I have attended many cannabis industry events, for better or worse. I say for better or worse because some industry events are downright awful. In fact, many of them are downright awful. Sometimes it is because of the venue being way off the beaten path. Other times it’s because the event programming is really dry and features people that no one has ever heard of and/or know very little about what they claim to be an expert about.
But even when the venue is a good one, and even when a lot of great speakers are scheduled, an event can fall flat because of the lack of quality networking opportunities. By that, I mean that many conferences are rushed with only a limited amount of time to network with other people at the event, and often in a cramped reception room that has a set cut-off time.
A little-known fact, I worked my entire sophomore year of college as banquet staff at a hotel that was popular for conventions. They were not cannabis conventions but one principle always applied regardless of the event type – the banquet staff wanted to get off work as soon as possible. When that cut-off time came around it was game over. I can see the look on event staff’s faces at the previously described venues and absolutely relate to it. That’s a big reason why when events are held at hotels near airports and are a quick one-day cannabis conference they aren’t that fun.
A good cannabis event has something going on the night before the event, the day(s) of the event, and some type of post-event gathering. Part of that is because it provides a lot to do, but it mostly is because it provides really good opportunities for networking and building relationships with potential clients/partners. Learning from speakers is a big reason to go to cannabis events, but networking is just as important (if not more so). I know when I go to events I spend more time meeting people and talking than I do just about anything else.
With that in mind, the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) being held later this week in Kaua’i is extremely unique. Unlike other events that are held at crusty airport hotels or boring convention centers, the ICBC event in Kaua’i is a first-of-its-kind destination cannabis conference. It’s going to be the most intimate business conference setting of all time. ICBC goers will be able to spend time at the beach with prospective clients and network standing around palm trees rather than standing in a crowded reception hall bumping up against other people that are tired of standing, trying to strike up a meaningful conversation.
As far as I know, there are still a limited number of tickets to the event, which includes a VIP reception on Dec. 1. with comedian Doug Benson. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is going to give an event introduction live via video stream, a number of elected officials and industry experts are scheduled to present, and all the while in a tropical paradise setting. There’s even an ICBC golf tournament. It’s going to be unreal. I will not be attending the event because of the birth of my second child, but short of a life-altering event like that, I would absolutely be at the ICBC. For those that are attending the event, know that I am jealous of you. Make sure to wear sunscreen!