I am very proud that the first International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) held at the Oregon Convention Center last September in Portland, Oregon, was named the “Marijuana Event of the Year” in The Weed Blog Awards of 2014. The Weed Blog (TWB), for those that haven’t made it over to that site, has been one of the top marijuana blog sites in the world. With a focus on marijuana culture while promoting good activists, TWB, very much represents the hear and soul of the cannabis community. (In full disclosure, I work as Content Director for the ICBC, helping organize the conference.)
While many try to discredit the cannabis industry as only caring about money and trying to usher in the era of “Big Marijuana”, the ICBC blends good politics and good business practices. While the ICBC certainly promotes and helps the cannabis industry, we are always cognizant of the fact that social justice and civil liberties are of the utmost importance and that the industry must always take into account the concerns of patients, consumers, voters and their communities at large.
Here’s what TWB had to say about the ICBC:
International Cannabis Business Conference – in it’s first year, right before Oregon legalized marijuana, the International Cannabis Business Conference was held in Portland, Oregon. People came from all over the world to hear world class speakers and reformers. There’s another one coming up in San Francisco, make sure to check it out if you haven’t already.
The ICBC in Portland brought in the outside-the-box speaker choice of Andrew Sullivan, the conservative-libertarian blogger that founded one of the top blog sites in the world, The Dish. Sullivan brought his wit and unique perspective regarding politics and business to the conference. The spirit of the cannabis community reminded him of the gay and lesbian communities that have also been struggling for freedom and equality. While he would consider himself a journalist first, over an entrepreneur, Sullivan had the guts to abandon the security of corporate sponsorship and leap into trusting his brand and that subscribers would be willing to part with their hard-earned money to pay for his blog. Many have, including myself, and his blog has more paid subscribers than any blog in the world.
For an encore, the San Francisco ICBC (#ICBCSF if you are inclined to spread the word on social media), is bringing in Dr. Carl Hart and travel guru Rick Steves. Dr. Hart is one of the most renowned addiction experts of today and he is bringing science to the forefront of political debate, helping end the ignorance around cannabis that permeates all levels of our culture and political discourse, unfortunately. Steves, like Andrew Sullivan, is a self-made business man who self-published his own travel books, putting in years of hard work that ultimately led to his own brand that has spawned numerous bestselling travel books as well as a TV and radio show. These mainstream voices are imperative for the cannabis law reform movement and industry as we still need to alleviate the concerns of mainstream voters.
The ICBC is not about making money without consequences. It is about responsible business practices that will ultimately help end cannabis prohibition while creating jobs and revenue. In the long run, sensible policies and practices will serve businesses better in the long run as we work to legitimize and professionalize the cannabis industry state by state until the cannabis community is equal and free. You can learn more about the ICBC in San Francisco at www.internationalcbc.com; hope to see you in San Francisco or one of our future conferences.