For the second year, the Vegas Cannabis Summit brought a wide-ranging discussion of all things herbal to Downtown Las Vegas. Panels included conversations on everything from legal issues to edibles dosing, with industry participants from cultivators to budtenders contributing their thoughts.
While 2017 was a banner year for cannabis, it’s been a long, difficult road to get here. “That pushback has created an industry of resilience—people who are thoughtful and crafty,” said Brad Lane of Cannabis Planet TV. As both medical and adult-use cannabis spread throughout the nation, more and more people are coming to Nevada to see just how thoughtful and crafty our industry is. Here are seven insights we picked up.
In a seminar on innovation and technology, several participants discussed possible new uses for tech in the cannabis space. One that made everyone’s ears perk was the application of 3-D printing. Sure, we’ve seen the 3-D printed bongs, but what about the consumables themselves? “Yes, you can 3-D print shatter and wax,” said Nial DeMena from Manna Molecular, “it can be logos or shapes.” Just imagine the stoner action figure potential—a Darth Vader you can dab!—or the corporate gift bag possibilities of shatter in the shape of the company emblem.
It’s Still Medical
With all of the hoopla about adult recreational use, the medicinal aspects get lost. “We have an answer to so many ailments. Why am I supposed to be quiet about it?” said Nurse Juhlzie of Cannabis Nurses Network during a panel on activism and education. She stressed that sometimes nurses and other medical professionals are unable to discuss cannabis. “Making sure we put good information out to people is vital,” she added. Mieko Hester-Perez of the Unconventional Foundation for Autism spoke on having to help patients get the medication they need. “Until federal regulations pass, special needs families need a voice,” Hester-Perez said.
Damn You, Jeff Sessions!
As always, the specter of that killjoy Keebler Elf, Jeff Sessions, hovered over the proceedings. “Will anyone in the White House step in and stop him? He could be on all of your doorsteps tomorrow,” said cannabis advocate Joe Hunter. From the legal panel that opened the first day, to the last one on cannabis in entertainment, everyone wondered if the attorney general would make all of this a moot point. Comedian Rachel Wolfson wailed, “I don’t understand how, with a name like Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, you can hate weed. Beauregard is like bogart, Sessions is like sesh. He should be into this!”
Dolla Dolla Bill, Y’all
Of course, everyone was also reminded that it may not be advocacy or empathy that makes changes in statehouses. “Start acting like an industry instead of a movement. Because the politicians don’t like movements, but they do like an $20 billion industry,” Hunter said. Indeed.
Get a Job
An expanding industry needs employees and many are interested in getting into the business. On a panel advising how to get one’s foot in the dispensary door, everyone stressed that groups like NORML and SSDP would supply aspiring employees with valuable information and show potential employers that they’re serious. But it’s not solely about a cannabis background. “We love to train,” said Asia Denise of Blossom Group Cultivation, pointing out that a wide variety of skills are transferable. “If you’ve worked in a restaurant, you have knowledge we can utilize,” she said. Another piece of advice for aspiring marijuana workers was to keep it professional—no tie-dye shirts and talk of “dank nugs” in the interview. As Ryan Bondhus of Dispensary Cannasum explained, “It’s about changing your language. If you’re going to transition to the legal world, you have to leave some of that behind.”
Wellness vs. Highness
Some have struggled to explain how cannabis can be most medically and recreationally useful, but as Mary Jane Gibson of High Times pointed out, “One way to bridge the medical use and adult use gap is the wellness aspect.” Even those who don’t have a prescription are often using for insomnia, anxiety or pain and, of course, there’s the increasingly widespread use of CBD. “All cannabis is for a medical benefit, whether you realize it or not,” said Nurse Juhlzie.
Marijuana in the Media
The appearance of cannabis-centric TV shows like Disjointed, High Maintenance and others indicate that the increasing public acceptance of weed is having an effect. “I think that the mainstream media wants to be involved in cannabis speaks volumes,” said Jason Rhude of PRØHBTD Media. And, as more types of users go public, more types of users are being seen. “Gradually, it’s going from the Snoop Dogg, Cheech and Chong aesthetic to more of a soccer mom thing,” said Matt Messer of El Camino Media. After all, when Snoop hangs out these days, it’s in Martha Stewart’s kitchen.