As autumn unfolds, cannabis enthusiasts prepare for the bustling convention season, featuring events like MJUnpacked, Benzinga, NECANN, Hall of Flowers, and more. The pinnacle of these gatherings is MJBizCon in Las Vegas, now in its 12th year and by far the largest and most anticipated cannabis event annually. With over 35,000 industry professionals converging in Las Vegas every mid-November, MJBizCon is an exhilarating (and often, exhausting) affair, teeming with networking and learning opportunities.
So, what's MJBizCon all about?
MJBizCon boasts an expansive expo along with a comprehensive lineup of panels and workshops, not to mention a slew of cocktail events, dinners, and parties. Whether you're a first-timer or a seasoned attendee, there's something for everyone. Having attended this event for the past four years, I've accumulated some valuable insights I'm eager to share with the cannabis community.
Here are some essential MJBizCon tips:
- Plan Ahead: Don't procrastinate on booking your hotel and flights. MJBizCon spans from Wednesday to Friday, so arriving on Tuesday is ideal to get settled, prepare, and explore the surroundings. Consider staying on the Strip for added convenience.
- Embrace the Expo: Even if you've been in the industry for a while, don't overlook the expo. It's a treasure trove of diverse vendors offering everything from extraction equipment to packaging solutions. For first-timers, spending a full day exploring the expo is a must. If you're a seasoned pro, use the MJBizCon app to plan your expo experience. Focus on the vendors and topics that align with your interests and business goals.
- Party Smart: The after-hours events are legendary but remember to pace yourself. I usually start with a group dinner on Tuesday, followed by a single party to ensure you're fresh for Wednesday. Wednesday and Thursday are the main party nights, with various smaller events and invite-only dinners. Social media is your best friend for finding these exclusive gatherings.
- Plan Your Meetings: Prepare for MJBizCon by scheduling meetings well in advance. Prioritize individuals from outside your home city or state, and ensure you allocate ample travel time, considering Las Vegas traffic. Opt for hotel bars or restaurants for your meetings.
A few final tips for the MJBizCon:
- Wear comfortable shoes; you'll do a lot of walking.
- Use the Las Vegas Monorail for transport.
- Bring snacks and a refillable water bottle.
- Las Vegas is in the desert so drink 3x as much water as you think you need, and 10x if you’re drinking. Start drinking water before you get there. Bring chapstick and mints - your mouth will be dry.
- Give yourself time to hit up a couple of the Las Vegas dispensaries.
- If you plan to go out to a nice dinner, make reservations in advance. Everyone is trying to have dinner and it can get tricky if you’re doing something last minute. Vegas has some amazing food you’re going to want to take advantage of.
- Carry a bag for all the swag and information you'll collect.
- Stock up on business cards.
- Always have a clear agenda for your meetings.
- Be punctual and respectful of others' time.
- When meeting at a bar or restaurant, be ready to foot the bill and consider bringing memorable items to make an impression.
MJBizCon is an invaluable opportunity to grasp the breadth and depth of the cannabis industry. It's a must-attend event for anyone in the field, and by following these tips, you'll maximize your experience and the value of your investment in attending.