Home Culture The State of Marijuana: A Unique Conference in the Cannabis Industry

The State of Marijuana: A Unique Conference in the Cannabis Industry

Flickr @ Justin Ennis

As cannabis becomes more mainstream, we as cannabis users have a responsibility to represent the growing cannabis community in a positive way. While there are so many who are working hard to show that there is a classy side, a business side, a responsible side to the cannabis industry there are still many who are putting the majority of us in a negative light by carrying on old stereotypes. While it’s all fun and games to go party out in the desert with a free dab bar and an expert budtender, it doesn’t do much for trying to legitimize the industry and deplete the fears of those who have never been a part of it.

This is where the State of Marijuana comes into play. The southern California event is one of a kind, as it focuses more on politics and networking than simply getting high and showing off the latest gadgets. With two days packed full of brilliant speakers and multiple chances to network with anyone else on the ship, the third annual State of Marijuana event is unlike almost any conference out there – and it is an event that anyone looking to become educated about the cannabis industry should make a point to attend.

The conference will take place on the Queen Mary – a ship that is rich in history and has its roots all the way back to the time of alcohol prohibition and sailed in World War 2. Since the late 60s the ship has been retired from the seas and has become a landmark of Southern California operating as a floating hotel, wedding and event venue. During the State of Marijuana, guests will have the opportunity to stay the night on the ship; convenient for both travelers as well as those hoping to spend their downtime networking.

What Sets the State of Marijuana Apart from the Rest?

“Other conferences help people believe that they will get into the business without being honest.” – Susan Soares

If you’ve ever been to a cannabis-themed conference you’ll notice a few things; one is that they are almost entirely focused on commercialization. People who say things like “When it’s legal, I’ll jump into the industry” often attend these events in hopes of emulating what they are already seeing and jumping on the bandwagon with whatever trends are current. The problem with this is, it gives many people false hope that it will be as simple as deciding they want to open a dispensary or create a brand and then they will rake in the dough – unfortunately that’s just not the reality of the situation. (There will even be a part of the first day dedicated to this topic!)

Rather than being another conference centered around big brands, current trends and free dabs, the State of Marijuana is focused on providing an elegant and more intimate look into the politics behind the industry. It’s an event you could bring your mom – or even your grandma – to and have faith that they would get an honest chance to learn about cannabis and the benefits of legalization without all the chaos you might find elsewhere. At the State of Marijuana you will find politicians, activists and industry professionals – not vaporizer brands showing off their newest designs.

Another difference between this event and “dabfest” style events is the fact that it is designed to be a much more low-key event. Rather than sheltering thousands of people for a couple of days the event will only have 700-1200 guests maximum in attendance. This may seem like a rather small event, but with one of the main ideas being networking this is actually perfect. It gives people a better chance to get together and talk one on one about the industry and their experiences – and at The State of Marijuana everyone is treated like a VIP and has VIP access – no add-ons and extra expenses to be a part of networking sessions or after-parties.

During the two day event guests will have the opportunity to listen to dozens of speakers, all of whom are influential in the cannabis industry and the legalization process. In between these speakers there will be a couple of networking breaks – the first with lunch and the second later in the afternoon – which will take place on the deck where guests who bring their own cannabis will be able to consume while they get to know their peers during these prime networking sessions.

After the first full day there will also be a cocktail hour, followed by an after-party that will run from 7pm until midnight. Elected officials will be offered a chance to speak during the open mic and it will be a great opportunity to get to meet the lawmakers who are behind the new regulations for California’s Medical Marijuana program, who may have a hand in regulating the recreational market should Proposition 64 pass this November. If you’re looking for a chance to meet some of the most influential individuals involved in creating a successful industry, this after-party will be a great opportunity.

What Speakers will be Featured during the Event?

I already mentioned that there will be dozens of speakers at The State of Marijuana – well-known names like Stephen DeAngelo (an activists and entrepreneur) and Betty Yee (California State Controller) who will both be speaking along with a keynote presentation. You won’t find people talking about the latest market trends, the best way to grow your herbs or speculation on how people can jump into the industry when the time comes – instead it will be a bit more thoughtful, inspiring and informative.

One such individual being featured at the event will be David Bienenstock, a ten year High Times writer who heads their content after a temporary stint away to freelance and finish his book, How to Smoke Pot (Properly). The book is about the ever-changing world of legalization – how major businesses and big brands (like Microsoft, for instance) are starting to gain an interest in the industry and how a culture once reserved for hippies and rebels is now everyone’s idea for how to make a quick buck.

It also talks about how those of us coming from an underground culture can still stick to our roots – without providing fodder for negative stereotyping to feed off of. According to Susan Soares, the book is an excellent read and David is quite the individual. There will be a reading of his book during the cocktail hour on the Queen Mary before the after-party on the first night.

“So inspiring, the real deal, that hippie guy really cares and is so knowledgeable, I love David.” – Susan Soares

These are only a few of the speakers you will hear from at The State of Marijuana – others include Barry Broad (Legislative Director, California Teamsters Public Affairs Council), Alex Campbell (TV producer and activist, creator and producer of Super High Me), Martin Lee (Project CBD co-founder and author of Smoke Signals) and many more. Each of these people plays an influential role in the political end of the cannabis industry – offering insight on marijuana policies, the changes to public opinion and more.

Reserve Your Space at the State of Marijuana held on the Queen Mary

“The State of Marijuana is the premier political conference focused on cannabis. We aren’t out to exploit people hoping to get into the business. We are here to educate and we have a real diversity of opinions coming from the thought-makers and leaders in the space. Since this year’s conference is so close to the election, we are inviting many elected officials to attend as Special Participants. The State of Marijuana will be HISTORIC and the bonus is that the City of Long Beach and the Queen Mary recognize our rights as medical cannabis patients to medicate on the beautiful deck of the Britannia Salon! Don’t miss the boat! Get your tickets today before they sell out!!” – Susan Soares

If you’re able to find yourself in southern California next month, The State of Marijuana will take place September 26th and 27th on the Queen Mary. Tickets can be purchased in advance here  and start at $299 for the conference and are $350 including the after-party and dinner reception. You won’t find another event quite like this one – and even though the price may seem high it is actually quite reasonable for the number of opportunities presented at this conference.

Don’t forget to get your tickets before September 20th – at which time the price of tickets will jump to $350 and $450 – so reserve your space ahead of time to save yourself some money and ensure your seat at The State of Marijuana.