The Wink In Weed: CannaFest Destiny Takes MJBA To Las Vegas

MJBA Expands National Footprint, Relocates HQ To Silver State

By David Rheins

This summer I undertook a cross-country, coast-to-coast, “CannaFest Destiny” road show. Sponsored by Curved Papers, the MJBA tour made ‘official’ stops in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Indiana, Massachusetts and New York. We gathered in small groups and large, hosting meetups, participating in panel discussions, exhibiting and speaking at trade shows, investor summits and Hempfests. We exchanged ideas, shared our dreams and committed to working together to build a truly sustainable, profitable and ethical legal industry.

The MJBA held court at Indianapolis’ oldest political venue, the storied Antelope Club, where alongside Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis and the Indiana Chapter of the Libertarian Party, where we discussed ways that Hoosiers can participate in the Cannabis and Hemp revolution today.

The CannaFest Destiny Tour generated excitement and positive press – in local newspapers and radio, on podcasts, through Facebook feeds and social media – opening eyes and making new allies and friends all along the way.

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Having spent much of the past 5 years working to build the legal cannabis industry in the Pacific Northwest and Colorado, it has been exciting for me to witness CannaFest Destiny at work: how each new state and local community is incorporating and modifying best practices from Washington, Colorado and Oregon to create a unique legal marketplace tailored to the needs and sensibilities of the local culture.  While laws, rules and regulations vary widely, I found a common spirit of community and cooperation and commitment to building a fair and responsible industry.

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Nowhere did I witness more radical change in such a short time as Nevada.  It has not been too many years ago that possession of a seed or stem in the Silver State would get you 20 years, and trafficking could earn you life behind bars.  Today, Las Vegas is home to the biggest of the industry trade shows (though recently the Casino and Gaming Commission has discussed banning the legal cannabis industry from Casinos) and nearly 150 licensees grow, process and sell some very fine cannabis.

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The state passed its medical marijuana initiative in 2000, and its recreational initiative in 2016.  Adult use sales began on July 1st and since that time Nevada has outpaced the launch of both the Colorado and Washington markets.  With 42 million tourists visiting annually, Las Vegas is ground zero for the next wave of the legal market, heralding in the era of Commercialization and Normalization. Demand has challenged supply, overwhelming a short-lived monopoly by the alcohol distributors and causing major bottleneck. Pains of growth are inevitable and signs that legalization, once the exclusive province of the liberal West Coast, has now reached the mainstream. Las Vegas is where America (and the world) comes to play – and the players want their legal weed.

True to our mission to provide reliable business intelligence, professional networking and business opportunity to participants in legal cannabis, the Marijuana Business Association has decided to relocate its HQ to Las Vegas.  An ideal location to service the expanding national footprint of the MJBA, Las Vegas offers cheap and easy travel, amazing entertainment venues and one of the fastest-growing legal cannabis marketplaces in the world.   In addition to hosting meetups and professional education events, we will be in a better position to support our growing MJBA Chapters in Oregon, California and Washington, while simultaneously growing our presence on the East Coast – expanding MJBA New York and launching MJBA Boston.

MJBA is Amazing

We’re taking on new partners, and soon will be unveiling a more robust suite of member benefits, including meaningful discounts on the industry’s most important trade events and media opportunities, a new b2b technology platform, and exclusive members-only invitations. Stay tuned to this space!

 

 

 

 

Taking The High Road: Roger Tilton’s Notes On Democracy

by Roger Tilton

In “Notes on Democracy,” H. L. Mencken wrote:  “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”

You’d think our 240-year-old experiment with democracy hit a rough patch this past Tuesday, or as we learned after “establishing ‘democracy’ in Iraq,” that you don’t always get the democracy you want.  Oddly fitting I guess is that the President Elect ended his racist, xenophobic rallies with the Rolling Stones’ song “You Don’t Always Get What You Want.”

I say praise democracy and all of its shortcomings.  We, the American voting public, had a chance to make history by electing a female president.  Instead, for the first time in generations we had a racist on the presidential ballot, a racist who also happens to be a misogynist.  The adage that if we elect a woman after an African-American man, we’re “losing our country” appealed (according to exit polls) to 53% of white women!  That candidacy also appealed to white supremacists.  And enough pluralities of voters (wins by one point or less in five crucial “battleground” states) pushed this candidate to an Electoral College victory.

Though more of us voted for the supremely qualified woman, she lost the job to the supremely unqualified man (sound familiar?).  Through it all, our democracy worked.  The political pros on both sides targeted the swing states to win the Electoral College vote  The “voter suppression” campaign won out over the “ground game, the get out the vote” campaign.  We all played by the rules and democracy prevailed.  Now even though this year’s Republican candidate won the election, he received about 1.5 million votes less than the losing Republican candidate four years ago.  Voters did not turn out, and that too, is our democratic right.

It is also our democratic right to make or change laws.  And voters in eight states did just that regarding cannabis:  Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California voted to join Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska in repealing marijuana prohibition; Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas approved medical marijuana laws; and Montana expanded its medical marijuana program.  The results mean that once all these new laws are implemented, more than a quarter of Americans aged 21+ can walk into a store and buy weed just like they go into a store and buy beer!  And more than 60% of Americans will have access to medical marijuana!

Now that’s democracy I can believe in!

Editor’s note:  Mr. Tilton, a longtime, strong and loud cannabis legalization activist, lost his bid for a New Hampshire State Senate seat by 12 points, 56-44, a 7-point improvement over his first bid two years ago.  “Even though I lost,” he told me, “I’m now sandwiched between two legal states!  Count me very bullish on the cannabis industry.  The 2016 national vote shows prohibition has reached a tipping point, and the end of prohibition is nearly at hand.  And on a personal level, I’m totally jazzed about my Seattle-based venture fund’s investments into cannabis-related startups!”  (Mr. Tilton is also a canna-pranuer.  You can check out his full_tiltON ventures website at fulltilton.com.)