Home from Oakland, where we attended the 4th annual Cannabis Summit & Expo, hosted by the NCIA. 

And we had a great time!  The Cannabis Business Summit served up a full crowd at the Marriott City Center – which happens to be next door to the 12th st BART station, if you’re not familiar with the area.  

For us, former Bay rats, it meant that we know the area really well, and found a great AirBNB in Berkeley that was in close range to some fantastic dining in Berkeley (yes, I know that Oakland has fabulous restaurants too), and BART made it super easy to get around (with some help from Lyft). 

Back on track…  Cannabis Business Summit – 80,000 square feet of exhibit space, lots of exhibitors, tons of keynotes, panel discussions, and networking.   We heard plenty of jokes about how it could have been called the Dirt & Packing Materials Show, and to some extent that was true; we did find that it lacked a little bit of the casualness of an IndoExpo show (Kim really has a thing for the CBD alley at that show, she spends crazy amounts of time chatting with people who create CBD products, if you didn’t know already), but it had more foot traffic than anything besides the MJBiz shows that we’ve seen so far.  

[LISTEN: Legal cannabiz – top 3 reasons to add a mobile strategy – PODCAST EPISODE]

Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico (and perhaps the man with more government experience dealing with drug dealers than any other) presented the opening keynote speech.  Fox seems to be getting on the circuit, he’s also scheduled to make an appearance in Phoenix at the SWCC upcoming in October.  Nice guy, but hard to understand when he wanders away from the mic, and English isn’t his first language.  

So who was at the Cannabis Business Summit show?

Ah yes, as we mentioned, lots of packaging companies, lots of big machinery types – lighting, de-humidifiers (those guys at Quest Dehumidifiers have THE BEST sofas!), and I think our favorite exhibitor was a company called Boveda.  

Drew, Scott and the guys from Boveda Inc manufacture a two way humidifier that’s used in cannabis packages to maintain humidity levels.  They’ve been in the cigar preservation business for years, and we’re told that you don’t want to ever have to recharge a humidor (nor will you have to if you use their products).  Fun to chat with, great space to hang out, they get our vote for friendliest exhibitor of the show. 

[READ: Trade show tribulations – how not to run your show]

We also really like hanging out with Kalyx Dave – what a hilarious, crazy intelligent guy he is…  we met him in the Boveda booth, strangely enough, and we also met a lovely gal named Shanita from the Minority Cannabis Business Association, although we did miss their cocktail party due to a prior engagement. 

Overall, we’d give this show an A-, and it’s such an easy fix to get up to an A grade. 

When we were standing in line to get drinks on Tuesday afternoon, the group directly in front of us were complaining about the fact that the show has no app, so it’s nearly impossible to know what’s going on.  That was not the first time we had heard that – and it was not the last – but the reality is that there’s no reason for the show to do an app; it’s a waste of time when you compare it to using mobile wallet notifications and updates to manage the traffic and keep everyone in touch with what’s going on where and when.  

Are you involved in producing a trade show, conference, meet up or other industry event?  

We’re happy to walk you through the CannabisWallet Event Tickets setup and show you how simple it is to manage your event notifications and updates via mobile phone.  The system has the ability for you to showcase top sponsors or larger exhibitors built right into it, and it’s easy enough to recoup the cost of the investment with value add sales to your sponsors.  

Drop us a line if you’re interested, we’re happy to take a look at your event and make suggestions, give you ideas, and show you how to keep your vendors, sponsors, speakers and attendees up to speed and happy with the interaction and engagement you’re providing for them. 

We should also include a link here for the NCIA – if you’re in the business and not a member, you really should consider joining –