Henry Rollins brought people to their feet, Canadian industry experts shared their knowledge, Canopy Rivers selected a young company to fund, Civilized agreed to help market Bella Vista (who won Canopy’s “Micro Cannabis, Macro Impact” pitch competition), PRØHBTD Media shared branding tips, Netflix’s “Cooking on High” star Ngaio Bealum had the crowd laughing, and Del the Funky Homosapien had conference attendees dancing the night away. To say that the latest International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver was epic is not hyperbole. The first cannabis conference in a truly legal state was an energetic, inspiring event from beginning to end.
It will be hard to match Vancouver, but I think that Portland, Oregon, is up to the task. Oregon has created 19,000 jobs and is currently bringing in $80 million in new tax revenue a year. Yes, the competition is extremely tough in Oregon with the plentiful number of licensees pushing prices down to a level that creates a consumer’s paradise, but is certainly an obstacle for growers. With positive movement on the federal level, relief may be on the way for many businesses. Most importantly, marijuana arrests and citations have plummetted, and old convictions have been expunged from records.
The STATES Act, while not perfect, would open up the possibility of legal cannabis states to agree to allow commerce across state lines, a development that would be a boon for Oregon’s fantastic cultivators. Representative Earl Blumenauer and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have become some of the biggest proponents of states’ right to legalize in Washington, D.C., and Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler, is one of the founding members of the Government for Responsible U.S. Cannabis Policy Coalition. The Oregon cannabis community has been an effective lobbying force and most of the state’s congressional delegation votes the right way when federal reform bills are introduced.
With more states legalizing adult-use and medical cannabis in the near future, and the prospect of the federal government finally ending prohibition in the next few years, the future is bright for the cannabis community in Oregon and across the United States. The ICBC will be a great time to network, learn, and continue the movement for more freedom, jobs, and revenue.