Marijuana business owners are getting Rocky Mountain High in Denver this week. The National Cannabis Industry Association is hosting their first-ever Cannabis Business Summit. The summit takes place June 24- 25, 2014, at the Colorado Convention Center. According to the summit’s official website, it is intended to give marijuana business owners the chance to exchange ideas, discuss best practices, and learn about regulations, policies and legislation.
Cannabis Business Summit Agenda
The summit begins at 7:30 each morning and goes into the early evening. The agenda for the summit includes several keynote addresses on topics like building community support for the cannabis industry, and responsibility in cannabis marketing. Speaker backgrounds include NCIA board members, Hon. Roger Goodman, state representative from Washington, and Steven DeAngelo, executive director of Harborside Health Center.
Beyond the speakers and a slate of general presentations, the agenda breaks up into five tracks: basic cannabis business practices (CannaBusiness 101), more advanced CannaBusiness, products and services that cater to the marijuana industry, policies and reforms, and emerging topics. Each track has five hour-long sessions over the course of both days, and features a set of speakers on the track’s topic.
Who’s Involved with the Summit?
According to the official site, the summit should be attended by owners and operators of cannabis businesses, and other professionals who may relate to the business; investors, policy-makers, attorneys, etc. The regular admission fee to attend the summit is $795. NCIA members may attend for $450; NCIA membership costs $950 annually. According to Laura Kocsis (2014) in the June issue of Culture, 800 people are estimated to attend the summit.
The Cannabis Business Summit lists 52 partners and sponsors on its website. They include dispensaries, businesses that manufacture cannabis-infused products, marijuana-security companies, and a number of other vendors who cater to the marijuana industry.
The NCIA is the national trade association serving the marijuana industry. According to their site, the NCIA is lobbying for a federal policy covering fair tax policies and equal access to banks for cannabis businesses. The NCIA also lobbies for an end to marijuana prohibition at a federal level, and to protect businesses from U.S. attorneys who ignore a Department of Justice memo saying not to prosecute legitimate marijuana businesses in Colorado or Washington.
The Business of Legal Weed in Colorado
The legitimate business of marijuana has come a long way. For Coloradans, the days of Cheech and Chong scoring a “lid” from cousin Strawberry are over. In Colorado, marijuana is big business. According to numbers published by the Colorado Department of Revenue through April, the state of Colorado has raked in nearly $7 million from the 15-percent sales tax, and $1.9 million from the 10-percent excise tax.
Combining that with the $5.9 million from regular sales taxes, the state has made about $14.8 million in revenue from weed. A ballpark figure by this reporter would put the total retail revenue somewhere around $59 million. Nice split among the 206 or so retail shops licensed by the state for 2014 so far.
Recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado on January 1, 2014, after voters approved Amendment 64 to the state constitution on Election Day 2014. Six months later, the Cannabis Business Summit is ready to revolutionize cannabis commerce, and eager entrepreneurs are ready to join the movement.