How the Marijuana Business Conference Evolved to Become the Industry’s Can’t-Miss Event

Published on April 28, 2015 · Last updated July 28, 2020

Spring is in the air, and with it comes the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo. Taking place May 19-21 at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, the can’t-miss event has grown from 300 attendees at the inaugural 2012 conference in Denver to an expected attendance of over 2,000 individuals and 160 booths this spring. In the rapidly-growing cannabis industry, the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo is a veteran showcase offering invaluable tips and tactics designed to help cannabis businesses and the industry itself successfully grow and scale. Act fast and reserve your ticket today before the show sells out!

A Foundation of Cannabis Education and Industry Growth

The Marijuana Business Conference & Expo was born from Marijuana Business Daily, which was founded in 2011 amid Colorado’s burgeoning cannabis industry. Marijuana Business Daily quickly became an independent news source that could provide a focus for the cannabis market from a business community perspective, a resource that was severely lacking at the time. The founders quickly realized the value they were providing to the cannabis industry, as they could leverage their expertise in providing cannabis news, information, and research to a market still in its infancy. After they launched their online daily news publication, they expanded rapidly to introduce the Marijuana Business Factbook, the Marijuana Industry Directory, and the Marijuana Business Magazine. These resources ultimately fed into the launch of their first-to-market trade show and conference, the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo.

Why a Marijuana Business Conference?

Face-to-face events are what drive commerce and ultimately industry growth, and cannabis is no exception. Putting business professionals in the same room creates opportunity and catalyzes the growth of the market, the exchange of ideas, and the sharing of knowledge. The Marijuana Business Conference & Expo was the first show in the B2B cannabis space dedicated solely to business owners, entrepreneurs, and investors, bridging a connection to other businesses and providing everyone with crucial marketing and industry education. It provides a crucial opportunity for cannabis entrepreneurs to meet with like-minded people and pick up some valuable marketing and industry-specific tips and tactics.

How Has the Cannabis Industry Evolved Over the Past Five Years?

I spoke with the organizers of the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo to gather their insights as to how drastically the cannabis landscape has evolved in just five short years. They’ve seen the industry grow from pre-Department of Justice memo times to post-recreational legalization in some states, leading to the introduction of billions of dollars into the market in the form of dispensaries and retail stores, investment dollars, and thousands of ancillary businesses to serve the industry. Now that the floodgates are starting to open, it’s more important than ever to ensure business owners and industry employees are getting the proper education and resources they need to safely, legally, and maturely continue growing this iconic movement.

The biggest change the organizers have noticed, however, has been acceptance:

“At the onset, many of the businesses were funded by the three F’s (friends, family, and fools), as [the] mainstream did not understand this was going to become a legitimate and legal market. There was massive risk and business owners were in constant fear of being raided, incarcerated, or worse. Last year marked a key tipping point where the amount of capital exceeded the available investment opportunities dramatically changing the dynamic of companies getting funded.”

Of course, there are still a number of ongoing challenges faced by this industry, including cannabis businesses’ banking and taxation issues, which is a discussion topic being covered on Day 2 of the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo. As these new issues emerge, cannabis businesses need help understanding the problem and finding solutions or workarounds, which is why education, networking, and resource-driven trade shows are an important asset to help further propel the industry towards the future.

Speaking of which…

What Does the Future Hold for the Cannabis Industry?

The Marijuana Business Conference & Expo organizers are excited to see the continued growth of the industry, especially as we all step through 2016. No other industry in America right now has the challenges or the opportunities that the legal cannabis market does. Every day brings something potentially ground-breaking. Said the organizers:

“Serving this industry with unbiased editorial, business data, and the largest gathering of cannabis business professionals twice per year allows us to be at the forefront of the movement and support the fearless leaders moving it forward.”

Get Your Tickets for the Spring 2015 Marijuana Business Conference

Even though the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo is held twice a year (the fall 2015 show will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada), the industry is evolving at such a rapid pace that it’s easy to miss out on crucial advice and tactics that your business needs now. Tickets are still available for the Chicago show — details are below:

  • Sign up by Thursday, April 30 and save $100 on your registration fee
  • Take an additional $50 off your registration fee using the promo code ThanksLeafly
  • Check out the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo spring 2015 agenda to map out the topics that will help your business succeed

If you’ll be in attendance, don’t miss out on Marijuana Business Daily’s 5th Year Kickoff Party on Wednesday, May 20, from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (tickets sold separately). Sponsored by none other than Leafly, the World’s Cannabis Information Resource, the party organizers are pulling out all the stops to celebrate this historic milestone event. Commemorate the exciting growth of this industry with your fellow entrepreneurs and attendees — it’ll be a night to remember!

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Rebecca Kelley
Rebecca Kelley
Rebecca is the Content Director at Leafly, where she oversees Leafly News production and other content projects.
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