The “Global Cannabis and Your Role” keynote panel featured (left to right): Cannabis Dispensary’s/Cannabis Conference’s Noelle Skodzinski as moderator; Washington’s Finest Cannabis’ Crystal Oliver; The Farm’s John Billings; Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions’ Rino Ferrarese and Thomas Schultz; and RD Industries/Rare Dankness’ Scott Reach.
All photos: © Jake Gravbrot

Cannabis professionals from 48 U.S. states and 29 countries gathered at the Westgate Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., April 1-3, for the third-annual Cannabis Conference. World-renowned speakers, cannabis industry leaders, representatives of some of the most successful cultivation and retail businesses, and exhibitors showcasing state-of-the-art technology, services and solutions, made up the record-breaking crowd for Cannabis Conference 2019.

Cannabis Conference is produced by the award-winning publications Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. It is the only North American conference focused exclusively on cannabis cultivation and dispensary businesses. The conference is steered by an advisory board of cultivation and dispensary experts and featured more than 40 education sessions led by more than 90 industry experts. The 70,000-square-foot sold-out exhibit hall showcased technology and solutions providers serving cannabis cultivation and dispensary businesses and doubled as a networking space.

“The depth and breadth of the conference agenda was outstanding, and it gave both newcomers and industry incumbents the insights they need to make a meaningful impact to their business strategy,” said Guild Enterprises co-founder Claudio Miranda, who is also on the Cannabis Conference Advisory Board and a speaker.

William Morse of Total Health Cultivation said, “... This conference had the feel of cooperation, and of a genuine sense we all have to expand our knowledge about this miraculous plant. … I look forward to attending this event in the future!”

“The information and first-hand knowledge being presented at the Cannabis Conference delivers a unique opportunity to get an education from experienced individuals in the cannabis industry,” said Nick Jack, Diego Pellicer - Colorado’s chief retail officer, who also served on the conference advisory board and spoke at the event. “The connections you can make are invaluable, and the conversations with other industry experts provide unique insight into the industry in other parts of the country.”

John Cochran, COO of Harvest Health & Recreation, delivered the Welcome Keynote, sharing key insights from his decades of experience in the beverage industry and what cannabis companies can learn from businesses that produce alcoholic beverages. Cochran is the former CEO of Pabst Brewing Company, and former president and COO of Fiji Water Company.
Lissa Lawatsch, general manager for Las Vegas Releaf, moderated the panel, “Successfully Expand Your Medical Dispensary to the Adult-Use Market,” and was joined by Spencer Knowles (center), vice president of sales and business development for Sira Naturals, and Claudio Miranda (right), co-founder of Guild Enterprises.
Conference attendees could visit with representatives from more than 120 companies providing solutions specifically for plant-touching cannabis businesses in the more than 70,000-square-foot exhibit hall.
Jeremy Sackett of Cascadia Labs (left), Jeremy Plumb of Pruf Cultivar (center) and Andrea Sparr-Jaswa of Farma led a discussion on “Science That Sells: Debunking the Sativa and Indica Myths.”
Cresco Labs co-founder and CEO Charlie Bachtell (left) and Diego Pellicer Worldwide Director and Chief Strategy Officer Nello Gonfiantini III led a session on expanding or franchising your cannabis business.
In a pre-show workshop, Rich Kwesell, Strawberry Fields’ co-founder and co-owner, detailed ideas for streamlining supply chain processes and maintaining efficient inventory management.
Coming off the heels of a successful event, the highly anticipated Cannabis Conference 2020 will take place at Paris Las Vegas.
Attendees and exhibitors appreciated the opportunity to network during Cannabis Conference. One post-survey participant wrote, “What a great event. We made so many new connections.”
Skodzinski (left) moderated a panel featuring Anna Shreeve, president, Urban Paragon (middle) and Debby Goldsberry, executive director, Magnolia Wellness, who provided recommendations for launching a profitable dispensary, including how to work with municipalities and regulatory committees, and how to develop a strong team.
During a session titled “Foolproof SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and Employee Handbooks,” Laura Day, director of operations at Oregon-based Yerba Buena, discussed how to train employees on SOPs and how managers can use them to monitor and improve staff performance.