The cannabis industry is considered the next gold rush, dare I say green rush of the West Coast. From Canada to Mexico the cannabis industry is booming and because there is so little regulation and information on the legal cannabis industry, this conference cleared a whopping 40,000 attendees!
Most conference tracks are very stylized, highly visited for industry trends and networking opportunities. This conference had all of that and an extra layer of professionals that were rooted in activism and legalization of cannabis as well as professionals from other industries that are applying their experience to the newly formed legal cannabis industry.
The general attendance was anything but something that could be generalized. There was tie dye t-shirt granny who just wants to sell her cookies and promote CBD to baby boomers who suffer from aches and pains to the buttoned up emerging market professionals who know the conference beat well. The conference agenda targeted cross-over from technology that is needed to track and trace cannabis from seed to sale as well as sustainability, renewable energy, and tackling tough subjects like large mainstream companies vs. the small business owner.
As an expert in experiential marketing, the amount of way-finding was satisfactory. The expo hall was typical, crowded with hungry sales people eager to share their product. As you can imagine, the parties were exceptional! Mandalay Bay had Snoop Dogg as a host and DJ, 2 Chainz hosted an event at the well known Hakasan and most attendees waiting in line three hours to enter the event. All the events and parties were free of charge, attendees just had to register.
The talk of all parties year after year is the Dope Magazine Golden Ticket event. There were also a number of penthouse and suites that hosted smaller networking events. The Cosmopolitan was a hot spot for cannabis industry veterans to be seen. With 40,000 attendees, the conference was oversized, it was crowded, and it was difficult to see or find seats. The sweet spots were at the smaller ancillary networking events, where individuals could sit and talk one-on-one and find out what was driving business and how to make unique connections.