The International Cannabis Business Conference started just four years ago with the goal of bringing together business, politics, and culture in a way that would provide the cannabis community with the best information and networking possible and to help continue the momentum behind legalization. Underlying every ICBC has been the notion that we are fighting for freedom. Yes, we want to help people create more jobs and revenue, but nothing is more important than freedom.

Our first event in Portland, Oregon, in September 2014 (we’re returning this September 27th-28th), held less than two months before the state became the third to legalize cannabis, featured a conservative libertarian keynote speaker followed by a progressive liberal congressman. We’ve even held a joint fundraiser for a Democrat and a Republican, a first-of-its-kind event, as we put our principles above any party, so long as we are furthering our fight for freedom.

Four years after our first conference, it is easy to see the progress that the cannabis community has made around the world. When we started there were only two states with legalization, now there are 9 and our nation’s capital. Two countries have legalized and medical programs have been added or expanded across the globe.

While advocates in the United States can certainly be proud of our achievements, our travels to Germany and Canada have shown us we can still learn from other countries and improve our own laws. We’re still fighting to end prohibition across the country and export cannabis over international lines like Canada and we don’t do as good a job at covering medical cannabis for patients in Germany, whose medicine is covered by their insurance program.

We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but as the ICBC hops around the earth, there is no doubt that the U.S. cannabis community will end the failed, harmful, and racist policy of cannabis prohibition, a development that will even spur on international movements even more. This Fourth of July, we toast to everyone fighting the fight for freedom! Happy Independence Day!