Live from MJBizCon 2018 – Vegas

Well. There’s big, and then there’s this.

I don’t know the number of people here, but it’s into the tens of thousands. And the price of admission keeps the circus folk out – the expense account set who blaze all day in front of the hall admiring each other’s weed while ‘networking’.

That’s not to say there isn’t gear here, there is. And boy, does it stink.

I can summarize MJBizCon in 4 words: Extraction, terpenes, vapes, and lighting.

There is an alcohol/beer tilt: Health Canada would lose their shit over the integration here. And packaging and sustainable one hitters and grinders and HVAC and all of retail as well. But this market is definitely oriented to extraction. Interesting to see Cali Terpenes here – I saw them at Spannabis, they were the first I’d seen or heard of. They’ve now got a US distributor. And about 15 competitors as well here I’d estimate. All non-cannabis derived of course. Cannabis is crappy as a terpene source strangely enough. Many of them had emissaries working the floor to drive traffic. Hot property by appearances.

It might sound a little priggish, but honestly, there’s not alot of knowledge based depth in quite a few of the companies here. It’s the same kind of green/gold rush as in Canada, but there’s more companies that are repurposing for cannabis, and they really don’t know much about the plant or products. I mean, limonene is a solvent, right? Which, dissolves some standard glues on packaging.

And the terpene companies I spoke with have absolutely zero in R&D around synergistic effects with cannabinoids. All they’re doing is replicating strain flavours. I’ve little doubt that even those vary depending on which cut was run through a gas chromatograph.

There is a hardcore focus on the consumer, and big data is another strong theme. Data aggregators/providers and such abound. Discovering consumer habits and selling things to them is the wheelhouse of the ‘muricans after all.

Hilariously, it looks like even Toronto has it’s own booth here – I’m gonna stop by it tomorrow. The challenge with the scale of something like this is to make sure you’re focused on what you want to get out of it, otw you could be wandering around doing tons and getting nothing done. I picked off several points/people/issues I wanted to focus on, and stayed on course.

Futurola’s booth is tricked out, and the tunes are definitely Dutch. For those of you heading from Schiphol to Centruum in Amsterdam on the train will see their factory on the way. Can’t miss it.

Came across a good Canadian story in Berger. They’re a dirt company that’s rolling. Nice ppl too.

Saw Arjan Roksam again, I’m a big fan in case you didn’t know. I really admire the business he’s built. Going to have a chance to talk to him again too. His brand is very, very differently presented in the US versus Europe and Canada. It’s muted, and only nutrients here, at least in the booth. Another wrinkle about the US: states regulate for agriculture. So, a nutrient company essentially needs 50 application forms to get products out. Contrast that with Canada – which has a single regulator for the country.

Speaking of which – there isn’t any seeds or such anywhere here. It’s like they’re just taken for granted. I understand it’s due to federal law, but I’m surprised that no local companies exist to serve the retail market.

Finally met Deepak Anand in the flesh – and his pocket square is as immaculate as reputed. CCI has a great location, and their booth looked busy whenever I was around.

The science part was yesterday, and from what I’ve heard, it was underwhelming aside from one speaker. Just what I heard. R&D in the cannabis sector here looks non-existent from the genetics side, although that’s likely just a reflection of who is here and the regulatory environ. The consumer is definitely the focus.

The graft is ridiculously good, and funnily enough, I won a draw at 1933’s booth (TGIF) for a laptop case and water bottle. Thanks 🙂

I’m touring a couple of facilities while I’m down here, and also going to stop by a couple of dispensaries and a refinery too.

Torston’s (Sundial Growers) speech this morning was apparently very (very) good, and well received. Lots of Canadians and Canadian companies here. Definitely first mover advantage for our firms in several spaces.

And that’s really much of the core of this show versus Canada – the US commercial experience is fragmented, relatively regional, and in many cases muted. In some though – like the beer category – the throttle is stuck wide open.

There’s 38 sessions tomorrow (FFS), 6 on infused products alone. Challenge is where there is 2 sessions you’d like to attend, but they’re at the same time. I’m going to listen to Terry Booth’s dissection of the first month of legal in Canada, and I’m also going to see a talk about the globalization of cannabis and global trends.

There’s a session on edibles – [How to survive in a 100mg market](https://mjbizconference.com/session/california-edibles-how-to-survive-in-a-100mg-market/), and one on ‘How to Increase Your Odds of Being Acquired’…..<snicker>.

I’m also getting a good orientation to the mass market, and seeing what goes into branding and consumer habits. The data side of this is big. Very big.

I got comped some edibles, infused with THC, but is ‘cannabis free’. Curious how that claim works, I didn’t get a chance to ask but will do.

If you’re a drop shipping vape company – good luck with that. Vape companies are everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. And they are slick as it comes. And goes right back to big data: the Pax has a bluetooth interface. Guess where that data is going to end up.

The day was a sea of faces and names and all the fun that is Vegas. Early to bed tonight, tomorrow’s gonna be a busy one.

More to come. These chocolates are delicious.

If you have questions, I’m more than happy to answer them best I can.

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