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Cannabis Business Summit and Expo

Oakland Gets Ready for Cannabis Expo

The 2016 Cannabis Business Summit and Expo is expected to draw thousands of entrepreneurs, speakers, and vendors to Oakland in June.

National Cannabis Industry Association LogoThe Expo will run from June 20 to 22 at the Oakland Marriott City Center. It’s part networking event, part classroom, and part sales floor, billed as the “ONLY national event where you will have an opportunity to meet with policy makers and influencers as they converge with the leading trade association shaping the cannabis economy.”

The event attracts a wide range of business owners, industry experts, marketers, and speakers. Organizers say it offers a chance to interact with “the highest concentration of legitimate buyers and sellers all in one place.”

Attended by the industry’s leading players

The Expo offers more than 30 seminars with 75 speakers, many of them top players in the industry. They include Steve De Angelo, owner of the famed Harborside Health Center; Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project; and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The event – and Newsom’s participation in it – have special resonance in California’s current politics. The state’s voters could legalize marijuana in the November election, a decision that would have profound implications for the legal cannabis industry.

The floor of the Expo will be packed with more than 100 exhibitors marketing everything from grow lights and marijuana packaging to payment processing services and industry consultants. The focus is mostly on ancillary businesses, as opposed to the companies that actually grow and sell cannabis.

Sponsored by the National Cannabis Industry Association

An attendee holds marijuana buds at the International Cannabis & Hemp Expo in OaklandThe Expo is sponsored by the National Cannabis Industry Association, the only major trade group for legal cannabis businesses in the United States. The association lobbies for marijuana-friendly laws while offering members networking opportunities, brand exposure, and educational events.

The Cannabis Business Summit and Expo is in its third year. It’s not open to the public: Tickets are sold to businesses and run as high as $700 for the three-day event.

The Expo comes as voters in California ponder whether to completely legalize marijuana in the fall election. A yes vote would make the Golden State by far the world’s largest market for legal cannabis.

Tech billionaire and former Facebook president Sean Parker is heading the legalization push, which has already raised dramatically more money than its opposition. Recent polls show voters are strong on the idea, meaning California will likely end marijuana prohibition within a matter of months.

That gives the participants at this year’s Expo extra reason to care about the state of politics in their industry. And that means the event should be even more lively than usual.

Watch the video below from reason.tv, giving a rundown of what went down in the 2015 Cannabis Business Summit and Expo event.

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