There are about nine hundred marijuana events going on in Las Vegas this week. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But there are a ton of them. Once a year the marijuana world meets in Las Vegas for a bunch of events, with the main enchilada being the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo (hosted by Marijuana Business Daily), which is the largest marijuana business conference in America. Because so many people come into town for it, other events are organized around it from fundraisers for Students for Sensible Drug Policy to the after party hosted by Arcview.
I went last year and it was nothing short of epic. I attended as many events as I could, and had a blast at all of them. But they were all supplemental to the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo, which had about 5,500 people in attendance. This year attendance is estimated at 7,500, and with so much excitement surrounding the marijuana industry right now post-election, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that number go even higher (no pun intended).
I remember when the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo was in its first year. It was 2012, and started the day after Colorado voted to legalize, along with Washington. The event was held in an old Odd Fellows building in Denver, and had about 300 people in attendance. I remember all of us looking around at each other with such curiosity and wonder as to what it would be like to live in a post prohibition world. To look back on that event, and see where the Business Conference and Expo is at this year, it really brings a smile to my face.
The growth of the Expo, which is now held at The Rio in Vegas, reminds me a lot of the growth of the marijuana world itself. Marijuana is mainstream. Support for legalization is at 60% nationally, and with so many victories on Election Day, the end of federal prohibition has never felt closer. With that being said, there is still a lot of work to be done. Yes, there are 8 states that have legalized, but there are 42 that haven’t. There are 28 medical marijuana states now, but there are 22 that have no safe access, and even in some of the current medical marijuana states, safe access is non-existent for many people.
To those in Vegas this week attending events, I say have a great time and remember to be a good steward of the plant. Make sure to attend all of the fundraisers, and make sure to dig deep (especially you investor types!). Chances are if you are there, it’s mostly for business, but always remember that if it weren’t for those supporting reform, there wouldn’t be an industry at all. Give back!