Recently, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), @NCIAorg, held their 5th annual Cannabis Business Summit and Expo in the Bay Area with over 7,500 attendees and an expo floor that was 120,000+ sq. ft.
The companies exhibiting came from all aspects of the cannabis industry and some brought gigantic, 2-story booths to attract attention.
We saw everything from skin care products, grow lights, smell reducers, cannabis culture magazines, seed-to-sale softwares, vaporizer distributors, and much more.
While this was my first year attending the event and I stayed on the expo floor the entire time, I was able to speak with many industry leaders that have been going for several years and get their input on the growth of the Summit. Here’s what some of them said:
“As an exhibitor for the Minority Cannabis Business Association, it was encouraging to hear from so many businesses who are interested in hiring people of color and others from the communities which have been the most impacted by cannabis prohibition. We truly have an opportunity to build an industry which is more inclusive than much of the rest of the economy.” — Scott Cecil, Operations Director, Minority Cannabis Business Association
“I was impressed at how much the industry has evolved in a single year. There were marked improvements in not just the quality of the products and services being advertised at the conference, but also improvement on the caliber of professionals entering the industry. Cannabis is clearly no longer an underground industry – it’s mainstream, professional, and moving in the right direction.” — Dave Yeager, Co-Founder & CEO, Cirrata
“I continue to be impressed by the industry’s willingness to collaborate and work together. I see a lot of partnerships at these shows where companies are working together on a variety of projects, event or just helping each out. With an industry as young as ours, it’s especially important to work together so we all reach our goals.” — Peter Vogel, CEO and Co-founder of Leafwire
“We are happy to see how large the NCIA Conference has become, as we are proud members and have been exhibitors for the last several years. This was an exciting event for us because we were finally able to roll out the 710Captain, the industry’s first automated capping system. We are starting to see a much more standardized approach to cannabis processing from many of the exhibitors and it proves we are on the right track.” — Danny Davis, Founder & Chairman, Convectium
“We were excited to see that large, well-funded companies are beginning to provide services to the cannabis industry that have been historically absent, or at least very scarce, in this sector. For example, the increase in the size and quantity of software companies dedicated to efficiently managing inventory, distribution, payroll, POS, payment options (that’s us!) and more emphasizes the growing normalization of the marijuana industry. These services are necessary to the success of the market, and it is wonderful to see cannabis businesses given the opportunity to function like normal companies.” –David Ehrlich, COO, Zodaka
“The expo floor was buzzing the entire length of the Summit and the energy was simply incredible. We help companies go-to and succeed in the public markets and were inundated with promising entrepreneurs looking to make their mark in the global cannabis industry. It was quite exciting.” — Rachelle Gordon, Reporter, Cannabis Financial Network
“Every NCIA event that we’ve attended or exhibited at has always been a great experience for us, but this year we wanted to do something bigger in order to showcase our entire suite of enterprise level tech solutions. So we debuted Captivate, our seamless video wall featuring nine 48″ commercial grade televisions, in San Jose this year and the reaction was incredible to say the least. It was also great hooking up with the folks at Purple Lotus Patient Center. That’s an amazing retail location with an absolutely incredible staff.” — Corey Fryia, Marketing Director , Enlighten
“NCIA San Jose was a great turn out. It’s exciting to see the level of collaboration fostered at events like this. The rooms, expo hall and conversations were all full of energy. For BLAZE, it’s a great chance to meet with our consulting and technology partners like Cirrata, iHeartJane and SpringBig.” — Chris Violas, CEO, BLAZE
Author Bio: Zane Bader currently works at NisonCo as an account manager. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), where he is on the executive committee and is the secretary for the Board. During his undergraduate studying Mathematics at the University of Georgia, he founded the Psychedelic Club at UGA, as well as helped lead his University’s SSDP chapter and local marijuana reform organization. He was previously employed at UGA’s Center for Research on Behavioral Health, where they conducted the largest and longest comprehensive study on drug abuse treatment within the United States.