With 230 plus booths spread across two large exhibit halls in the belly of the Rio Casino last week the thousands of attendees to the fourth annual Marijuana Business Conference and Expo had a lot to take in. Traditional cannabis-associated products such as vaporizers and glass art made way for the wide array of businesses such as extract machines and plug-and-play grow systems in a realm keynote speaker Ralph Nader called a new “subeconomy.”
The event, hosted by the marijuana trade publication Marijuana Business Daily, drew 5,500 attendees over a thee-day period. Speaker panels included industry experts and activists such as Sean Donahoe and Amanda Reiman addressing changes to California regulations and offering analysis on what’s at stake for the states next to legalize alongside diverse panels addressing subjects such as sustainable business practices for cannabis cultivators and product trends.
“The most important argument you can make is that the legalization of marijuana is a gift, a massive gift, to the rationalization of the criminal justice system and to the liberation of industrial hemp for its transformation into food, into fuel, into paper, into lubricants, into hundreds of other products including parts of the interior of motor vehicles…” Nader said in his keynote address. “A replaceable, recyclable product that is the dream of people of who are worried about climate change.”
Marijuana Business Daily Managing Editor Chris Walsh kicked off the conference and offered some predictions for the year ahead including an “ugly” transition for medical marijuana regulations in California as well as Michigan paving the way for a dispensary system.
Booths featured a wide range of items including cutting edge C02 extraction methods such as Eden Labs and technology coming in from other business realms such as the pharmaceutical, environmental and homeopathic industries.
Tikun Olam, the first supplier of medical cannabis in Israel, made its stateside debut with a booth at the conference. During a panel featuring the organization’s Chief Scientist Zvi Bentwich and Chief Nurse Inbal Sikorin, Tikun Olam announced intentions to share its proprietary genetics as well as the data attained through treating more than 10,000 cannabis patients with the United States. Tikun Olam expanded into Canada in 2014 continues to push forward research in cannabinoid therapy that’s showing promise in treating inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s Disease as well as childhood neurological disorders.
Colorado-based Dixie Elixirs also made waves at the conference with an announcement to enter into the international marketplace. Dixie plans to launch its CANN Group CBD topicals and cosmetics line into Australia and New Zealand next year and follow with Dixie’s full line of THC-infused edibles if and when the country launches its medical program.
“With today’s announcement, Dixie Brands Inc. makes history as the first U.S. cannabis company to expand into Australia and New Zealand,” CEO Tripp Keber said.
In addition to the main events at the conference an array of ancillary events and parties took place at the Las Vegas gathering, allowing many of the main investors, business people and activists a chance to mingle. Women Grow, an organization devoted to empowering women in the cannabis business space, hosted a series of successful events from a private suite within the hotel.