Photo credit: Real Cannabis Entrepreneur
From player to gamemaster, Gary George managed to turn his disappointment into the Real Cannabis Entrepreneur Conference (RCEC), helping hundreds of cannabis entrepreneurs break into the market.
George is a cannabis advocate and entrepreneur. In 2017, he and his wife, Marie, began exploring the idea of entering the cannabis industry. Traveling the country, the couple began attending several conferences and seminars, trying to find the specific “how to” information on breaking into the industry.
Finding themselves extremely disappointed with the information they were given, they decided to take matters into their own hands. Thus, the RCEC was born.
“I Created the Conference I was Looking for Myself”
In addition to the conference, George is also the founder and CEO of the digital marketing agency, Blazin Multimedia, and sock company, SockJunkee.
Through these ventures, he spent 20 years developing comprehensive marketing strategies, sales and marketing automation, and more. He has worked with a variety of different companies ranging from large Forbes 500’s businesses to small progressive startups.
In 2017 George and his wife decided to try their luck in the cannabis business. “We started to explore, and go to all the conferences, seminars and everything,” he added. “We started to realize that the information that we were getting was a lot of regurgitated information, a lot of the same stuff, a lot of people telling their life stories, blah, blah, blah.”
After years of attending cannabis conferences, George found himself extremely disappointed. No matter how many conferences and seminars he attended, none of them could answer George’s question; “how can I get break into the cannabis industry?”
Having 20 years of experience organizing and directing events, and speaking on stage, George decided enough was enough.
“I was looking for something that was gonna be comparable, where you have a lot of people giving the real down and dirty; this is how I did it; this is what you can do to get started. But we could never find it,” he said. “After a while, I got fed up and I just basically created the conference that I was looking for myself.”
This will be RCEC’s fifth event in the past two years. Previous events brought in over 3,800 attendees, from 18 different countries including South Africa, Brazil, and the UK.
Cultivating the Market
George is very passionate about the cannabis industry. He is also extremely passionate about small businesses. In creating the RCEC, George hopes to level the playing field in the cannabis market.
“Our mission at Real Cannabis Entrepreneur is to train and teach as many additional entrepreneurs on how to get into the legal business of cannabis [as possible]. Not just entrepreneurs but anybody who wants to come into the legal business of cannabis,” he explained.
“[We want to create] as many entrepreneurs as possible as a way of insulating the industry from big cannabis, big pharma, and big tobacco, all coming in to take over the whole thing,” George added. “We figured if we can put more of us independent entrepreneurs in place, who can already get a leg up, and get established, and capture a bulk of that market share before the big boys come in and try to Walmart the whole thing; [it] will be a much better predicament for us to have good quality cannabis and a healthy industry that is just not exploiting everybody like tobacco and everything else.”
The RCEC will take place on October 15th through the 16th, at the Renaissance Marriott in Hoboken, New Jersey. The start time for both days will be 10 a.m. Tickets range from $97 dollars for a one-day pass, to $267 dollars for the all-access two-day pass.
Friday’s events end at 6:30 p.m. with a reception cocktail mixer. The mixer kicks off right after the final presentation. Additionally, Saturday’s events end at 5 p.m. The conference will conclude with an off-site private party, beginning at 6 p.m. At the private party, VIP and platinum ticket holders will get to indulge in exotic cuisine, and live music.
Twenty-three speakers will be presenting at the conference, including George himself. Topics will range from cannabis cultivation, to digital marketing, business strategies and cannabis law.
Learning from the Best
Among the many experienced speakers is Seun Adedeji. Adedeji is the youngest African-American dispensary owner in the country. He founded his company, Elev8 Cannabis, at only 23.
Now, at age 27, Adedeji is multi-state licensed and owns several dispensaries across the country.
Another notable addition to the cast is Reginald Stanfeild, which George described Stanfeild as “a master cultivator.” Stanfeild is the CEO and head horticulturist at JustinCredible Cultivation in Massachusetts. According to the RCEC website, JustinCredible was the first small cannabis business to successfully complete the state’s general application process.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, attendees at the conferences can expect a couple of safety precautions.
For example, individuals are required to wear masks and social distance in certain high-traffic settings. These restrictions are in accordance with CDC guidelines and Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order 242.
Attendees are not required to present a vaccination card or negative PCR test. The state of New Jersey does not require them to participate in any large group gatherings.
There will be ample hand sanitizing stations, equipped with automatic thermometer’s to ensure real-time monitoring and safety throughout the event.
“Our host hotel, the Renaissance Marriott, really stepped it up,” says George. “They are using hospital grade disinfectants. On top of that, the venilations in these larger ballrooms — the Extradition Conference Alliance did a study on them, and they showed that the risk of COVID transmission was 0.001% at these larger gatherings because of the ventilation systems that they have in place.”
Although COVID-19 presents the RCEC team with a few obstacles, George is confident of the safety of all the conference’s guests.
Keep Expectations High
The RCEC promises an experience unlike any other. For instance, participants can expect a “total immersion” into the cannabis industry.
“Our thing is to teach [guests] the exact blueprint. [Our speakers are] individuals that have done it for 10, 20+ years. They’ve done it over and over again,” he adds. “I ask all of them, “[…] would you mind sharing some of your deepest secrets, how you got your business growing, and what you did?” They all agree to lay that information out.”
George credits the conference’s success to its unique ability to teach individuals the down and dirty of the cannabis market.
“[W]hat makes it different is that you are getting a lesson, not from a professor, this is not book talk; these are real people who are in the trenches, who are actually doing it on a daily basis,” said George. “Cannabis changes so much, on a daily basis. There is no book that would even stay relevant for more than a couple of weeks in this industry. It’s real time information that you need to succeed in the business and give you the exact blueprint on how to start your business in cannabis.”
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