My First Impression of the Cannabis Industry
“Is anyone out there new to the cannabis industry?” yelled the man in the sharp suit on stage at the front of the room. My hand slowly raised as I looked the around, thinking surely I wouldn’t be alone in this. Technically, I was, but that’s the exact same reason it made it all OK.
My experience at my first cannabis industry event in Los Angeles turned out to be something so eye-opening that it was able to reassure me about some of my well-founded worries regarding the world of cannabis.
As most people new to cannabis would, I had some preconceived notions as to what this shindig would look like. Would it be a dimly lit room with a handful of businessmen waiting to hear the singular pitch of the night and passively go back to frisking hors d’oeuvres?
Or would it be a sad gathering of those forgotten by society, cast away from the real world after announcing insane notions that cannabis is actually an OK drug?
The latter two fantasies (or nightmares) were all but a dream as I walked through the doors of CannaGather, a monthly meetup of business professionals in the cannabis industry connecting to discuss trends, tech and promising companies. Essentially, I found myself surrounded by a group of accepting people all sharing in the feeling that the green rush is here and its opportunities are endless.
At first glance, I found myself at the mercy of what looked like an old fashioned networking event. Booths were set up on the back walls of the room, right in between the cash bar and a spread of catered noshes. Businesses were handing out standard (and beautifully crafted) marketing materials, stickers and more. But that wasn’t what really surprised me.
Unlike most networking events, the people in attendance were truly from all walks of life.
There were the older businessman types. Younger, street types. Older women who think vapes are a travesty. There were vixens of business - the women who can walk the walk and talk the cannabis. There were investors young and old, privy to a making some moves and raising some eyebrows. Everyone. And me.
A social hour led swiftly into taking our seats for a slew of company presentations and interviews, and to the moment I really under the audience with which I was sitting. Heads turned back to me as it was clear I was the only one in the room new to the cannabis industry. These 175 industry professionals all had some experience with raising capital, developing businesses, building digital platforms, crafting skincare lines and creating top-notch marketing campaigns. All. For. Cannabis.
To top it all off, a 50-year-old man with Big Lebowski hair and a huge, kind smile patted me on my back and said, “Welcome to cannabis.”
It felt official and professional. It felt genuine. Of course, there are plenty that say those feelings are full of naiveté, especially about a group that has a reputation for being vindictive and careless. It’s something I’ve heard more than anything else relating to the cannabis industry.
Yes, there are reasons not to go into this maze of legality and ethics.
But I still envision myself on board of the trailblazing ship that is Post-Prohibition Cannabis. In fact, I have the honored position of looking at the last 20 years of progression from medical to recreational and the next 20 to figure out how to make cannabis scalable, profitable and federally legal.
I am the new age of cannabis, looking ahead with one eye on the rear-view and the other ahead to opportunity and a room full of people all looking to make their mark.
This post was written by guest writer Danielle Meyers. After spending 5 years as an expat in Israel, Danielle has recently moved to Los Angeles with the intention of joining the cannabis industry. For more insights into her cannabis journey and lifestyle, follow Danielle on Instagram @dani.meyers.
Thank you, Danielle! Xo