Cannabis entrepreneurs are opting to not attend conferences, but rather to hang out and meet contacts right outside
Cannabis conferences have long been a great way for business owners to connect with other people in the industry, hear interesting discussions and share ideas. But as the cost and amount of these events continue to rise, some people are getting their networking done without ever going through the event’s front door.
Industry professionals said that cannabis entrepreneurs are opting to not attend conferences, but rather to hang out and meet contacts right outside.
Mark Spear, CEO of the Wildfire Collective, a collective of cannabis farmers, said when he would attend a conference, he noticed that people would often end up leaving the conference floor to go outside several times a day — cannabis isn’t allowed to be used indoors — and would often meet other professionals in the business right there.
“You always meet pretty much the same people outside these conferences, these are the dedicated cannabis people that love it, are in the industry, and use it,” Spear said. “A lot of other industry participants don’t, they’re just there for a quick buck.”
Spear said it’s a pretty unique situation in the cannabis industry, since most other conferences wouldn’t have such an excuse to be outside so much. But for the people who aren’t interested in the price of admission, he said the benefit of meeting people inside the conference isn’t much greater.
“If you don’t have that kind of money, you can get almost the same result just by hanging out near it,” Spear said. “You can have 80 per cent of the conversations you’d be having on the floor outside for virtually nothing.”
Megan Henderson, HelloMD’s director of marketing and business development for Canada, said that cannabis conferences can range in price from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand, which can exclude a lot of people from attending.
“People who perhaps don’t have a high income weren’t able to attend these things and facilitate the same level of networking that other folks might be able to from a corporate standpoint,” Henderson said.
While she says that attending conferences can still be useful, there are so many happening at any given time that the schedule becomes too saturated to be able to attend them all, so people would rather just stay outside and arrange meetings.
The high price tag of cannabis conferences could also send the message that the industry is only for rich heavy hitters, but Spear hopes that emerging startups could adopt this strategy to network and get their message across.
“I come across some of the most passionate people out there about cannabis,” Spear said. They’re not backed by multi-million-dollar corporations, they’re just individuals. It’s really those individuals who are going to make legalization in Canada highly successful.”
Want to keep up to date on what’s happening in the world of cannabis? Subscribe to the Cannabis Post newsletter for weekly insights into the industry, what insiders will be talking about and content from across the Postmedia Network.
Written by Jacob Dubé