The International Cannabis Business Conference has a lot of highlights for a lot of people, depending on your background and interest in the industry. For some, getting the chance to ask the executive director of the OLCC and other regulators in charge of the statewide commercial rules is at the top of the list while others are most interested in the “Raising Capital” panel or the networking opportunities. Having the chance to hear from and talk with actor Jim Belushi, former NBA great Cliff Robinson, or “Cooking on High” co-star Ngaio Bealum is exciting.

For me, I am most anticipating the first ICBC Mom and Pop Pitch Event that will award a craft cannabis compy $10,000, while giving all of the small businesses the opportunity to pitch their enterprise in front of a room filled with investors and potential partners. I understand that $10,000 isn’t a ton of money in this burgeoning industry, but it is certainly better than a sharp stick in the eye and the pitch could turn out to be worth a lot more if the right person sees it, either at the conference or when we post the panel on YouTube.

The ICBC received a lot of great submissions and it was hard to pick four finalists, but we had to narrow it down. The four finalists are the Greener Side dispensary, processor Protanicals (Muru), Western Oregon Dispensary, and retailer Coastal Cannabinoids. Micro-tier producer Green Hills just narrowly missed the final four, but is serving as an alternate just in case one of the finalists can’t make it (which happened at the Canopy Rivers pitch panel that the ICBC hosted in Vancouver).

Each of the finalists are small craft businesses that have a compelling story. The judges, former Trailblazer All-Star  Cliff Robinson, the Willamette Week’s Lauren Yoshiko, and HiFi Farms’ Lee Henderson will certainly have their work cut out for them.

I am excited for this panel and look forward to following all of these great local businesses and blogging about them in the future. There is still time to get tickets and join us for what is sure to be a great, memorable conference.