Despite an impressive turnout, many major industry players in attendance, and high-profile keynote speakers, an air of caution loomed over MJBizCon 2019.
Compared to last year’s conference and the general vibe of 2018 – when retail CBD product companies dominated the industry – this year there was strong focus on agriculture, automation, and smart business solutions. The exhibit hall at the massive Las Vegas Convention Center was full of companies offering systems for minimizing business costs and increasing plant productivity. There were also a handful of software companies promising to streamline POS and business management.
One notable difference between this and other conventions is that major CBD brands who were at the forefront of the retail industry were nowhere to be found. Only a couple very established names – Isodiol and Elixinol – made an appearance.
Also gone was the ‘glass-ceiling’ vibes of last year’s event, with speakers at the investor forum warning entrepreneurs to be cautious with their money and cut as many overhead costs as possible. Indeed, as we head into 2020, the next decade of the blossoming cannabis industry, solid ceilings are inevitable for some major industry players.
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Public cannabis shares are down 40 to 50 percent from last year. Panelists agreed that heading into the new decade, 2020 will be a year of consolidation for the cannabis industry and a “true test for market leader success”. Various factors such as changing regulations and the unwavering black market, especially in key states like California, continue to be a problem for bottom lines in the legal industry.
Also covered was the issue of “rebounding” from the ongoing vape epidemic, which has been quite a hit to certain brands in the industry. According to Antonio Frazier, vice president of operations for CannaSafe in Los Angeles, the most important thing to keep in mind is to remain compliant with regulations, which was another common theme in the 2019 conference.
“Testing, properly understanding your hardware – just getting your clients and patients more information about why your products are safe and what it means to be safe,” Frazier said during an MJBizCon panel on Friday. “It’s really an education thing that’s going to fix this for a lot of us, especially with the regulators.”
It’s not all bad news, however. MJ Biz president Chris Walsh said he expects “continued success at state legislatures and ballot boxes in November 2020,” – namely in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, New Mexico, Florida, Arizona, and North Dakota.
All-in-all, it was a great conference. MJBizCon 2019 was informative and educational, well-organized, and rife with networking opportunities and materials to help grow your business. Looking forward to next year’s conference.
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