A lifetime has passed since my 2017, crazy trip to the San Francisco ICBC conference. Looking back, I am a little surprised and impressed with myself for going in the first place. From the beginning, I knew it would be an adventure, the circumstances guaranteed it. The green rush was in full swing with the latest information, gadgets, and gizmos coming together in California. I was a new writer with a fire for cannabis, curious, and hungry to take it all in. When CLN offered a media pass to the International Cannabis Business Conference, I seized the opportunity and opened my world. Here’s a flashback to the 2017 ICBC conference; where we were at then and where it is now.

The Conference

The International Cannabis Business Conference takes place three times annually, all over the world. Although it frequently returns to San Francisco, Vancouver, Berlin, and Honolulu have all been host to the ICBC. The beauty of hosting it globally is that ideas are showcased from around the world; it’s very interesting to see what different companies come up with considering the different legal barriers they face. For example, In Canada, if you need to use concentrated cannabis oil or RSO, you buy it. All over the US, RSO is made at home. A favorite booth of mine had small appliances used for personal distillation; they were cheap, popular, and foolproof to run. In fact, these machines were so widely used, you could buy flavored ethanol, to add tastes like grape to your RSO. 

The panel about Trump

Along with the booths, panel discussions on a variety of topics are always a favorite at the ICBC. In 2017, there were some hot topics. The most awaited panel discussion had to do with the new Trump Administration and how to approach it as a cannabis business. Steve Grand, an award-winning political strategist, and consultant-led the discussion. At the time, Donald Trump had just become president and the legal framework for cannabis varied state to state. With the US Cannabis industry new and growing, there was a lot of concern that Trump would want to stamp it out. 

The advice given at the ICBC conference was to approach all government dialogue with “Republican Language”. Meaning, rather than arguing the medical and social benefits behind cannabis, talk mainly about financial ones. He advised that while there are several benefits to legalizing cannabis and making it available, the best way to get through to Republicans was to talk about lining their pockets. For a US cannabis business, talking to a Republican Governor about the potential tax benefits was a better course of action, especially with Trump as President. As it turns out, he was right.

The Conference and COVID-19

Originally, Berlin was set to host the ICBC conference in August this year but with covid-19, plans had to change. Hopeful that the pandemic would pass, organizers hesitantly postponed it to July. As the state of the outbreak forced everyone inside, they knew they had to come up with a different plan. On June 9th, 2020, the ICBC went virtual. Vancouver dates are still posted but between now and October, anything could happen. 

Of all the events, The International Cannabis Business Conference is one of the most well rounded, offering insight for both the legal and legacy market. In 2017, For my first project with CLN, I seized the moment to see what it’s like down in the States. I found that just like us Canadians, they had problems because of the law but, the specifics varied slightly. It was fascinating to hear about their challenges but even more so, the ways that each company circumvented them. Seeing how they dealt with it down south, gave me some interesting ideas for up here. The insight comes to each ICBC conference and that alone makes it worth it.