Last month I wrote a piece called Marijuana 2.0, discussing some of the inevitable changes that are occurring in the cannabis industry. In a nutshell, my take has always been that changes are inevitable in any new industry and, no matter what those changes are, there will be winners and losers. That’s just life, progress and capitalism.
Twenty-five years ago, Americans were up in arms about the destruction Walmart brought upon small-town retailers. Today the talk has changed to Amazon and how fast it has blown past Walmart. Like it or not, progress is a part of life and capitalism.
Our decision to produce the RAD (Retail and Dispensary) Expo (www.theradexpo.com) is also progress. Thirty years ago, the computer business provided a good case study: In the early 1990s, Comdex was the world’s largest trade show. At its peak, 300,000 people from the computer industry descended on Las Vegas to see the latest and greatest in the rapidly expanding pre-internet tech world. I attended the show several times. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Electronic Arts, Activision, Sony, Nintendo and HP were all at Comdex under one big roof. Then it all changed. The game guys split off and launched E3 (which is still the No. 1 gaming convention) in Los Angeles, the hardware guys went to CES, the mobile guys did their own thing and, later, the internet folks created their own show. Comdex died. It folded because all-in-one trade shows work for a while, but eventually people and companies become more specialized, and the all-in-one format loses its appeal.
Different sub-industries within bigger industries often want — and require — their own trade events, and cannabis is no different. Retail and cultivation are two very different businesses within the greater cannabis ecosystem. Retailers don’t care about greenhouses, Ed Rosenthal or nutrients, and cultivators don’t care about point-of-sale software, display fixtures or customer retention programs. Makes sense, right?
We first noticed that cannabis retailers in the Northwest (the biggest, most competitive and most advanced legal market) mostly stopped going to MJBizCon in Las Vegas several years ago. That’s why we launched the RAD Expo, the first national trade show aimed specifically at the retail side of the cannabis industry.
The show is October 23-24 in Portland, Oregon, because that city has more cannabis retailers per capita than any other city in the U.S. It’s also in Portland because Oregon retailers are allowed to sell a wide variety of non-marijuana products, which in many cases carry larger margins than marijuana products.
If you’re thinking about opening a retail store or dispensary, or already have one and want to increase your profits and efficiency, RAD Expo represents Marijuana 2.0 for the retail side of the business. The show is a no-nonsense trade event for serious cannabis retailers. And like most non-cannabis trade shows, it is free for qualified attendees who pre-register.
For more information or to register, visit www.theradexpo.com or call 425-656-3621.