MJBiz Conference, in its seemingly endless trade show floor, is one of the strongest ties that binds the North American cannabis community together. Whether you love it or get exhausted just thinking about it, it’s the must-attend trade show for anyone looking to make any kind of impact on the cannabis community. This year, MJBizCon 2023 took place November 28 – December 1 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“Community” is the most powerful asset MJBiz owns—and by a long shot. It’s the largest US facilitator of connecting cannabis brands to potential buyers; no other trade show comes close.
Aubrey Amatelli, CEO at the payment solutions provider PayRio, shared how much she looks forward to MJBiz each year. “It gets me in front of people in the industry I wouldn’t normally have the chance to meet face to face, something really important for building a community.”
That statement, for some reason, stuck with me. I could never quite put my finger on why I love this show, and why it keeps bringing me back, year after year. But then it clicked: The show floor is a guaranteed dopamine hit—a fun, chaotic escape from the office for a few days. Thousands upon thousands walk through the doors, including celebs and the who’s who of the industry—Jonah Hill, Mike Tyson, Berner and Xzibit to name a few—all ready to discover, take pictures and shake hands.
MJBizCon 2023 Highlights
At this year’s event, I had the chance to speak to several attendees—floor walkers and people at booths, respectively—who made it crystal clear this trades how is the reason they hit their target numbers. Everyone seemed to share the opinion that no other convention comes close.
“The reason we invest heavily in participating as one of the lead sponsors at MJBizCon is because our customers love to meet with us there and prepare for the following year,” said Dana Shoched, president and CEO at O2VAPE. “MJBizCon continues to be the largest industry trade show in the world, so we need to be there.”
While industry professionals flock to Las Vegas for MJBizCon Week to make meaningful connections on the conference floor, many people choose to forego attending the actual expo, opting for after parties and offsite networking instead. This begs the question: Is just being in Las Vegas enough?
Location, Location, Location
In all its over-the-top pizzazz, Las Vegas thrives on trade shows; its economy needs them and it’s a great place for hosting. “MJBiz is a must-attend, Vegas-wise,” said Kevin Lee, VP at packaging supplier ND Supplies. “We’re here, making meetings on (and off) site and hustling around shaking hands.”
And he’s not wrong; there was a lot to see “off-hours” that’s completely worth mentioning. There are many informal business gatherings that take place up and down the strip (my personal favorite is Secret Pizza just above the Cosmo’s Chandelier Bar).
But aside from that, this year we had the pleasure of attending the first annual EMJays, a cannabis awards show that honored “the best of” in the industry. Jokes were had, trolling comments were made, and overall it was an incredibly touching evening of solidarity. Some of the top winners were Royal Queen Seeds for Seed Bank of the Year and Grasslands for PR Agency of the Year.
MjBizCon’s X Factor
Despite all that Vegas has to offer—and how enjoyable and meaningful those off-site meetings can be—I still stand by my argument that pizzazz doesn’t replace dopamine. And that, right there, is the X-factor that sets MJBizCon apart: Nothing replaces the feeling you get from walking a trade show floor and bumping into new faces and old comrades. Yes, valuable meetings can be booked offsite, but being away from all the concentrated activity of the conference doesn’t give you the full MJBizCon experience. Plus, we have a thriving, loving community ready to give you a hug, blunt or high five when you say the word.
“We love everything about the energy the show offers,” said Brandon Stewart, founder at Revelry Supply, a popular line of smell-proof bags, pre-rolls, flower and accessories. “We come to see our vendors and partners; we stay for the new community we get to meet.”
You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone not saying the aforementioned. After the three days of MJBizCon 2023, everyone is exhausted and wishes the show was “different in some ways,” but wouldn’t change a thing overall—and neither would we.