ANAHEIM, California – The Anaheim Hilton was the location host for this year’s California Cannabis Business Conference (CCBC). The event, co-hosted by the California Cannabis Industry Association and the National Cannabis Industry Association, saw Californians in the cannabis industry gather from across the state on Monday (29th November) and Tuesday (30th November).
The hotel is neighbor to Disneyland and is a modern hotel with a large lobby and amenities, and made an ideal venue for the conference. This year’s California Cannabis Business Conference was a platform for cannabis businesses to showcase themselves on 60,000+ sq. ft area. While there a few notable cannabis conferences, this was a cannabis conference that had an added flair of policy discussion between key reformers and cannabis business owners and entrepreneurs.
Originally founded to enable businesses in the cannabis industry a voice, the Washington-born organization quickly expanded along with the cannabis industry. Today, the NCIA represents almost 2,000 businesses and cannabis entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the NCIA represents ‘tens-of-thousands’ professionals in the cannabis sector.
The NCIA’s goal is to ensure that legal cannabis businesses are protected, that state laws are upheld and protected, and that the federal policy reforms are continually advancing in a manner that assists growth.
The association was formed to unite those in the legal cannabis sector. The aim is to educate and to be a resource for cannabis businesses.
The CCIA is dedicated to the responsible expansion of the cannabis industry within the state of California. The association state that they are working towards a cannabis industry that has a favorable social, economic and legal environment.
Now that the cannabis business sector has expanded, both associations have an important role to play. This was highlighted in the CCBC, where shows such as this one act to offer a voice for those in the cannabis business sector as well as improve communications among businesses.
The CCBC event was developed to offer individuals and businesses alike, a way to explore the adult use marijuana market as well as assess the new business measures in the sector. The cannabis conference, and future conferences such as this one, serves to be an educational bridge for prospective cannabis business owners looking to establish themselves in the new cannabis industry which can, at times, teeter dangerously between the legal and illegal.
One of the main focuses of the CCBC in Anaheim was policy. Many other cannabis conferences are seeing the same trend; the importance to educate the attendees about cannabis policy as well as new business measures.
The CCBS in Anaheim also recognized the particular importance for the policy this week as California’s most recent draft measures were released the Friday before the show kicked off. These draft regulations contain a few measures that could introduce significant alterations to those in the cannabis industry.
The keynote speakers addressed the present reality of the cannabis industry. Congressmen Lou Correa and Dana Rohrabacher also addressed the attendees on Monday. And on Tuesday, Lori Ajax, head of the Bureau of Cannabis Control, addresses the crowd as well. Melissa Etheridge, both known as a singer as well as an activist, joined as a keynote speaker as well as Steve DeAngelo, founder of the Harborside Health Center.
The topics discussed during the sessions covered the following pivotal areas in cannabis business needs:
- Distribution, Retail, and Delivery
- Cultivation and Manufacture
- Emerging Topics
- Industry and Political Forecasting
- Local Licensing
- The Future is Now
Apart from the session topics was the individual topics, which covered various areas:
- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
- Inclusion and Equity
- Local Authorization: How to Work with Your Municipalities
- Data and Security: What You Need to Know
These individual speakers were from a variety of backgrounds, including industry veterans, investment leaders, business owners, and legal professionals.
Apart from being a ‘showroom floor’ for speakers and businesses alike, the conference also acted as a connector between those in the business industry and those charged with regulating the cannabis business industry. The head of the Bureau of Cannabis Control, Lori Ajax, discovered during this conference the largely negative response to Section 5032 of the new proposed regulations. This new proposal sees that there will be no more white label deals between licensed brands and licensed operators.
Those in attendance reported that the head of the BCC expressed surprise at the negative reaction to the proposed regulations- in particular, Section 5032. This did not, however, spark an immediate change.
The timing of the policy release and the California Cannabis Business Conference allowed real-talk to take place between cannabis business regulators and the cannabis businesses themselves; certainly, something that is required if the regulations are to effectively serve the legal and solid growth of the business industry.