When Canada legalized recreational marijuana this year there were celebrations country-wide. Peter Tosh played on in the back outdoor lounges of coffee shops at "Wake and Bake" festivals. People dressed up in waterpipe costumes and danced in parks blowing bubbles. Needless to say, it was a combination of Woodstock, Lollapalooza, Halloween, and even a little flavor of 20s era prohibition speak-easy. Nevertheless, after the celebrations, after stores sold out of product, after the song "Legalize It" ended, things started to settle down. It was now time for the marijuana industry to reach adulthood. It is time to get back to business.
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Enter the New England Cannabis Convention (NECANN), home of the New England Cannabis Industry since 2014. No smoking (or vaping, for that matter) at this major convention which serves as a gathering of business and medical professionals. The 2019 convention in Boston is being touted the "can't miss event of the year". Over three days, the event will have over 350 exhibitors, four programming tracks with over 100 speakers, and over 10,000 attendees. This may indeed be the biggest NECANN event since Massachuesettes just recently joined over the majority of states in the Union to legalize or decriminalize some form of marijuana use.
The marijuana industry has been trying to shake the "Cheech and Chong" reputation and become recognized as a legitimate business. At NECANN conferences, industry representatives tour the latest technology for manufacturing, packaging, transporting and marketing their products, all major concerns for any other legal business. And it doesn't stop with NECANN. Several other industry-sponsored conferences have been popping up around the country, all non-smoking events. Cannabis Business Times, a business newsletter for industry professionals, contains a list on their website of several industry-friendly conferences and socials around the country, even in states where recreational use is still illegal.
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However, not all is work and no play. Colorado is hosting festivals almost every other week, so much that it has folks wondering how much is too much. Yet, while the music industry has had over twenty years to get the logistics right for the music festival "Lollapalooza" (where the portmanteau Cannapalooza comes from), many of these cannabis festivals are still learning the how-tos of managing an event. A prime example: the first-ever Colorado Cannabis Convention. The festival - promising a wide variety of waterpipes, glassware, paraphernalia, apparel for purchase, as well as musical acts - suffered from many large sponsors pulling out at the last minute. The show was able to go on, however, no smoking allowed in the convention center.