May 28, 2024

International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC)

The International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) returns to San Francisco, California, on February 13th-14th, bringing in marijuana industry experts from around the globe to create an educational and networking event unlike any other. The two-day ICBC experience includes the latest business, legal and political information while also providing networking social events that will benefit any entrepreneur. With California on the verge of legalizing cannabis in 2016, all eyes will be on the Golden State as the legal cannabis industry will be poised to fully enter the eighth largest economic market in the world. Whether you are a grower, processor, dispensary operator, own an ancillary business or are just thinking about entering the cannabis industry, you will find the ICBC engaging and entertaining and leave with valuable knowledge to take your respective business to the next level. Attendees will learn from those with success on the ground in both commerce and activism, learning important business tools as well as how to best improve and protect our marijuana laws. The ICBC truly believes that the best cannabis industry promotes sound business laws while also working to keep people out of prison and ensure safe access for patients. You do not want to miss this world class cannabis business conference!

Rock and Cultural Icon Henry Rollins to Keynote the OMBC in Eugene

Henry Rollins OMBC

The Oregon Marijuana Business Conference (OMBC), the longest-running cannabis industry conference in the Beaver State, will be bringing its trademark blend of business information, activism, culture and networking opportunities to Eugene on April 28th at the River Valley Inn. Musician, actor, writer, and television and radio host, Henry Rollins, will be delivering the keynote address, bringing his unique socially conscious message to OMBC attendees. I’m happy to be helping organize this great event.

While the OMBC is designed to help those in the Oregon cannabis industry to thrive economically in the burgeoning marijuana market, the conference is just as interested in maintaining the foundations of the legalization movement–keeping people out of prison and ensuring that patients have safe access to medicine, making Rollins’ a great speaker for the event. Rollins recently wowed a sold-out crowd at the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) last February.

In a recent LA Weekly column, Rollins spoke about his vision for the cannabis industry, in line with the priorities of Alex Rogers, lead producer of both the OMBC and ICBC:

We both agreed that these future sellers were hopefully aware that they’re part of a cultural shift, and with that fact comes responsibility. If they were just after money, cannabis products would soon turn into just another thing to buy, instead of something that has had to overcome decades of purposeful misrepresentation.

It was this point that I drove home as forcefully as I could during my all-too-brief time slot of 40 minutes. I told the audience, several hundred strong, that if they were just capitalists looking for the next thing to make a profit from, they were part of the problem. It’s this money-over-all-else ethic that destroyed the major record label industry, which has never recovered. It would be the ultimate defeat if the marijuana industry went the same way.

During the Q&A, someone literally took the words out of my mouth and suggested that vendors should be like microbreweries, where quality is the priority. I remarked that many of them were likely going to become quite wealthy but that wealth was worthless if it just made you mean.

With a strong focus on maintaining the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program and helping small farmers, the OMBC is a perfect fit for Henry Rollins’ message. The OMBC, as usual, will provide the latest news to attendees and help activists make their voices heard.

In addition to the latest information, the OMBC provides excellent networking opportunities, particularly at the VIP reception. “We are very excited that Henry Rollins will be keynoting the OMBC and joining industry professionals at our VIP reception on the 27th, along with other speakers and industry professionals,” stated Alex Rogers. “If you are in the Oregon cannabis industry, or are thinking of joining, the OMBC is the must-attend event.”

For more information and to purchase conference only “early bird” tickets for $149 or all-inclusive early bird passes for $249, visit or call (888) 920-6076. These prices end April 14th. The event is expected to sell out.


ICBC Heads to Vancouver, One of the Cannabis Capitals of the World


The International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) has sold out events in Oregon, where cannabis is now legal and in California, where legalization is expected to pass this November, by bringing in top advocates and entrepreneurs from around the world. The ICBC is heading across the border for the first time, travelling to Vancouver, British Columbia, where the federal Canadian government is moving towards implementing legalization across the nation.

Tickets are still available for the ICBC, a world-class event that the Vancouver Sun just profiled:

Speakers at this week’s event include Dr. Gabor Mate, a Vancouver-based physician renowned for his writing about the science of addiction, and Kirk Tousaw, a lawyer and cannabis reform advocate. Tommy Chong, another cannabis legend with ties to Vancouver, will also appear.

Friday’s keynote speaker will be Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings, a private company based in Seattle with employees in five countries (including about 130 Canada), and ambitions to be a leader in both the medicinal and recreational cannabis markets.

Privateer subsidiary Tilray, a federally licensed cannabis production facility on Vancouver Island, made history this year by becoming the first Canadian company to legally export medical marijuana overseas, said Kennedy, adding: “We’ve always viewed this industry as a global industry.”

Kennedy said he looks forward to the conference as an opportunity to keep pace with the rapidly changing landscape of the bud business.

Attendees of the ICBC will learn from, and network with, industry lawyers, experts and entrepreneurs from around the globe. As the Vancouver Sun, noted, there will be great speakers at the event and there aren’t many places where you can learn from renowned experts AND have the chance to hear from, and meet, cannabis icon Tommy Chong. If you can make it to the Vancouver area on October 13-14, and are in the cannabis industry, then the ICBC should be on your agenda.

Lift Cannabis Expo in Vancouver Sets the Stage for the ICBC


The Lift Cannabis Expo, taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre on September 16-17, will be a great trade expo with more than 130 exhibitors. Anticipation is definitely high for the expo as Canada is poised to legalize cannabis in the near future and entrepreneurs and advocates need to prepare. Those of us working on the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference less than a month later are pleased to help promote the Lift Cannabis Expo, as both events complement each other nicely. It certainly makes sense for both Lift and the ICBC to host world-class events in Vancouver, British Columbia, as the area is home to a number of Health Canada-licensed producers, medicinal cannabis clinics, testing laboratories, dispensaries, seed banks, and a long, rich history of cannabis culture and activism.

Canada is helping lead the world towards a sensible cannabis policy, but there will be many obstacles to overcome as business people and activists wrestle with federal implementation along with regulations imposed by provincial and municipal governments. Those obstacles can be opportunities for those that are well-informed, and the Lift Expo and ICBC will combine to have attendees prepared to tackle Canadian market, as well as gain insight that will help entrepreneurs in any cannabis system.

In addition to the ability to network with numerous vendors, Lift will be providing quality information as well. The Vice-Chair of Canada’s Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation, Dr. Mark Ware, will provide updates on the federal government’s progress and answer attendees questions. The Expo will also feature speakers from the US and Canada including: attorney Kirk Tousaw; Hilary Black, founder of Canada’s first medical cannabis dispensary; Dr. Brian Emerson, a medical consultant for British Columbia’s Ministry of Health,; and many more quality speakers.

The Expo will include a cannabis startup pitch competition with the Arcview Group, a career fair, on-site medical cannabis consultations, and more features that will appeal to the cannabis community.

“Fresh off the heels of our successful Toronto Lift Expo this past May, we chose to hold our second signature expo in Vancouver because of the heavily rooted cannabis culture in this community,” Lift CEO Tyler Sookochoff stated in a press release. “The entire world is watching with bated breath to see how cannabis legalization will take place in this country, and Vancouver is the epicentre for Canada’s vibrant cannabis community.”

We are definitely excited about the Lift Cannabis Expo and agree that Vancouver, British Columbia, is an exciting locale for cannabis events. Since knowledge and relationships are powerful in business, those in the cannabis industry, or thinking of joining, should attend bot the Lift Cannabis Expo and the International Cannabis Business Conference. The events are different in scope, but both will provide valuable information and networking opportunities. On behalf of everyone that helps organize the ICBC, we hope to see you at that Lift Cannabis Expo on September 17-18 and at the ICBC on October 13-14.

Don’t Miss Mary Jean Dunsdon, AKA Watermelon, at the ICBC This October

When we caught up with Mary Jean Dunsdon, aka Watermelon, life was getting back to normal for her after her annual BudBQ event that she hosts at her home every summer. You can see Watermelon, and many other talented cannabis entrepreneurs and activists at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, October 13-14. 

ICBC: Thanks for sitting down with us! The ICBC is only two months away and we’re excited to have you!

MJD: Thanks, I can’t wait! The cannabis community in Vancouver is just incredible and I love the networking that’s going to be happening. Being around all the people, old friends and new friends, sharing ideas and talking about cannabis. I’m such a social creature, I just love being in the friendly fire!

First off, I have to ask, how did you get the name Watermelon?

MJD: From selling watermelon on Wreck Beach! (west Vancouver’s storied nude beach.) I started selling watermelon to adults, and I gave all children free slices. For 22 years I did that – and people tend to call you what you sell. The story goes even deeper, because then I was going to be a stand-up comic. My friend was an 80-year-old Irish bootlegger and we went to Los Angeles to become movie stars. We had a comedy routine, and he wanted me to either be “Flossy” or “Bubbles”. I didn’t like either of those names and suggested it be the “Paddy and Watermelon Show” and I have been Watermelon ever since.


ICBC: And last year you retired from the Wreck Beach gig?

MJD: That’s right. One of the local news headlines said “Watermelon Hangs up Her Birthday Suit”. I felt I needed to close that chapter and move onto other things. But it was a pretty good chapter! Wreck Beach is such an amazing place. I call it the last frontier of inner-city freedom. In what other city, within minutes, can you be in the most serene, beautiful, natural place? You can be naked, swimming with seals, the eagles are floating overhead, and within 20 minutes you can be back in the hustle and bustle of the big city.

ICBC: You made headlines by getting arrested on Wreck Beach for selling edibles. How did that all go down?

MJD: Three times! I was arrested three times for illegal trafficking of gingersnap cookies! laughs I knew the cop – we called him Napoleon because he was this short French guy, and he’d come to Wreck Beach to conquer. I’d see him on the beach and we’d talk about our Volkswagen vans. Then one day I offered him a non-infused cookie and I think that incensed him and a couple days later he arrested me. I know that the cops there have a job to do but seriously, did they need to arrest the cookie girl? laughs

Anyway he arrested me on the far end of the beach and had to parade me across the entire beach to get me out of there. So there I am, walking by all these people and families who had known me for 8 years and they’re standing up – like 200 people – standing up and shouting at the cop, shaking their fists, bringing their kids up to kiss me on the cheek as he’s leading me away. It was like Charles Dickens, man!

ICBC: That’s incredible! Did you get convicted?

MJD: No! I was acquitted! Out of three arrests, I had three provincial trials and I was acquitted three times. In hockey we call that a hat trick! laughs They wanted to stick it to the cookie girl but I didn’t balk. I wanted the cop, the judge and the crown prosecutor to look me in the face and make me a criminal for selling gingersnap cookies. A plea bargain would have made me a criminal and I refused to take it. Come to find out, the law is perforated with flaws and it’s harder to convict that you would think.

Oh and then came the headlines. Really I couldn’t have hoped for better branding. “Cops Bust Cookie Girl for Pot on Nude Beach” is a story every outlet in Canada wants to cover. So now I’m nationally branded and selling more fuckin’ pot cookies than ever! laughs

ICBC: How did that experience change you?

MJD: Getting arrested might have been the best day of my life. Before being arrested I was kind of a naive young girl. But suddenly I see my community stand up for me. They had my back. People even sent money to my lawyer to help me out saying “Keep fighting the good fight, Watermelon.” So they all had my back and it gave me the courage to stand my ground. I decided my arrest wasn’t going to make me feel like a bad person in my community. I felt this fuckin’ tsunami of support from the people around me and that emboldened me to not be afraid and that’s served me well in my other ventures.

ICBC: And you have many ventures! You run a bakery, own a candy store, do stand-up comedy, host a cooking show.

MJD: I’ve been around awhile! That’s right, I have a store in Vancouver’s West End called Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour. We celebrate four years in October. I run a marijuana wholesale baking business where I sell my cookies and other infused goodies. Occasionally I emcee events (like the International Cannabis Business Conference coming up October 13-14), although I don’t do much stand-up comedy these days. And of course the cooking show.


ICBC: How did the cooking show get started?

MJD: I produced my first cannabis cooking show in 2002. Of course, I’m the cookie girl from the headlines and everybody wants to ask me how to cook with cannabis. So I shoot my first cooking show, called “High Times presents Baked and Baking”. It was the the only marijuana show in existence at that time that I was aware of.

ICBC: And that’s pre-internet. At least before Youtube.

MJD: That’s right. We brought back the show in 2008 with a series of Youtube videos. My goal was to spread the responsible use of edibles. A lot of people get scared off by edibles because they eat too much and have a bad experience. My motto is “less is more” and I talk about that on my shows and demonstrate how to measure doses and control the experience.

Now I’m in the middle of releasing a new series called “Baked” through Potent Media. They’re incredibly well done and beautiful and we take the art of cannabis cooking to a new level.

ICBC: Your early cooking shows featured your lovely mom,  Mary Elizabeth, as sous chef. In one clip she explained how she used to think, like many in her generation, that marijuana was dangerous, and the providence of gangsters. What made her come around?

MJD: This is a testament to how good propaganda is. For years people clinged to propaganda that’s based in false facts. “Marijuana is terrifying! It’s the enemy of the children!” Isn’t that insane? Of all things, cannabis! Not tobacco, not alcohol, unsafe sex, bad diet or a lack of sunshine. But that marijuana might be the end of your lovely child. But now it’s incredible seeing people of her generation come around, because their kids are involved with it, and it is becoming legal. It’s a testament to their love and appreciation for us that they can get past that stigma.

All along I’ve been really open with my mom about making pot cookies. In fact my gingersnap recipe is my mother’s!

ICBC: I hear your wholesale baking business is killing it these days. Now that Canada is considering full legalization of recreational marijuana, how are you eyeing the potentially expanded market?

MJD: I’ve been ready and waiting for years! I’ve had a marijuana bakery since 1992! That’s how long I’ve been around. So I’m not as worried about what’s going on with new legislation. I’m a tortoise – slow and steady. I’ve been around for 20 years and I’ll be around for another 20 years. Unless we go the way of the Philippines, I’ll still be here.

These days the industry is like the wild west. People are opening cannabis businesses, blowing through money. But I’m different. I’ve been here. I have a great staff and we’re not going anywhere. At one point Vancouver City Council outlawed edibles for awhile. They saw them as problematic and all the dispensaries stopped. So it’s a moving target. But I’m diversified and I’m doing what it takes to keep my girls employed. But people know me, they know my products, and that kind of keeps me immune from the rollercoaster. I’ll stay the course and diversify a million times. I’m not going anywhere.

ICBC: What do you think the Canadian cannabis industry will look like in 10 years?

MJD: Just like the wine industry. Look at the Vintner’s Association. They’ve got rules in place around quality and origin, and those kinds of things matter to the wine drinker. I think marijuana is going to be handled the same way. Just like you can get a $5 bottle of wine or a $500 bottle of wine, there will be Walmart weed and there will be the highest quality, boutique cannabis. That’s coming. People will love certain farms, certain vintages, just like I love a bottle of California Cabernet. The good stuff will rise to the top and I say, may the best grower win. And that’s not me, by the way! I have a succulent in the kitchen I can barely keep alive. laughs My work is in the kitchen.

ICBC: In two months you’ll be emceeing the International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver. How did you get connected with ICBC?

MJD: You know, I met (ICBC executive producer) Alex Rogers back in the day. In 2000 I was on the cover of High Times (for the first of many times!) and they flew me to Amsterdam to be part of the Cannabis Cup. That’s where I first met Alex. You know, that’s the thing about cannabis, is that it’s really a small core of people in the business and activist community. The most effective activists are the ones that have been around the longest and we all stick together.

ICBC: Mary Jean, thank you so much for taking time to talk with us – we’re so excited for the ICBC and can’t wait to see you there!

MJD: Thanks! Farewell, and I’ll see you in October!

Don’t miss Watermelon in her natural habitat in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, this October!

watermelon4 high times

California Poised to Lead Cannabis Commerce in 2016 and Beyond

Medical Marijuana dispensary

After years of a hodgepodge of local regulations, the California Legislature just passed statewide regulations that will set certain standards in place, while still providing some local control for cities and counties. While these regulations will cause some headaches and growing pains, they do set the state’s cannabis industry to cash in even bigger. Voters, especially the moderate “soccer mom” vote key to winning at the ballot box, tend to appreciate rules and regulations. With these regulations in place, success for a 2016 ballot measure is now more likely.

The upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) in San Francisco will provide California cannabis entrepreneurs with unique insight into the current commercial system as well as upcoming regulations that would be implemented if voters pass a legalization proposition in November. In addition to nuts and bolts business advice, the ICBC helps bring the industry and activists together to unite behind regulations that the cannabis community can be proud of. While ICBC will have an emphasis on California, the event will bring in activists and successful entrepreneurs from around the globe to share tips and experiences.

Rick Steves at the ICBC in SF in 2015
The ICBC in San Francisco brings in top professional and advocates who can help attendees succeed in the cannabis industry.

This blog was originally posted at and has been reposted here with special permission. 


OMBC a Sold-Out Success, ICBC Next Up on February 13-14 in San Francisco


The Oregon Marijuana Business Conference (OMBC) was an overwhelming success that far exceeded the expectations of conference organizers and feedback from vendors and attendees has been tremendous. More than 700 people crowded into the Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites to hear from lawyers, activists, politicians and industry experts about the latest developments in Oregon marijuana law.  We are already working hard to ensure that our next conference, the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) in San Francisco, will be our best event yet. (Marijuana Politics is proud to sponsor and help organize the OMBC as it not only presents great information about Oregon cannabis laws, but also keeps proper focus on the need to keep people out of prison for marijuana and to ensure safe access to patients.)

Longtime Oregon lawyers Robert Graham, Paul Loney and Leland Berger were on hand to provide the latest laws and regulations facing all aspects of the cannabis industry. Probably the best benefit to attendees, these experienced attorneys set aside plenty of time to field any and all questions from attendees. Graham, Loney and Berger have all spent more than two decades defending people prosecuted under unjust criminal laws and are now well-versed in commercial regulations as they have transitioned into cannabis compliance issues.

Representatives Peter Buckley and Ann Lininger provided a legislative update to discuss recent bills that impact the Oregon cannabis industry as well as previewing issues that the Oregon Legislature is likely to tackle in upcoming legislative sessions. Representing Ashland for more than a decade, Rep. Buckley has been a champion of the Oregon cannabis industry, instrumental in legalizing licensed and regulated medical marijuana dispensaries and adding post-traumatic stress as a qualifying medical condition. Representative Lininger, co-chair of the Oregon Legislature’s Legalization Committee, has proven to be a legislative leader on sensible cannabis laws, both for the industry and reducing the harm of unjust marijuana criminal penalties.

Reps. Ann Lininger and Peter Buckley pictured with OMBC organizer Alex Rogers.
Reps. Ann Lininger and Peter Buckley pictured with OMBC organizer Alex Rogers.


Industry participants across the spectrum, from growers to processors to retailers to labs, shared important tips of their respective trades and entrepreneurs were given ample opportunity to network with one another. The exclusive OMBC party featuring Rocker T and Del the Funky Homosapien at the Brickroom was easily the best party the OMBC has thrown, setting the bar pretty high for future industry parties. Rocker T, always providing positive vibes, warmed up the crowd and hip hop legend Del simply brought the house down. Del performed his hits and free styled unique takes that no one will ever hear again.

Del in black and white
Del the Funky Homosapien rocked the OMBC after party at the Brickroom.


The same crew that organizes the OMBC will be in San Francisco for the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) February 13 to 14th at they Hyatt Hotel. The ICBC already has secured cannabis icon Tommy Chong and blogging pioneer Andrew Sullivan as well as many experts from around the globe. Of course, the ICBC will showcase the latest information regarding California’s cannabis industry as the Golden State is poised to fully legalize cannabis commerce for all adults in 2016. The Ganja of Guru, Ed Rosenthal will be on hand, as will Debby Goldsberry, co-founder of Berkeley Patients’ Group and current executive director of Magnolia Wellness. Henry Wykowski, the preeminent cannabis tax attorney, will provide invaluable information to cannabis entrepreneurs and Arjan Roskan, owner of Greenhouse Seeds, will also be on hand to provide the latest information from the Netherlands. The first 500 folks who buy ICBC tickets will get exclusive access to a VIP after-party with Tommy Chong, Andrew Sullivan and Del Tha Funky Homosapien!

All eyes will be on California as cannabis commerce legalized in the eighth largest economy in the world will have ramifications across the globe. The ICBC will garner a ton of media attention with the lineup it has already secured and more big names will be added to the list. Just as the OMBC provided Oregon entrepreneurs the necessary information to succeed in the Oregon cannabis industry, the ICBC in San Francisco will do the same for California business people and beyond as the business tips and networking opportunities will benefit any and all in the cannabis industry.

The 2016 ICBC is not to be missed, get your tickets now at the reduced rate. You can also contact conference organizers about potential sponsorship packages. Visit for more info or call 888-920-6076.

This blog was originally posted over at and has been reposted here with special permission.