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The Cannabis Business Summit and Expo Rocks California

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The third annual Cannabis Business Summit and Expo was hosted by the National Cannabis Industry Association June 20 -22. 3,000 industry leaders gathered at the Marriott Oakland City Center in Oakland.

The National Cannabis Industry Association(NCIA)is the only national cannabis trade association in the United States. Serious, business-minded entrepreneurs paid as much as $795 for a ticket to the NCIA’s summit. Some attendees traveled from places as far as Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia to attend the event.

Lawyers, investors and industry leaders came dressed for success. Attendees got the chance to hear from Steve DeAngelo, the mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and many more. The expo floor completely sold out.

A landslide of recreational bills, combined with Microsoft’s announcement to partner with KIND financial, created a great deal of excitement. “It’s reflective of the historic role that California will be playing (in this industry) and the excitement for the potential,” said Taylor West, deputy director of the conference. “No longer does the idea of a stoner in the basement come to mind when our industry steps out of the shadows.”

This year, the keynote speaker was California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. Newsom inevitably addressed the elephant in the room, the proposed Adult Use of Marijuana Act. “It’s not a done deal by any stretch of the imagination,” he said at the conference.“We need your help on the campaign.” California’s enormous size makes it very different from passing a recreational bill in Colorado- California is home to nearly eight times the population of Colorado. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is expected to qualify for the ballot in as little as a week.

Newsom is running for Governor of California in 2018.  Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom is also the former city of San Francisco mayor and longtime cannabis advocate.

With so much at stake this November, the Lt. Governor couldn’t keep silent anymore. “If it is defeated, it will set back this movement in California … and nationally for years and years.” streamed his entire speech live for those who were unable to attend.

California has locked up 175,000 people in its prison system- which is the more than the entire population of Garden Grove. It’s safe to say that a major portion of those are incarcerated for cannabis-related convictions.

Nine states including California will most likely vote on recreational cannabis this November. If all nine states are approved, Aaron Smith pointed out, 1 in 4 Americans will live in a recreational state. If all medical cannabis bills are approved, 3 out of 4 Americans will live in a state where medical cannabis is legal.

The national attitude is changing. Even California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris has warmed up to the idea of legalizing cannabis. The excitement for the future set the tone for this year’s conference.

Benjamin Adams

Benjamin Adams has been a journalist since 2006 and is the Californian correspondent for

His written work has been seen in Cannabis Now Magazine, Culture Magazine, and Treating Yourself Magazine. He’s also written for Merry Jane and

Benjamin studied Art and Argumentative Writing at the University of Utah.

He’s tried cannabis in places ranging from Copenhagen to Jamaica.


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