Alex Rogers – The Cannabis Edutainer
International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) is one of the biggest events worldwide regarding professional networking in cannabis. Attracting visitors from over 70 countries worldwide, the ICBC is expecting over 2.500 visitors for the ICBC Berlin event this year. krautinvest.de got to talk with Alex Rogers, founder of ICBC, about his experience in the cannabis industry, his venture and what visitors can expect for this year’s Berlin show at the InterContinental Hotel Berlin.
krautinvest.de: Alex, this is the fourth International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) taking place in Berlin. You set-up events in five locations worldwide since you started. Can you tell us how you feel about this development? What did you expect when you started in comparison to where you stand now having grown one of the biggest cannabis industry events worldwide?
Alex Rogers: I really was not sure what to expect. About 6 years ago, I had an idea that cannabis reform would spread across the globe, therefore opening up the industry in multiple worldwide markets. It does not seem like an astonishing idea now, but 6 years ago, it was quite novel. Many of my friends and colleagues were skeptical, as cannabis was still a very underground industry in Europe. I booked the venue for our first ICBC Berlin in May of 2016, to be held in April 2017. When I booked the venue, Germany had about 1000 medical cannabis patients and it did not look like that number was going to drastically change anytime soon. The famous court decision came soon after that, which set a court precedent for patients to be able to grow their own cannabis at home. This, in turn, prompted the German Health Ministry to finally put some more sensible regulations and rules together regarding cannabis patients’ access to medicine. The rest is history, as the new regulations came into play just a few months before our first Berlin event. I believe this set of circumstances really helped catapult us right out of the gate. Since then, we have seen Germany and most of Europe begin to liberalize their cannabis laws at a rapid rate, comparatively speaking.
krautinvest.de: What topic excites you most about the industry at the moment? How do you think Europe is different from other international markets? Where do you think global cannabis markets are heading?
Alex Rogers: I love seeing the industry boom in general, whether it’s the advances in tech, biotech, finance or lifestyle products. With these advancements, invariably, public and administrative policy follows. Implementation is 90% of the law. What excites me the most is the notion of freedom and liberty. From a US Constitutional perspective, It could clearly be argued that a state has the right to create a law against a drug, however, there is no constitutional allowance for federal drug laws, as it pertains to personal consumption. In other words, there is no true legal framework that justifies national legislators to be in the business of creating federal laws that control what we do in the privacy of our own homes. Cannabis is the perfect example and analog and the more the cannabis industry grows, the more this aforementioned postulation comes into question.
krautinvest.de: The ICBC has built up a solid and massive industry-related online news channel. How important do you believe is a good mix of online and offline engagement with the people? Why did you put emphasis on that and how do you think does the content help shape opinion?
Alex Rogers: This is a good question. We decided at our inception that we wanted to create germane and relevant content and editorial that described what was happening in and around the international cannabis industry ecosystem. Again, when we started out, many of our articles were not so popular. Now, we have become one of the top sources for intl cannabis news. It has been astonishing. We get to help shape narratives and opinions. It is an immensely beneficial and powerful tool for us. Especially the mixture of online and offline brings a lot of people to our site and to the local events, which makes the topic even more tangible. It is a great tool to keep people informed and engaged so that they get the same quality of content between events and so they can read up and keep up-to-date on the developments that we are discussing offline and in real life on stage.
krautinvest.de: An important element of your event is entertainment. Why do you think this is such an important factor in the creation of the cannabis conversation? Which VIPs could you win for this year’s ICBC on the 1st to 3rd of April?
Alex Rogers: In my previous life, before becoming a serial entrepreneur in cannabis, I was in the music business, as well as a performer. It is important for me to attach some deeper meaning to what we all do in our regular day to day lives. Music and art have always provided humanity with this great catharsis. After a long day at the conference, networking and learning, which, however productive, can be quite a cerebral and tedious affair. It is nice to unwind in a different atmosphere that can also be conducive to a more intimate type of networking.
I am excited to have Jim Belushi coming to Berlin. I have a few more dignitaries that will be announced in the weeks to come. I also have a very big name I am about to announce for the after-party performance.
krautinvest.de: The ICBC always manages a well-balanced and well-curated programme. What are the main topics this year? What topics get you the most excited from a personal perspective?
Alex Rogers: All of ICBC’s events are very individual and matched to the location. Germany, in comparison to other of our events, has a stronger focus on medical cannabis since this is the main focus of the industry in Europe at the moment. On the first day of this year’s ICBC Berlin the programme will focus more on the medical cannabis and market development, whereas the second day’s programme will focus more on hemp, global drug policy and market innovation. I think the thing that gets me the most excited is the dynamic and the traction the topic has gained in the meanwhile. At ICBC, we bring together the makers and shakers of this industry, so I am almost more excited about the impact of the discussion that takes place at and after the event. On stage, we are not only discussing single markets anymore, but we are heading in the direction of a global cannabis industry. This is going to be an exciting year for cannabis worldwide.
krautinvest.de: We believe so, too. Thank you for the interview.
About Alex Rogers:
Visionary entrepreneur and political activist, Alex Rogers, is the founder and CEO of three thriving ancillary cannabis businesses. Cutting his teeth as an activist in the early nineties under the tutelage of Jack Herer, Alex has a deep proprietary knowledge of the industry. He has played a key role in professionalizing and mainstreaming the cannabis industry, building one of Oregon’s most popular medical marijuana clinics in a matter of a few years, and the first-ever to advertise medical marijuana on network TV in America. He also founded and runs the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference (OMBC), the state’s biggest and longest-running cannabis business conference. Living in five different countries throughout his life, and able to communicate in all respective languages, Alex considers himself an international citizen, thusly spawning his latest creation, the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC). A Magna Cum Laude graduate in Political Science, he has used his knowledge of law and politics to push cannabis policy forward all over the world.
This interview was first published at: https://krautinvest.de/alex-rogers-der-cannabis-edutainer – syndicated with special permission