History of MJBizCon
This year’s Marijuana Business MJBizCon has already come and gone to the Las Vegas Convention Center, which makes it the perfect time to look back on the history of this significant conference and some past events.
The First MJBizCon
The very first MJBizCon, the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo, took place in November 2012. As has been the case, it is run by Marijuana Business Daily, a business news outlet based on Denver that appeals to professionals in medical and recreational cannabis.
When the first MJBizCon took place, it was the very first national marijuana business conference, causing it to make headlines. The trend of holding the convention in fall in Las Vegas has continued every year since.
This first MJBizCon event was just a three-day weekend, providing enough vendor spaces, workshops, and related activities to peak interest. Over the years, it has expanded, now lasting a full week.
Right from the start, the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo has aimed to appeal to every sector of the marijuana business. These include large companies to the smallest cultivators, sales reps, and retailers. There are also representatives from major global and multi-state cannabis companies, including executives.
Continual Growth in Attendance
In 2017, Marijuana Business Daily published a chart showcasing the growth of the event from 2012 to 2017 in terms of attendance. The first event in 2012 had a small but respectable turnout of 402. The following year, attendance rose to 720. From there, it truly skyrocketed every single year.
In 2014, 3,214 people attended, a rise of around 350 percent from the previous year’s attendance. After this, the number of people to attend the MJBizCon continued to grow steadily, although not to such a dramatic degree.
2015’s event saw 5,561 people attend while 2016 about doubled this figure to 10,881. Between 2016 and 2017, there was a 67 percent increase in attendance, leading to 18,121 attendees in 2017.
In addition to the massive growth in attendance for the 2017 conference, there were also increases in other aspects of it, leading to great success. 2017 saw a 111 percent increase in companies who exhibited, reaching 678. These companies covered every marijuana industry sector, including infused product companies, cultivation equipment manufacturers, packaging and marketing firms, consultants, security, and banking.
The 2017 conference also had significant attendance from outside the United States, with almost 11 percent of attendees coming from outside the country. More than 75 percent of the nondomestic participation came from Canada.
Even the physical size of the convention grew dramatically in 2017. The exhibition floor space increased to more than double the previous year’s size, reaching 100,000 square feet compared to 45,000 the year before. To put this in more practical terms, the average person can understand, if you wanted to walk through every single exhibition floor aisle and did so at about two miles per hour, it would have taken around 45 minutes. If you wanted to talk to each vendor for about five minutes, that would have required 57 hours.
By the 2018 MJBizCon, the event had grown to include more than 35 conference sessions, 1,027 exhibitors, and 158 speakers. It also featured 27,600 attendees, including those from every state in the country and a total of 60 countries around the world. The exhibitors were spread over almost 175,000 square feet, an increase of 70 percent from the previous year.
Also, there was a 38 percent increase in companies at the event. Attendees came from 70 different countries, with around 13 percent of attendees from places other than the United States. Once again, most of the nondomestic attendees were from Canada, accounting for slightly less than 70 percent of that group. That year, walking through all the aisles was over three miles.
In 2018, the keynote speaker was Torsten Kuenzlen, the Sundial Growers CEO. This is one of the largest cannabis companies in Canada. Other notable speakers included the Marijuana Business Daily founding editor, Chris Walsh, and Codie Sanchez from CS Ventures, who is an entrepreneur, consultant, and investor within the industry. Kevin Murphy, the CEO and founder of Acreage Holdings, also spoke. His company is one of the largest American multi-state cannabis companies.
The general sessions covered topics like emerging technology, research and development, investing, branding and marketing, legal issues and taxes, and licensing and regulation.
What to Expect at MJBizCon 2019
With all that growth over the years in mind, the 2019 conference was sure to be a success. The conference continues to be the biggest cannabis business professional gathering around the world. Marijuana Business expected 35,000 attendees from more than 75 countries, over 1,500 CEOs, over 8,000 other executives and c-level attendees, over 1,250 investors, and over 1,300 exhibitors.
The main event, the actual conference, is still a long weekend this year, from Dec. 11 to 13. The festivities now last much longer, featuring a full MJBizCon Week.
The keynote speaker this year was Marc Randolph, Netflix’s founding CEO, who discussed innovation while facing adversity.
Investor Intelligence Conference
The MJBizCon this year also included an Investor Intelligence Conference 2019 on Monday, Dec. 9, and Tuesday, Dec. 10. It connected accredited and high-net-worth investors with crucial data and forecasts to help them make informed decisions.
Thursday, Dec. 12, also featured the MJBizDaily Awards Gala & After Party. This event recognizes and celebrates the impact of companies and people who set standards and bring the industry forward. It featured complimentary drinks, food stations, and music from DJ Shai.
Associations Day Program
MJBizCon Week also includes the Associations Day program. The program encourages participation from well-respected non-profits and associations that help to push the industry forward.
Other Affiliated Events
There is also a full list of other affiliated events that are part of the MJBizDaily Week. This is due to their alignment with the values and commitment of the conference. These span topics like introductions to the EU GMP specifically for the cannabis industry, the National Women of Cannabis Conference, the Science Symposium Reception, and the Advancing Cannabis Cultivation Technology Summit.
With MJBizCon a success for 2019, it is time to start looking forward to what 2020 will bring, and for professionals and companies to start making plans to attend.