Las Vegas is getting ready for the upcoming MJ Business Conference & Expo, which is expected to draw almost 17,000 attendees from businesses involved in the industry, from businesses that service the industry, investors looking to enter the industry, to…well, just about anyone who has heard about how big the industry has become, and is looking for opportunities to get involved.
The B2B expo scene in the marijuana industry has been expanding continuously in a trend that will continue for many years ahead. As more states legalize marijuana, the industry will become organized in each state. Existing businesses providing services to the industry join today’s expos to meet new license holders, businesses and tons of future prospects looking to start up in the industry -- new businesses are, by definition, all potential “buyers.”
To meet this demand, there are now regional expos in Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and Portland, among other cities, with others being launched continuously. Most of these regional expos offer a bit of everything for the attendee -- an overview of political developments, state regulation, discussions about compliance or lab testing, something for the marijuana grower, with a keynote speaker thrown in. They provide overviews of what the industry looks like for anyone who is thinking of getting involved. These Expos have been steadily increasing in size over the past few years.
As the industry moves from explosive growth in new states and matures into settled businesses, more targeted Expos have been launched, focusing only on single market segments and subject matters. There are now two annual conferences (the Cannabis Science Conference, and the Emerald Expo) dedicated to the scientific side of the marijuana industry from medical uses and scientific knowledge, to lab protocols for testing, to advances in analytics. There’s also an expo entirely focused on manufacturing, called Extraxx, being held at the LA Mart in Los Angeles January 24-26.
Manufacturing plus marijuana?
Both the product variety and delivery systems to ingest marijuana have evolved beyond the leafy buds we all know, into vape oils, food products, concentrated forms of marijuana, inhalers, gel caps, tinctures, drops, creams and even cosmetics. There’s the marijuana-infused equivalent of a nicotine patch. Some of these manufactured products address medical needs with high-dosages (although the “wake & bake” K-cup of infused coffee might not be one of them).
All manufactured goods go through a process of extraction -- a journey that starts by taking a flower and making it into a finished product, with refinements and processing, before filling and packaging and ending on store shelves. The manufactured segment of marijuana products is the fastest-growing segment of the industry, with more than 50 percent of total sales now coming from processed goods. As marijuana enters the mainstream and expands into new states, it’s the manufacturing segment that will drive it forward.
The future of the B2B expo scene will become more and more targeted as the marijuana industry matures, with events focused on the real business at hand. In the meantime, there’s the Vegas event next week, which will break all previous records, and become a staggering mass of raw energy.