By Kathleen McLean
Candid Chronicle has been lucky to snag press passes to the MJBizcon event for the last three years, and each year I have witnessed extraordinary growth. The event started out at the Rio Casino, with a decent event space and eager crowd. In the last two years, the event has doubled, if not tripled in size. The industry quickly outgrew the Rio event space and was nearly sold out this year, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Unlike some cannabis events, the MJBizCon is run like a well-oiled machine. The process of registration was a tad slow the first two hours of day one, which would be expected. After the first crowd started to disperse, the registration was quick and seamless. The staff was friendly and professional.
There were approximately 1,000 vendors set up in long rows waiting for close to 30,000 people to walk up and down the isles. The booths are endless but, the products are not. While this event caters to all types of cannabis enthusiasts, it felt as though, it was geared more to growers, grow equipment, and packaging. Innovative Ideas for retail stores were limited. There was a considerable amount of product, such as CBD waters, but, merchandise for retail stores fell short. Product packaging and labels were common throughout the entire event space.
There were a few standout companies, one being Liberty Clothing. This clothing line was launched in May 2018, at the Outdoor Retailer Market in Denver, CO. Liberty High Line is a line of hemp-based garments from the sustainability loving Mississauga, Ontario company. Liberty Clothing began making hemp-based clothing about 16 years ago, long before the current cannabis and hemp industry boom.
Liberty High Line products are knit, cut, and sewn with solar power by a maker in China. Liberty’s source is completely vertical in that they cultivate the hemp that is used in Liberty High Line garments. According to Anne Joyce, from Liberty Clothing, the High Line maker grows organic produce to feed their employees and hopes to teach organic farming techniques to more farmers in China.
Liberty High Line’s hemp-based clothes are available on their site, libertyclothing.com, and will be available at brick and mortar retailers in early April 2019. Follow @libertyclothing to stay up to date on their releases!
“Liberty clothing believes in using Hemp for a variety of reasons, the first being the environmental benefits. Hemp requires no pesticides or fertilizer, and it improves the quality of the soil that it is growing in. It has natural wicking and sun protection, so it keeps you cool in the heat. Hemp is one of the strongest natural fibers, and the clothing is very durable. We believe that sustainable also means that the garment will last and decompose once the life cycle is done. We’re not perfect, but we are trying our best.” – Anne Joyce of Liberty Clothing
Other stand out companies were: Microbe Life Organic, Horticulture Lighting Group, Candy Budz, National Cannabis Industry Association,Method Seven glasses, Twisted Hemp, and Puff Bomb Extracts.
Plus, Kalvara, a cannabis cocktail company that has been in the works for two years, launching this past October in Nevada. Kalvara’s use of the Vessl cap technology makes Kalvara’s cannabis cocktails a stand out, “providing rapid on-set, high bio-availability and precise dosing without the use of preservatives. It also is unique to the edible space with zero calorie, zero carb, zero sugar and all natural ingredients,” according to Karin Gerlach of Kalvara.
Candid Chronicle asked Kalvara about the benefits of products with high bio-availability:
“High bio-availability allows your body to absorb all of the THC, rather than that digest it. This makes Kalvara unique as it provides a much faster onset, within the first 10-15 minutes, rather than eating edibles. Its akin to smoking or drinking a cocktail.” – Karin Gerlach, Kalvara’s Director of Marketing
Kalvara will be entering New Mexico in 2019, followed by expansion to other states like Arizona and Oklahoma.
“Our founder and CEO, Walter Apodaca, hails from the beverage industry, working with huge brands like Coca-Cola and Miller Coors. Our executive leadership team for Kalvara has a shared experience of over 80 years in the beverage space,” Karin said.
The real story isn’t so much about the vendors as it is the networking. The who’s who of the whole industry turned up at this event. There were international stars and local celebrities alike. I ran into Tommy Chong, Jay and Silent Bob, and even San Diego’s own, Medicinal Mike. People were open to chatting about their current projects as well as industry beginners just trying to figure out a way to cash in on the “green rush.”
There were plenty of after party events, that did not disappoint. The hosts spared no expense when it came to creating an experience one will not forget. The official after party was at 1Oak; this was my least favorite party. The service at the club left a lot to be desired, which has nothing to do with the hosts, 1Oak has their own staff working, the drinks were slow, and the space was large. It wasn’t ideal for talking with industry players.
Baker Technologies hosted the party at Top Golf. This party was fantastic. You had to be invited and on the list to attend, we were neither. But, our friend was, and with a little bit of an explanation, they let us into the party. The event was perfect for networking. Baker Technologies rented a whole level at Top Golf. Each booth had a bucket of beers and desserts. They had five different appetizers out and available at all times. The golf was free, and the atmosphere was fun. It was loud enough to have a good time but, intimate enough to meet all different industry people.
The Cannabis Wonderland event was, for me, the most unique party I have ever attended. The Artisan hotel was the PERFECT place to hold this particular event. It’s an adults only hotel with an Alice in Wonderland theme. I was handed a free drink ticket upon entry, score! The hotel itself was eccentric. It was a maze of rooms, and the decor looked to have been created from an artsy tortured mind. The host was nice enough to make sure their party was remembered. The prerolls were endless and passed out at a rapid pace. I hope they host another party next year.
The High Times party was ok. It was held at Brooklyn Bowl at the Linq. In all fairness, I left to head over to the Cannabis Wonderland event before 2 Chains performed. I would’ve like to have seen that, but I left to go to the Cannabis Wonderland event. I felt like for a Hightimes party there should have been prerolls being handed out. There was a lot of networking going on at this event because they had a huge patio space with lots of room and seating.
The MJBizCon 2018 event was a success. The team of people making it happen are fantastic at what they do. I worked specifically with Tess Woods. I didn’t get the opportunity to meet her but, anyone can tell she works hard at making this event what it is today.
Featured photo via @pablo.fog
EDIT: Additional information about Kalvara was added on 11/30/18 at 2:40 AM.