Cannabis and hemp have been essential engines of human industry since before the advent of civilization. We all know the facts. Most of the world’s ancient cultures produced and used cannabis as a vital cornerstone of farming, business, industry, and even empires.
Now, despite some seventy plus years of prohibitionist federal regulations outlawing hemp and cannabis, it seems like people all over are rediscovering the industry of cannabis, and its lucrative potential. With sixteen states in the U.S. now allowing for medical marijuana programs, and renewed talks for the decriminalization and proper regulation of recreational marijuana, especially in light of our nation’s recent economic troubles, the cannabis industry is finally moving back into the mainstream.
If you want to be involved in the cannabis industry, whether as a producer, a farmer, a doctor, a patient, a lawyer or an advocate, these are the top five places you want to find yourself in 2012.
1. Seattle Hempfest
This organization has history. Started in 1991 as the Washington Hemp Expo, the original event had a crowd of about 500 people. Since then, the event has grown to epic proportions. In addition to being the major gathering of cannabis businesses and activists, the event is now considered a major political rally and a major concert event, with attendance regularly topping the 200,000 mark.
You know it has to be hard work. Getting five people to do the same thing at the same time is a challenge most people can’t handle, but these guys get 200,000 people off the couch and out in the world and making waves, and they’ve done it year after year, for 20 years running. That level of dedication and commitment is the kind of force that can change the world, and you can bet the cannabis industry needs more of it.
2011 was another successful wrap at the Seattle Hempfest this last August 19-21, and they’re already gearing up for 2012. It looks like they have their dates set as August 17-19th, with vendor slots coming available in March. Get more info at www.hempfest.org.
2. Treating Yourself Expo
The Treating Yourself Expo has its roots in the Treating Yourself publication, started in 2005. The mission of this publication is “to build awareness, generate interest, educate and provide our readers with conscientious, ethical, and reliable information to assist them with the management of their wide and varied health needs and provide them with access to safe and reliable products.”
On May 25-27th, 2012, the third annual Treating Yourself Expo will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This event has a 4,200 square ft., government-approved vapor lounge! Check them out at www.treatingyourselfexpo.com.
Hempcon is a rising star in the field of cannabis conventions, and they’re a little different than your average canna-convention. They take their show on the road, to venues all across the southwest United States, mostly in California and Colorado. This convention has a focus on the business of medical marijuana in the community, linking patients, doctors, caregivers/providers, lawyers, accountants, glass-makers and a whole host of other merchants working within the cannabis industry.
Hempcon just finished a convention this last November 11- 13th at the San Jose Convention Center, and they’ve announced their next convention as January 6-8, 2012, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA via the 420magazine website. Tickets range from 17 to 20 bucks, and the event is open to the public, so you don’t need a medical marijuana card to attend.
4. The International Cannabis & Hemp Expo
These guys get my vote for two reasons.
One, they’ re a well-put together organization who just wrapped up a successful event this last September 3rd and 4th, and less than a month later, they’ve already announced on their Facebook page that they’re working on the next expo, planned to be held sometime in the summer of 2012.
Two, their core mission as an event includes awareness, education, and advancement. This is exactly what the cannabis industry needs.
As of right now, a venue and dates have not been announced for the 2012 International Cannabis and Hemp Expo, but you can bet these guys are working hard on it. Check them out on Facebook for more info.
Kushcon is the rock star of the field. They have huge numbers of people attending their events. 20,000 people turned out for the first Kushcon in April of 2009, and Kushcon II, held in December 2010 down in Denver, CO, had estimates of 50,000 attendees.
But we all know this story. The brightest flame burns quickest, and Kushcon has been a little quiet since then. It’s difficult to find information regarding an upcoming Kushcon event, and their website just tells you that the next Kushcon will be announced soon, but I get the feeling that their website has been saying that for a long time now.
So, here’s to hoping that the next Kushcon is right around the corner, and that the rock star can get himself together just enough to keep on rocking. Their website is kushcon.com. You can also check them out on Facebook.
Written by Brandon Bishop for Issue 3 of Cannabis Now Magazine.