Inside the Cannabis Industry’s Luxury Business Conference

Inside the Cannabis Industry’s Luxury Business Conference

The premier boutique cannabis symposium, Cannabis Grand Cru, returned to Seattle in March for the first of multiple 2016 events. The Cru took over three venues around the city including the Fremont Foundry for Saturday’s main event.

The event opened with a Friday-night screening of “Evergreen: The Road to Legalization” at Central Cinemas, sponsored by local extraction company, Evergreen Extracts. The documentary chronicled the industry-driven controversy surrounding Washington’s 2012 legalization initiative, I-502. After the movie, the select group of attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions of the film’s director, writer, and producers.

More than 400 cannabis enthusiasts and curious onlookers joined nearly 50 speakers for a day jam-packed with education, networking, and fun. Having spoken at every Cannabis Grand Cru including the Inaugural Aspen event in November 2014, I am impressed with the constant improvements being made to the series — especially given the high caliber of the first one.

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In an industry that is flush with expos and conferences, it’s often hard for us to decide which to attend. The Cannabis Grand Cru’s high speaker-to-attendee ratio, once again, provided an intimate atmosphere for networking and interaction.

Session topics varied from products and branding to legislation and advocacy, to our staple Cannabis Technology panel.

AC Braddock agreed that the event provided “much higher quality networking as the event is smaller and more intimate.” Braddock, who is the CEO of extraction-tech company Eden Labs, spoke at her second Grand Cru on “The Future of Extraction Technology” panel.

While networking is an integral part of any industry get-together, CGC also focuses on education. Ettalew’s Edibles CEO, Alison Draisin, said her favorite part of the event was “educating new people about the power of the plant.” Draisin was also speaking at her second Grand Cru, and was part of the “Cannabis Infused Journey Through Culinary Pairings”, a live cooking demo where they discussed terpene-pairings of cannabis and food, as well as antidotes for when you’re too high.

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The final sessions of the day featured the “Four Horsemen of Washington’s 502 Legislation” on a panel about the state’s legal landscape on the main stage. Alex Cooley of Solstice Grown was joined by Aaron Pelley, Josh Berman, and Brian Caldwell to discuss current concerns surrounding the transition from medical to recreational cannabis and the future outlook on legislation in Washington.

Up in the penthouse, I was joined by my close friends and colleagues in our CGC-regular discussion about “Cannabis Technology, Data, and Analytics.” Cy Scott, Marie Veksler, Stewart Fortier, John Kagia, and myself convened to emphasize the importance that technology and data play in the legitimization and progression of the cannabis industry.

Once the day’s programming ended at 7:10pm (aka dab o’clock), the speakers and select attendees headed to the closing afterparty at Georgetown’s Brass Tacks which was sponsored by Calyx King, Whaxy and Pelley Law Group. The party allowed me to catch up with Grand Cru regulars like Addison DeMoura, John Hunt, and Sheriff Joe Disalvo of Pitkin County, as well as some new faces. We enjoyed the night over delicious food, beverages, and smoke.

The next day we all packed up and returned to our respective home cities. I know I am not alone when I say that I cannot wait until the next Cannabis Grand Cru.

Alison Draisin agreed, “This is a great group and I excited to work with them in the future!”

Sohum Shah

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