By Morris Beegle
The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference took place in Chicago on Sept. 13-14. It was my first time attending this event, and I have to say I was very impressed overall with the quality of the venue, the speakers, the programming topics, the sponsors and attending companies, and the general vibe and energy of the show. Attendance was strong and I got to meet a lot of new people throughout the cannabis space.
While Let’s Talk Hemp focuses primarily on the industrial and nutritional hemp markets, we do provide coverage to the sister side of the cannabis plant that is medical and recreational marijuana. It’s all one plant, with literally thousands of potential applications that can have tremendous positive impact and benefits on society and the environment if regulated properly and given the right opportunity.
There were two days of conferences with two stages, including the Industry Stage and The Investors Stage, along with a small exhibitor hall, another hall with enclosed 10×10 private meeting spaces, and a public meeting tables area where attendees could schedule one-on-one meetings throughout the duration of the event.
Highlights for the conference included several keynotes, panels, fireside chats, company profiles and scholarship spotlights. Here’s a selection of sessions I particularly enjoyed.
Company Profile: Oneness Technologies with CEO Dr. Neha Chavan and CFO Alexander Blanton discussing their brand vision, which includes creating a new dimension of medicine by synthesizing the best of pharmaceutical technology with the knowledge of the ancient plant-based medicine traditions of Asia and the Americas.
Scholarship Spotlight: 40TONS, A Social Impact Brand, with CEO Loriel Alegrete telling her story behind the 40 Tons Conspiracy that led to the name and mission of the company. 40 Tons is here to give your brothers and sisters something to hope for.
Keynote: Wendy Berger of Green Thumb Industries
Moderator: Scott Greiper of Viridian Capital Advisors
Keynote: Kim Rivers of Trulieve Cannabis Corp.
Moderator: David Briggs of Yahoo Finance
Fireside Chat: Enabling Institutional Investment into US MSOs
Erik Sloane of NEO Exchange
Nicholas Vita of Columbia Care
Fireside Chat: Music in Cannabis
Vic Mensa of 93 Boyz
Jon Cappetta of High Times
Fireside Chat: Consolidating and Innovating the California Market
Ed Schmultz of Statehouse Holdings
Ross Gardiner of MG Magazine
Panel: Why the Future of Investing in Cannabis Points to Woman-Owned Businesses
Roz McCarthy of Minorities for Medical Marijuana
Gia Moron of Women Grow
Amor Montes De Oca of Illinois Women in Cannabis
Amber Senter of Makr House
Sara Brittany Somerset of Cannabis Now
Panel: How a Passion for Relief Has Driven These Athletes to Build Consumer Loyalty
Calvin Johnson of Primitiv
Rob Sims of Primitiv
Ricky Williams of Highsman
Ben Wallace of Undrafted
Al Harrington of Viola
Jon Cappetta of High Times
Panel: Giving Back: The Opportunity in Responsibility
Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL), U.S. House of Representatives
Jennifer Fisher of Goodwin
Khadijah Tribble of Curaleaf
Gary Santo of TILT Holdings
Jill Scher of MS Marcum LLP
Panel: Data: The Key to Scaling Retail Through Ecommerce & Delivery
Daniel Muller of Aeropay
Kris Walker of Hoodie Analytics
Christopher Dell’olio of Web Joint
Kyla Sirni of Dispense
Kyle Sherman of Flowhub
Panel: Tyson 2.0
Mike Tyson of Tyson 2.0
Chad Bronstein of Tyson 2.0, Fyllo
Ric Flair of Ric Flair Drip
Nicole Cosby of Tyson 2.0
Debra Borchardt of Green Market Report
These sessions were just a fraction of the great content and information that was shared throughout the event. And did I mention the networking and deal-making opportunities to connect with a lot of really smart people, many whom you probably have never met face to face? If you have not attended or you have attended prior, tickets for the next event, happening in April 2023, are already on sale. Get them early before ticket prices go up and the show sells out.