The cannabis industry is getting bigger and better and is making waves in the global marketplace. According to Statista, U.S. retail sales of medical cannabis are projected to reach between $4.9 and $6.1 billion by next year. The U.S. consumer cannabis market is projected to reach $37.3 billion in combined recreational and medical sales. As in any industry, advertising and information exchange are key drivers.
This is where the CannaGather community comes in. The organization was founded by Princeton alumnus Josh Weinstein and comprises a diverse range of individuals. CannaGather started in New York City, where Weinstein himself grew up. He began to show a talent for critical thinking and leadership at a young age and was the 2004 U.S. high-school speed chess champion while he was attending Stuyvesant High School, and he was featured in NY1 as a scholar-athlete who was the captain of both the soccer and hockey teams. Weinstein also received the 1901 Medal for being the most active senior student at Princeton. It was there that he honed his organizational skills to perfection. Among his most notable collegiate achievements were Photocracy.org and AllOurIdeas.org, which gained Google.org’s attention and investment funding.
Weinstein reflected, “Another project I worked on became the basis for a trio of social sites, primarily GoodCrush.com, an anonymous matching-based dating site for a few years prior to Tinder. I raised $1 million in venture and was named one of the 15 Hot Young Stars in New York Tech by Business Insider. Although things were going well, I became passionate about live video and shifted focus to YouAreTV. YouAreTV was a live video platform that enabled the audience to not just watch but also video call-in and participate, as featured on Bloomberg. I have been a guest speaker at DLD, Princeton, NYU, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism as well as programs such as Founder Institute and TechStars.”
Weinstein originally wanted to start a social network focusing on high-school students in New York. He wanted to add the word “high” to the name and then realized that cannabis would be legalized. In 2013, he envisioned starting an equivalent of the New York Tech Meetup for the cannabis industry. By 2014, CannaGather officially launched. The year 2018 has been nothing short of amazing for the community, with growing crowds of like-minded individuals getting together for the cannabis cause. New York membership has reached more than 4,000 as of the time of writing. The New Jersey community is also steadily growing, with 2,500 members so far.
Weinstein is pleased and optimistic. “We’ve been thrilled that all of our events this year in New York have had over 200 attendees, and several of our New Jersey events have had 300 people! We hope that the passage of the Farm Bill and state-level legislative progress boost overall interest in our New York and New Jersey events. Likewise, we are expanding to Los Angeles, Connecticut and D.C. in January alone, so hopefully we’re able to spread CannaGather seamlessly and successfully to those locations and others we may pursue.” CannaGather is also expanding to Massachusetts and Philadelphia.
CannaGather organizes events with dinner and drinks, along with sponsor tables and networking. Every gathering is a mix of information drive, network building and exchanging of the latest ideas and visions for the future of the cannabis industry. CannaGather events have included public company CEOs like Nick Kovacevich of KushCo Holdings and Derek Peterson of Terra Tech, politicians like the mayor of Trenton and the District Attorney of New York, investors and operators like Mitch Baruchowitz of Merida Capital and Kyle Detwiler of Northern Swan and movement leaders like Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance and Aaron Smith of the National Cannabis Industry Association.
Anyone is welcome to attend CannaGather functions for any reason. There is a charge only $25, inclusive of food and drink. The CannaGather community looks forward to a greener year ahead with more events on the way. It is gatherings like these that help keep the cannabis industry alive and continuously innovating.