Alex Rogers is sick of attending cannabis conferences that feel like insurance conferences in Iowa — no offense to Iowa.
The Oregon-based hip hop aficionado, who runs also runs two clinics that grant medical marijuana recommendations, started the International Cannabis Business Conference in early 2014 to “do something a little more spicy” than his competitors. After three years, Rogers’ conferences have become known for the show they put on: for their uniquely fun after-parties, for celebrity appearances, for musical performances — and most of all, for taking place around the world in emerging cannabis markets.
This December, ICBC is reaching for new heights with their first “destination conference” in Kauai, Hawaii. The three-day conference (and golf tournament on the fourth day) will take place on the sunny side of the island at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, where Rogers has secured deals for room rates at less than half the normal price. Rogers describes the luxurious setting as “halfway to heaven,” and says that between swaying palm fronds and the salt spray on the beach, he expects to facilitate a level of networking that isn’t possible in the stifling halls of worn-out conference centers in corporate mainland America.
“If you go to a bigger conference, the networking can be frenetic and overwhelming,” said Rogers. “I wanted a place where we could network on a different level, where we could have a high level of intimacy. By getting anyone to come to Kauai — we’re expecting about a thousand people — all those people who come to Kauai will be ready to mix business with pleasure.
Imagine lighting a joint with a potential angel investor at sunset on a pristine beach, or imagine surfing each the morning with a prospective new business partner. “I foresee a level of networking at this conference that the industry has not yet seen,” said Rogers.
Given the demographic that is most likely to be available to fly to Kauai, the conference will have a focus on investing and finance in the cannabis industry, with panels and speakers addressing issues such as going public with a cannabis company, working with angel investors, managing private equity and more.
So far, Rogers has lined up Doug Benson to host the conference’s introduction and VIP reception, and the Grammy-winning band Morgan Heritage will perform at the after party. The speakers list includes Sen. Will Espero, Leafly Events Director Kayla Cook, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Casa Verde Capital’s Evan Eneman, and more to come. Hawaii’s biggest politician and Democratic rising star Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will also speak in a video at the ICBC.
The conference is bound to draw an international crowd to Hawaii’s shores, and Rogers said his conference is always striving to be as inclusive and community-oriented as possible so that everyone, of any identity group, feels welcome.
“The Grand Hyatt is a five-star property, but they offer local rates — so you’ll have these rich whitey vacationers mixed with Hawaiian families on the weekend, and for me that’s special, and that’s the aloha spirit of the hotel, and it made me want to work with them,” said Rogers. “It typifies what we’re about: We love nice stuff, but we’re not hoity-toity, and we’re absolutely inclusive.”
Click here to learn more about the ICBC conference in Kauai and to purchase tickets.
TELL US, would you want to network on a beach?