The Opening Bell Sounds For The Oregon Marijuana Market

By Tony Gallo

OREGON:  On July 1, Oregon became the fourth state to legalize marijuana use, enabling adults to legally possess and grow limited amounts of cannabis for personal use. (Recreational sales begin October 1.) With the legalization, and even before, the industry in Oregon was ramping up to grow, and in the spirit of Oregonians, help each other out.

Case in point is the Cannabis Creative Conference (CCC) which I had the privilege of attending. The  two-day conference, July 29-30,  was sponsored by CannaGuard Security, Chalice Farms and Elevate/Green America and held at the Portland Expo. It was formulated to be ‘from the industry, for the industry” and was developed by Bella Vista Events in collaboration with cannabis industry businesses. The conference was created to share strategies and cultivate important conversations around rules and regulations, marketing and financial strategies, and education.

The kick-off investor summit on July 28 was hosted by MJIC. Speaker Lori Glauser, Director, President and COO of Signal Bay Inc. said she was really pleased at how it all came together so quickly. “It was a terrific audience, terrific speakers. It was a great event and I look forward to more events just like it.”

Day one had a keynote by Steven Marks, Executive Director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and Aaron Smith, National Cannabis Industry Association Co-founder and Executive Director. Noah Stokes of CannaGuard Security was Master of Ceremonies. Panels throughout the day included compliance, tips for building an MJ facility and lessons learned, building strategic partnerships and legalities to consider.

July 30 saw a keynote session of Industry Leaders sharing views of the industry’s future. Amy Margolis, Emerge Law Group, Attorney & Shareholder said, “This is really about people educating themselves, then filtering their information through professionals and creating unified talking points that move legalization forward on a local level. The biggest mistake we can make at this point is lack of professionalism and a scattershot approach to implementation,” driving home awareness of what’s really coming. Afternoon panels covered raising capital, cannabis technologies, real estate acquisition, risk mitigation, banking, payment processing and cash management.

The Cannabis Creative Conference was new and different and the estimated attendance was twice what was expected. As Leafly commented, “It was good for us because we did want to reach out and have a variety of people attend…we’ve done a couple of these (events) and sometimes they’re less well attended. I really don’t have enough positive things to say about it.“

The trade show hosted about 70 booths and 15 seminars daily and I was pleased to see cannabis industry leaders such as Rolland Safe, MJBA and RMMC Consulting at the conference supporting the Oregon cannabis business owners.

I also liked that all the presentations were recorded for those who couldn’t attend the conference. In the last few years, I have attended more than a dozen or so cannabis events across the USA and I would rate this one in my top 5 conferences.

Good job and I look forward to this format being used at other cannabis conferences.

Tony Gallo is the Senior Director of Sapphire Protection (www.sapphireprotection.com) with over 30 years in the Loss Prevention, Audit, Safety, and Risk/Emergency Management fields. Tony has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from New Jersey City University and is a member of Americans for Safe Access and the National Cannabis Industry Association.  Tony is considered one of the leading authorities in cannabis and financial loan service security and safety. Contact Tony at tonyrgallo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at @SapphireProtect.

Spokane’s First Cannabis Job Fair Draws Huge Crowds

WASHINGTON: Nearly 900 eager job seekers turned out for Spokane’s first ever cannabis job fair this past weekend, many of them lining up as early as 7:30 to drop their resumes off and meet some of eastern Washington’s leading cannabis industry employers.

Organized by the Marijuana Business Association, and presented by Washington NORML and the Islander, MJBA Job Fair Spokane was held at the Spokane Convention Center and featured employers and exhibitors included leading cultivators Washington’s Finest Cannabis, Blue Roots Cannabis, Triple T Farms, Kush Comfort Farms, and Buddy Boy, who were looking for trimmers and agricultural help; leading cannabis brands including Evergreen Herbal, Cannabis Training Institute, 420MEDIA, Analytically Correct, Mosaic Insurance, PayQwick, BioTrackTHC, Miller Soils, WeedTraQR, and Dope Magazine.

The Inlander publisher Ted McGregor delivered the keynote address, using the occasion to look back on the first year of Washington legal cannabis (the state’s first recreational shops opened on July 8, 2014).  Ted gave a shout out to Spokane resident Mike Boyer, the first recreational pot consumer in the state who subsequently lost his job after a workplace drug test confirm his legal consumption, who was in attendance at the fair optimistically seeking employment opportunities.  He drew parallels between the end of alcohol prohibition and today’s unravelling of the failed war on drugs.

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Business Intelligence expert Joe Armes, Analytically Correct, preceded the keynote, and delivered the MJ Research Jobs Report in which Analytically Correct estimates WA State recreation cannabis direct industry jobs to be 3,000 – 4,000 by the end of 2015 and 5,000 – 6,000 by the end of 2016.

MJ Research Jobs Report

MJ Research Jobs Report

420MEDIA and Kerri Accardi were in the house, hosting an open casting call for their upcoming web series, Hmm…Did You know.   A panel of cannabis cultivators from Washington’s Finest Cannabis, Farmer Tom Organics, Kush Comfort Farms talked about careers as a pot farmer.  Other featured speakers included Luc Nelson, Cannabis Training Institute; Kevin Oliver, Washington NORML; Melissa Braddock, Eden Labs; Norm Ives, Mosaic Insurance; Dan McMahon, BioTrackTHC, Aubrey Armes, Analytically Correct HR; Eric Ogden, WeedTraQR; Isaac Curtis, UFCW; Crystal Oliver, Washington’s Finest Cannabis; Terry Polyak, PayQwick; Kerri Accardi, 420MEDIA; Heather Gehrman, Evergreen Herbal; and Jon Hofer, RMMC Consulting.

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