Cannabis conferences used to be scarce and left a lot to be desired. I went to my first cannabis conference in 2010, and it was basically just a joint smoking fest in a hotel conference room in an obscure part of town.
It was a much simpler time. There’s nothing wrong with smoking joints with strangers, but I could do that just about anywhere. When I go to a conference, cannabis or otherwise, I go because I want to experience and participate in something that I can’t do anywhere else.
Things have changed a lot in the cannabis world since 2010, especially on the conference front. Cannabis conferences are all over the place now. Big ones, small ones, new ones, old ones. Some are dedicated to business, others are dedicated to medicine or science.
With so many cannabis conferences out there it can leave people wondering which ones are worthwhile and which ones are a waste of time and money? It really depends on what someone is looking for from a conference.
It is easier to look at it from the perspective of knowing what is not a quality cannabis conference. A bad venue is a sure sign that a cannabis conference is not going to be worth it. Google the venue prior to buying your conference tickets. If it is in a rough part of town, that’s likely a red flag.
Look at the topics that the event is covering. The vaguer the topics of the panels and speakers, the more likely the cannabis conference is to be a gimmick that will only provide information that can easily be found via quick Google searches.
Have you heard of the speakers that will be presenting at the event? Do they have a strong Google and social media footprint? If not, that’s also probably a red flag.
A handful of new names and faces on speaker panels is not necessarily so, but a full conference agenda of people that are hard to find a track record for is not a good sign.
Pay close attention to networking opportunities at the conferences you are checking out. A big reason to attend a conference is to learn from experts, but another very big reason is to network with people that may be able to add value to your pursuits, whatever they might be.
A quality, worthwhile conference will be at an awesome venue, will have a good combination of introductory panels and in-depth panels, and those panels will involve true experts in their fields.
If a cannabis event is a local one, then there’s not as much to lose in terms of time and money. However, if a conference requires traveling (which the best ones usually do), it needs to be at a solid venue, and preferably in a city that you can piggyback a tourist vacation out of it.
That’s why I have always loved the International Cannabis Business Conference. It is always held in a place that is really fun to hang out in (San Francisco, Berlin, Barcelona, Vancouver, Switzerland), it provides a ton of timely information, and the networking opportunities are stellar.
The event series’ VIP receptions and after-parties are second to none. Work hard, play hard, and build valuable relationships with other entrepreneurs at the same time.
We have a running list of cannabis events on Weed News and update it periodically. Check it out to see if there’s one listed that would be perfect for you!