Editor’s Note: Going Green
We’re very honored and excited to have the new president and general manager of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on our cover this month, especially since he’s only been on the job since the end of February. Mr. Sawaya attended one of Biz’s publisher’s luncheons recently and I have to say that his enthusiasm for the future of this important resource for our region is infectious. I’m excited to see what he accomplishes.
I admit, I don’t often go to our convention center — typically just once a year for NOLA ChristmasFest — but this past week I made the journey down to attend MJBizCon Next (May 9-11), the largest conference focused on business opportunities available in the growing cannabis industry. I figured with Louisiana making the move into this marketplace by legalizing marijuana for restricted medical use — the first of which may be available by September — I should take a look at what could be our future.
It was an extremely eye-opening experience. More than 275 exhibitors were in attendance promoting businesses that ranged 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. Everything looked so streamlined, so professional. Even KISS frontman Gene Simmons — who spoke to an excited crowd about branding — was wearing a suit and pocket square.
There’s clearly opportunity and money to be made — Simmons threw out that he was paid $2.5 million plus stock to rep for Invictus, a Canadian supplier who was present at the convention — and I spoke with a member of one worldwide company worth over $3.5 billion who had jumped into the industry.
On a recent trip to Colorado I was surprised at the number of dispensaries, not just in Denver, but up into the small mountain towns that barely had a grocery store. What I admit I didn’t think about, however, were all the ancillary businesses associated with this newly commercialized commodity, businesses like I saw at this convention. It will be interesting to see where Louisiana’s path goes. I can say, however, that my mom is definitely sold on CBD cream for aches and pains.