It feels like the holidays are fast approaching, especially if you’re in cannabis. November brings Marijuana Business Daily’s MJBizConference in Las Vegas, the industry’s largest international convention of the year, and the surrounding flurry of activity has already got us buzzing.
At the same time, CannaGather – the premiere networking community for legal cannabis professionals in the New York tristate area – prepares to host an historic event in Trenton, New Jersey. The city has quickly become the region’s capital for advocates of the plant, particularly on the medical side. Earlier this year, over 800 people attended a New Jersey State Health Department meeting there for information about patient licenses and the six coveted dispensary licenses the government will be releasing. Now, despite the highly-anticipated referendum on adult-use legalization being stalled, Trenton continues to grow as a political and industrial hotspot.
CannaGather NJ’s event will feature a keynote address by Al Harrington (no, Family Guy fans, not that one), the NBA star turned cannabis entrepreneur who founded Viola Extracts and has become a partner in Simply Pure New Jersey, the local branch of Wanda James’s famous dispensary franchise. (James, who presented at CannaGather NJ in August, became the first African-American woman to own a dispensary in 2012.) Other speakers include Ruben Baerga, Chief Operating Officer of the pioneering Green Medicine NJ; Nelson Guerrero, Executive Director of the Cannabis Cultural Association – the CCA is a nonprofit dedicated to helping marginalized and underrepresented groups engage in the legal cannabis industry, and is a main plaintiff in the class-action suit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions – and attorney David Wenger. Potential investors in the space should take note of Wenger’s tips for succeeding in the current financial and political landscape. He is the author of The Green Regulatory Arbitrage: A Case for Investing in U.S. Multi-State Vertically-Integrated Cannabis Companies.
Honeysuckle has long had an affinity for CannaGather, the source of our own initial education about the vast and dynamic cannabis community. As founder Josh Weinstein has said, “Cannabis is a triple-bottom-line industry: Money, medicine, and social justice… I hope we’ve normalized the conversation about the power of the plant, enabled folks to make solid connections to get into the business, and motivated people to take action or at least get educated.”
When we interviewed Weinstein last year in advance of our CANNABIS print edition, he regarded moving CannaGather beyond New York as a secondary goal that was desirable but not yet achievable. What a difference a matter of months can make – CannaGather NJ is thriving, new branches are being developed for other locations (with special focus on Florida and Washington, D.C.), and the Manhattan-based headquarters has evolved into a populous hub where industry barriers are being broken all the time. MJBizCon happens once a year, but CannaGather always has us on tenterhooks for the Green Rush’s next landmark move.
Make sure to check out CannaGather New Jersey’s historic meetup in Trenton on October 30 featuring NBA star Al Harrington. Tickets and information are available on their site here. The next NYC event at Galvanize is on November 20, where the keynote speaker will be Mitch Baruchowitz, managing partner of Merida Capital. Tickets are available here.