EMERGE’s three-day Spring Virtual Cannabis Conference started today, bringing cannabis-minded attendees, exhibitors, and professionals from the real world together in the digital realm.
Customize Your Experience
Upon entering the 3D conference space, users can start their experience by customizing their avatar and completing their profile.
Profile information allows attendees to identify themselves to others and strike up conversations as they stroll through the exhibitor halls and auditoriums.
Relevant profile information automatically appears on digital business cards that attendees can exchange with a couple of clicks.
More than 50 companies have virtual booths set up in the Exhibition Pavilions, representing manufacturing, compliance, retail, and many other facets of the cannabis industry.
Booth visitors can speak with representatives, make connections, and access brand websites with a click of the mouse.
The National Cannabis Party, Last Prisoner Project, and multiple NORML state chapters are some of the activism and politically-minded organizations at the conference, with booths in Pavilions B and C.
Education is Key
On the learning side of the event, EMERGE offers three specific educational tracks; Cultivation Tactics & Tech, Manufacturing & Science, and Business & Retail.
Each educational track takes place in one of three virtual auditoriums where attendees can listen to speakers, interact with other visitors, and ask questions.
At 9:00, Dr. Chanda Macias kicked off the conference with a Cannabis Conversation session for all three auditoriums before each track began their day’s topics.
Montel Williams will host the Cannabis Conversation session on Wednesday morning at 9:00.
In Tuesday’s Cultivation Tactics & Tech track, Flowe Technology CEO Jim Makoso hosted a morning panel on brand compliance, packaging, and company tactics in the face of expanding legalization.
Makoso, who is also the Vice Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Cannabis Industry Association expressed his familiarity with the morning’s topics.
“We talk around these issues on a regular basis,” said Makoso, Principal advisory board. “In fact, we’re creating a webinar for standardization and stability testing and new metrics for lab standardization that we’re gonna start to push on the industry.”
Makoso says that if companies aren’t all testing their products the same way, there won’t be a way of deciding what to expect when they create them.
Speaking of Legalization
In the Business and Retail track, National Cannabis Industry Association CEO Aaron Smith talked about current advocacy work in Washington D.C.
Speaking on federal cannabis legalization, Smith says that it is coming, but he does not believe it will happen this year.
“Because we still need sixty senators, which means we need to have ten Republicans in the Senate plus all of the Democrats,” said Smith. “The math, in my opinion, isn’t there to happen in the next year…Where I do think we are very likely to see progress is in the incremental approaches that we’ve been working on since the inception of the industry. The biggest one, I think, is banking. All of us know the troubles and costs associated with outdated federal banking regulations.”
Smith shared that he thought that the SAFE Banking Act would have passed in 2020, but COVID-19 hit, and the bill did not get a vote.
The EMERGE Virtual Cannabis Conference runs through Thursday, April 1, ending with a closing session at 1:30 p.m.