Cannabis in 2017

Industry appears headed in the right direction

As we enter the New Year, it’s an exciting time for the legal marijuana industry. Four more states have approved recreational cannabis, and now nearly 60% of U.S. residents live in states that allow medical marijuana. Despite foreboding cabinet selections from President-elect Donald Trump, it’s obvious that the industry is headed onward and upward. On that note, let me also state that the Marijuana Business Conference in Las Vegas was another great example of the breakneck speed in which the industry is progressing.

The show was a huge hit, packed to the gills and generally populated by professional types who are serious about the industry. Good job to George Jage and crew for pulling off a successful event.

I did hear some complaints about long registration lines and problems at check-in, but if you’ve ever been to a trade show — especially any of the big trade shows — you know that the Achilles’ heel of just about all of them is the check-in process. My advice, having been to some of the biggest trade shows in the country, including the early days of COMDEX, is to make sure you get there early or take care of registration in advance.

Next year, the Marijuana Business Conference moves to the Las Vegas Convention Center, which will probably make everything easier and more manageable for the staff.

Speaking of trade shows, the Marijuana Venture staff will again display at Cultivate‘17 in Columbus, Ohio. The event, held July 15-18, should be on every grower’s must-go list. It’s not a marijuana show. However, it is the biggest controlled-environment agriculture show in North America. Every major manufacturer of greenhouses, horticultural lighting, soil, nutrients, HVAC systems and anything else related to growing plants in a controlled environment will be there. The show had more than 650 booths last year. Cannabis cultivators are welcome to attend, and the lecturers are credentialed experts who are generally more experienced and knowledgeable than what you typically find at pot industry events.

Another interesting thing I heard at the Marijuana Business Conference was how some growers and retailers are forgoing the use of strain names, and instead, classify marijuana by the effects you’d expect from the different offerings.

In this issue, we have a feature story on Page 66 about Canndescent, a California grower that classifies its cannabis with names like Calm, Create and Charge. Other growers and retailers may follow the same route, naming different offerings based on the anticipated effects. For example, a sativa might be sold under the brand Energy, while indicas might be sold in a line called Chill.

I actually think this is a good idea. Strain names have become so corny and meaningless that they all seem just meld into one giant hairball. Don’t believe me? Last fall, I was talking to a friend who owns a large licensed grow. We were discussing his sales and what he produced. He had grown about 30 strains. When I inquired about which sold the best, he replied “Blue Dream.” I suggested that he probably wished he’s only grown Blue Dream. His reply: “Once I discovered that Blue Dream sold the best, I simply labeled everything Blue Dream and blew through it in no time.” Apparently, no one complained, and no buyers or consumers ever asked if they were really smoking Blue Dream. I’m not sure what this really means, but it seems to confirm this belief I’ve had for a few years that a lot of the information on websites like Leafly that describe strains and their effects is nothing more than silly marketing fluff made up by writers with vivid imaginations and too much time on their hands.


Greg James



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