Marijuana Business Convention in Town
NEW ORLEANS – Tomorrow is the final day of MJBizCon NEXT, a three-day convention at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center focused on the cannabis industry.
With Louisiana just dipping into the industry now —with limited medical use now legal — I thought I’d take a glance at what this industry is all about.
First, it’s far from small. This convention alone boasts more than 74 speakers and 275 exhibitors from around the world hocking their wares and the diversity was pretty incredible.
Wandering around the show floor today I saw companies varying from smaller, entrepreneurial ventures to $3.5 billion worldwide behemoths representing everything from specialized packaging and labeling, to help with HR, banking, accounting and personnel services, to grow light systems, dehumidifying systems, temperature control systems, water filtration systems, extraction systems and lab testing equipment.
There were also plenty of companies representing the CBD (or cannabinoid) side of things — CBD is, next to THC, the second most active ingredient of marijuana but, unlike, THC is legal. CBD is not addictive and proponents say it has medical and therapeutic benefits for conditions from anxiety and chronic pain to seizures and psychosis.
Just a few of the products I saw touting CBD as an ingredient were bottled water, coffee and tea, non-alcoholic beer, and even a full line of treats for dogs and cats.
A crowd favorite today was a lunchtime speech by Gene Simmons, who is at the conference to speak about branding and promote Invictus MD, a Canadian company that provides cannabis for medical and recreational use. Simmons is an investor in the company.
“My interest is financial,” said Simmons. “I was paid $2.5 million in cash plus stock, and I can say, I’m more interested in the stock.”
The industry is, clearly, growing.
“We’re no longer hiding from the flashing lights, we’re stepping into the light,” proclaimed a pro-cannabis video from the “Future of Cannabis Retail” Movement that ended with one simple message:
“The future is coming.”
-by Kim Singletary, for Biz New Orleans