Forbes previously declared cannabis to be "America’s fastest growing industry,” and earlier this year, the century-old business magazine added that cannabis will create more jobs by 2020 than such major industries as manufacturing, utilities and government jobs. Or to quote Business Insider from last January, "The legal weed market is growing as fast as broadband internet in the 2000s."
California in particular continues to see explosive growth as the world's largest recreational-use state, but there's a good reason Brown and Newsom didn't hang a Mission Accomplished banner on the Governor's Mansion last November. The Golden State won the legalization battle, but the war rages on, and those fighting to end prohibition need to stay informed and engaged no matter what path they take, be it business, activism, culture or advocacy.
How can people stay informed and involved? For those on the left coast or thinking nationally, it should involve taking part in the California Cannabis Business Conference (CCBC) next month (September 21 to 22) at the Anaheim Marriott. The two-day event, presented by the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), will feature more than 70 speakers, 2,000 business leaders and 20,000 square feet of exposition space. Self-described as "the only industry association trade show preparing California cannabis businesses for success in the largest adult-use market in the world," CCBC is the place to learn, share, network, engage and get even more fired up.
Lori Ajax, the Bureau of Cannabis Control chief, is the keynote speaker. She oversees the regulatory framework for California's recreational marketplace coming in 2018, and she will give dispensaries, growers and edible producers a better idea of what to expect and how to adapt. Likewise, Insurance Commissioner David Jones will address the changing needs for insurance in the post-Prop. 64 age.
CCBC will also host various seminars with industry leaders like Chrystal Ortiz of True Humboldt and Adrian Sedlin of Canndescent discussing cannabis cultivation and Kristi Knoblich of KIVA addressing manufacturing and processing. Other panelists include Jordan Lams of Moxie, Jerred Kiloh of The Higher Path, Dan Grace of Dark Heart Nursery, Ellen Komp of California NORML and even Starbucks intellectual property attorney Russ Jacobs.
Despite the gains made in recent years, cannabis prohibition still looms large, and the fight for national legalization remains a social justice and public health priority. Cannabis-related businesses can help the cause by developing strong networks, engaging in sound practices and elevating the look, language and standards of the industry. Whether the primary focus is on business, activism or both, the cannabis movement is growing, moving and changing at an accelerated rate, and CCBC is the perfect forum to learn and engage in meaningful ways.