One sure way to identify a maturing business sector is when its members break out the PowerPoint and stage a stodgy, old-school trade show. The industry of legalized marijuana will "arrive" as just such an entity next week when the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) holds its inaugural Cannabis Business Summit at the Colorado Convention Center and the Crowne Plaza Hotel downtown.
The two-day event begins Tuesday, June 24, and is expected to welcome about 800 visitors, dozens of exhibitors, and a wide array or presentations and speakers. The conference's first panel on Tuesday will be a discussion of what Colorado and Washington have learned so far from their initial endeavors into the legalized marijuana marketplace. (One of the panelists is Denver's Brian Vicente of the Vicente Sederberg law firm, a primary local advocate for the cause.)
The trade show also offers five educational tracks, including beginning and advanced cannabusiness, ancillary services and products, public policy, and emerging issues. The business tracks focus heavily on the various issues currently facing marijuana vendors, including best practices for staffing and acquiring and building out facilities, how best to work with infused products such as edibles and hash oil, and new developments in testing. The ancillary track addresses concerns such as new technologies, finding and evaluating investors, and security. The policy track focuses on states that are in various stages of legalization as well as on the latest federal conditions. (The recently approved but still uncertain Colorado cannabis banking law is sure to be thoroughly discussed.) And the emerging topics track examines international trends, along with opportunities in the industry for women and younger workers.
All in all, the event appears to be every bit as staid and dry as any other industry trade show, which is as it should be. The attendees of this event are dedicated to rolling out legalization in as responsible a way as possible, and gatherings such as these should help those in the trenches to resolve legitimate concerns about the sector, and begin to stamp out the widespread misinformation and noise proliferating throughout the media.
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Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.