by the time we got home we had clocked over 35 miles in four days). Below are a few highlights.
The Expo! Our biggest highlight of the conference was absolutely walking the aisles of the massive expo hall. We saw product and equipment demonstrations, looked at amazing packaging designs and concepts, bought a humidor -- there was something for everyone. If you wanted to try out the conference but weren't sure the content was for you, get an Expo-Only pass for your first year. It's overwhelming but worth the thousands of steps.
Association Day - New this year, Association Day gave organizations, advocacy groups, and associations an opportunity to connect with members and potential members and supporters. We divided and conquered, attending both the Women Grow Foundation and the Hemp Industries Association meetings. They were full of great information and ideas that we brought back for our work on the MN Women's Cannabusiness Association and MN Hemp Association.
New Marketing Ideas - Marketing is tough throughout the cannabis industry -- even in states where cannabis is fully legal. Hearing more about the platforms and tactics that are gaining traction was incredibly helpful, as was hearing more about current and (potential) future regulations. We also appreciated learning new terms of art such as "on and off glass marketing" for those displaying products in retail locations.
Rolling with Changes - There were a lot of good sessions covering various elements of changes to the industry's regulations, labeling rules, vaping, and so on. We encounter these questions every day from clients and it was good to learn new information as well as validate some hunches about what to watch on the horizon.
Understanding What's Working - With representation from all 50 states and over 75 countries, there were a lot of notes to compare. Hearing from business leaders & owners, advocates, attorneys, service providers, etc. about their experiences, challenges, and next steps was great. Because we not only work in the cannabusiness space but also in the legalization space, we will be able to apply a lot of the knowledge we gained as we move into 2020.
Meeting New People (and seeing old friends)! Of course the biggest highlight of any conference is spending a bunch of time with people who are interested in the same things you are. We had a great time talking to people from near and far about their journey with cannabis and how they're growing a business in this diverse and quickly changing industry.
All in all, it was a great week and we're already packing our bags (and sneakers) for MJ Bizcon 2020!