The CWCBExpo takes place June 2nd-4th. Image by CWCBExpo.
In the newly legal New York state, the cannabis industry is breaking through, hosting new businesses and events to generate excitement and support for cannabis overall.
The Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) is hosting an event at the Jacob Javits Center on June 2nd-4th. The three-day event will specialize in finance and investing, policy-making and health and wellness.
CWCBExpo is a premiere business-to-business cannabis trade show on the East Coast. With their slogan “Cannabis Means Business,” the goal is to help people understand the industry, connect and create big deals, according to the event’s website. It also aims to bring those in the industry together to learn, share, network and build. For example, the expo provides a forum for dispensary owners, growers, suppliers, investors, medical professionals, government regulators, legal counsel and entrepreneurs.
The expo will happen during New York Cannabis Week, which takes place from May 30th to June 5th. The week is dedicated to cannabis businesses and consumers, and offers deals and promotions on products while in a learning environment. It is a time for learning and communication while strengthening the industry, all anchored by the CWCBExpo.
Where Mainstream Meets Weedstream
In addition to networking, Gretchen Gailey, chief strategy officer of CWCBExpo, said that it’s a way to show that New York is cannabis friendly. The state approved adult-use cannabis legalization last year, with sales expected to start by the end of this year.
Overall, the expo promotes the emerging East Coast cannabis industry.
“Brands are born in California, but we say they’re made in New York,” Gailey said.
Gailey said that the vibe in New York is different from California; people are not just coming for the expo, but also for the culture, investors and more.
“It’s where mainstream meets weedstream, and we hope that weedstream will start to become more mainstream with more legalization and dialogue,” Gailey said.
In addition to the Empire State’s emerging adult-use market, she hopes that the expo will spotlight the industry’s stakes in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
What to Expect From the CWCBExpo
The three-day event offers a variety of speakers, seminars and workshops.
On June 2nd, speaker Nick Kovacevich will talk about his experience as CEO of Greenlane Holdings and the opportunities he sees in the market for growers, dispensary owners and consumers.
On June 3rd, Chris Beals, CEO of Weedmaps, will discuss how to make cannabis safe and inclusive for consumers.
Gailey said that typical expos have many speaker events going on at the same time. At the CWCBExpo, however, attendees will not have to make a difficult choice. “We want people to get every opportunity they can to enjoy the show fully, so we’ve really segmented it this year,” she said.
Their biggest struggle after the pandemic was narrowing down the number of speakers to a more intimate amount of experts. This year, they expect 20 instead of typical trade shows’ 100.
“Trying to craft and really decide what the relevant issues are and who’s best to speak on it has been a daunting task this year. We want to find the best experts for the space,” Gailey said.
CWBCExpo is also offering add-on workshops. For example, there is a workshop for entrepreneurs who want to expand their their business; another about owning a dispensary; and one that covers growing, extraction and quality control.
CWCBExpo is also hosting a mixer on June 2nd from 5-7 p.m. where the networking continues. Here, participants can unwind and celebrate the day.
There will also be an industry yacht party on June 3rd from 6-10 p.m., which leaves from the pier behind the Javits Center.
Equity and Policy at the CWBExpo
The mix of speakers, workshops and events gives the expo a bold, exciting edge for attendees.
For example, Gailey explained, the expo will cover topics like the importance of social equity as it relates to policy and financing.
“We go more out on the edge to talk about issues people are afraid to talk about. We try to discuss what’s most relevant and important to the industry. It isn’t always comfortable, but it must be done,” Gailey said.
“Looking at the best way to help work with communities disproportionately hurt by the War on Drugs, folks that this industry has been built on the backs of, needs to be looked at and made sure that they are taken care of in the proper fashion,” Gailey said. “So far, this industry is yet to do that.”
The event may be the perfect place for such discussions, as the New York cannabis industry is said to become the social equity gold standard for the cannabis industry.
Gailey, a D.C. local, is most looking forward to the expo day focused on policy, which is at the forefront of national conversations. She explained the unprecedented year for cannabis legislation moving through the federal government, and how she’s excited to see more.
Interestingly, The U.S. House of Representatives just passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which aims to federally decriminalize cannabis and expunge federal convictions. It now goes to the Senate for a vote.
Also, the House passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act last year, which prohibits penalties for providing services to cannabis-related businesses. This bill also has to pass through the Senate.
While both await further approval from lawmakers, Gailey feels hopeful for the future of cannabis legislation.
Getting Back on the Floor
The Expo is expecting a larger turnout this year for many reasons. Their last event in October had a good turn out, but the pandemic limited many from attending. As it gets warmer and if COVID-19 surges stay low, Gailey believes people will be excited to get back on the floor.
With the excitement surrounding New York’s legal adult-use market, the team is looking forward to a boost in turn out. “It’s a wonderful place to consume and [to] enjoy each other, and I think people are looking forward to getting out and really enjoying the city during cannabis week,” Gailey said.
The creators of the CWBExpo are looking forward to bringing the industry together. “It’s about people being able to make connections and come away from the weekend as having learned something,” Gailey said.
As such, Gailey welcomes anyone who’s interested in cannabis to the event. She also hopes that people will come from all over and see that there is a cannabis presence on the East Coast, especially in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Written by: Claire Leibowitz