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MJBizCon Cannabis Conference Update with Pam Moore

MJBizCon is going digital this year and there is so much great programming to be excited about.

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MJBizCon 2020 Transcript

Today we have Pam Moore, the vice president of MJ Biz Daily. Welcome to the show.

I’m so thrilled to be here. Thanks, Jim.

Very excited to talk to you, but for those of the very few people who do not know what MJ biz daily is or who you are, please give us a little bit of color and context to MJ biz daily. And then we’ll hop in to talking about all the great developments for the rest of this year for MJBizCon.

Yeah, sure. Happily. So MJ biz daily is the leading…website media brand in the cannabis space. We focus only on business to business matters. So our whole job is to give people the news and data. They need to help grow their business in Canada. If you can believe it. This is our 10th year…in 2021 will be our 10th year. So we’re coming right up on it. It’s amazing that…people who were here before I was got in so early and have been informing and building the community since, you know, for a decade now. So MJ biz daily…is our daily news website. We also publish a monthly, almost monthly magazine comes out 10 times a year…for C C suite executives in the cannabis industry. And then of course we do live events too. Um, so the premier live event that we do is MJBizCon, which is traditionally held every year in December…for the past few years in Las Vegas. And it’s a huge event with upwards of 30,000 people coming into Vegas to do everything cannabis business.

For sure, for sure. So, you know, MJBizCon it, it was like burning up the trade. So trade show circuit here. It had the fastest growing trade show, net square foot of exhibit space, paid attendance. The number of exhibiting companies, I would say it probably even brings the biggest amount of people. Tourists wise, even to Vegas. It’s, it’s a wild event. It’s a lot going on for those few days here, but now that COVID is pretty much a primary driver of how and where we choose to spend our time. Um, MJBizCon is going digital from what I hear. So tell us about, what’s going to be happening December 2nd to the 4th and all the way leading up to that. Let’s start about with maybe the types of tickets we can get to MJBizCon.

Yeah, sure. So the ticket experience is one way that we’ve been able to, you know, while we all wish we could be together in Vegas and go into the parties and everything, like there’s so many things that we’ve been able to lean in on uniquely in a digital environment. So one is the tickets and the way it’s structured. So for starters, there’s a free ticket option. Um, it’s limited access. It gives you just access to the keynotes and to the showrooms. So that’s where you’ll find all the vendors, selling everything from extraction machines, to vape pens, to anything you might want to get for your business. Um, so we have a limited access ticket. Part of the reason behind that is because the community has not been able to come together this year really much at all. We want to make sure that everybody can be included no matter what your budget looks like.

So I know for Vegas, it’s so expensive to get people there and do the hotel and the food like the whole…sometimes a company will just send one person. So this year we want you to be able to invite your whole crew. So the whole group is invited. There’s a free ticket level. If you want to dive into the content and the networking and get that higher level of access, it’s a screaming deal. So the tickets are just $99. Um, and we have given Jim…his own discount code, you can take advantage of which is…PR5BizCon2020. We’ll give you 10% off that $99. It will be up there. Um, that price does go up by the way on November the 19th. So you’ll want to act soon to get those tickets and to see the full agenda. We have one easy website, which is, which is MJBizCon.com. So con short for conference MJ, biz con.com. So everything’s there

Super easy, super good. That’s great that you can bring the whole team there. I think that’s one of the, I don’t want to say that, Greg, so one of the things like, man, it’s expensive to get to Vegas, especially for the East coast people coming over, or yeah, you want to bring a, a brand new startup with seven or eight people there, guys and gals it’s tough, it’s expensive, but this is going to really be an amazing transformation, excited to see how many people you guys can bring through for this programming here. So let’s kind of talk about the programming. It starts today, from my understanding we’re recording on November 2nd. This will probably go out on the third or fourth on or during the elections or right after let’s talk about the programming that you guys have. There was like, I think six or seven or eight different things leading up to MJBizCon. So it’s not just the two day or four three-day window. Tell me a little bit about the programming you have here,

Right? All through the month of November. There’s great content and content and networking opportunities. So one thing I think we’ve all experienced with…virtual events and webinars in this strange year is like to hear them. It’s exhausting to sit in front of your computer for two, three days at some kind of virtual event. So we wanted to make sure that people could fully focus, fully, take the time to network with purpose. And so we created what we’re calling passholder days. So throughout the whole month of November, there’s topically oriented content. So we did start this week with us election week. So today we recorded…kind of a preview of what the election might bring for cannabis. So we covered everything from the five States with ballot initiatives, to the Senate, race, to what the federal level of legalization might look like in 2021.

And by the way, if some in your audience missed it, everything is being recorded and is available to pass holders for up to six months. So that’s what we did today. We’re going to follow that up on Thursday, just after the election with…what happened in the election and what does that actually mean for the…for the community? So we start with election week, then we’re going…into more, more niche topics. We’re going to do a California market report, a session on Canada. We’re going to bring back our investor intelligence conference later in November. So that’s for both people seeking money who want to understand what the market looks like, people who are OG investors in this space, everybody talking money, we have a Latin American market session, a European market session, a science symposium, and then finally our hemp industry daily forum. So all through November, there’ll be topics and content that you can dive into in each of those sessions. It’s…anywhere from an hour to…a couple to three hours long. And there’s both content and presentations from experts as well as opportunities to network. So the networking opportunities that we’re doing throughout the event, I think are some of what makes a digital opportunity, especially.

Great. Yeah. It’s really good to do the networking. When you go to an in-person thing, it’s like you’re having drinks and it’s kind of a little awkward. Here’s my card, you know, they’re probably gonna lose the card, but now when you’re doing the digital networking, it’s easy to connect on LinkedIn right away, or any other kind of, you know, networking site. And then get these conversations started right away instead of next Monday or maybe seven Mondays from after that. So that’s really a unique proposition there for people to get tickets. It’s just the ability to have those collisions of people in the industry where you were as can’t really go do that right now in most States,

Right. And the digital…format that we have provides for several ways to network with people. And I keep laughing that you say, you know, like you collide with people. So if you’re at a live event…it’s somewhat circumstantial. Like, did you happen to bump into the right person? Whereas in this format, we can make that a little bit more of a curated experience. I keep saying it’s a little bit more like matchmaking.com, you know, and a little less like just showing up at a big bar. So it’s a little curated. So if, for example, you show up next week for the California market forum, you already know for starters that it’s people who are interested in the California market. So if that’s your jam, like you already know you have something to talk about when you log in to hearsay our senior reporter, John Shroyer, we’re talking about the state of the market.

You’ll be able to see at the bottom of the screen, everybody else who’s attending that session. So now you already have an opener. You already know that they’re also interested in this market and how something to talk to them about every attendee who’s logged in, puts in a little bio and their job title and like that. So you also know, is this somebody who’s actually going to help out my business or not? And you can decide whether to connect with them on purpose. Um, there’s also a little bit of an artificial intelligence…tool…working on the platform that we’re using. So it will purposely present to you. And it seems like Netflix does, and you’re probably going to like this person. So why don’t you connect with them? We’re also finally doing sort of discussion forums where based on topic, like say New Jersey. So the New Jersey ballot initiatives was a big deal, growing hot markets. If you want to talk about New Jersey and the Northeast, you can just go to that discussion forum and ask questions and hit up people who are also interested in that topic. It makes it, it makes your networking purposeful.

That makes sense. Yeah. There’s actually something to talk about sort of that like, Hey, so you’re in the cannabis industry and you know, there’s a lot of that early talk or like, you know, small talk that, yeah. It, it can become kind of painful and yeah, this is good. I like the artificial intelligence stuff. It’s good that you have…these small little compact like sessions that, yeah, their topic starters is probably going to be a lot of things covered in these sessions is going to be jam packed. This is not like just, you know, let’s throw something into the wall. This seems like very curated content. There’s only eight. Um, and I say only April, that’s a lot of stuff to produce there, but eight pieces and eight main topics, you know, again…from the top here, we’ve got the election stuff, California, Canada, investor intelligence, Latin America, European market science symposium, and then the hemp industry. So lots of great topics to the chat over here now, who are we going to be expecting to see in these…discussions here? What kind of keynote speakers or presenters are we looking forward to chat with during these sessions or to learn from?

Yeah, so we try to pull the best and the brightest from the industry and people who can really cut to the meat of the thing, if you will, and give you hardcore advice. Um, all those topics you mentioned are just in November. So when we get to the heart of MJBizCon…December 2nd to 4th…that’s where our big keynotes kick in. So the, the leading keynote is this year is John Mackey. He’s the, co-founder the founder, the founder, the co-founder, and I’m the CEO of whole foods. So it’s a little weird, like why whole foods at a cannabis show. Um, he’s going to be talking about conscious capitalism, which is also happens to be the title of a book he has out, but here’s the concept. Um, in cannabis, we have a unique opportunity to be building businesses that have meaning outside of just pure revenue, just pure shareholder profit.

And I think a lot of people in the community have an interest in that, all our interest in social equity and everything else as part of that. So he’s going to talk about how do you build a business from the get-go from the jump…that is interested in bringing value to the employees as good for the environment. And it’s doing more than just looking for the, you know, looking for the capital, looking for the money. Um, so that’ll be great. And of course his experience, I’ll also do a follow-up sort of forum, chit chat after that. And of course has experienced in building brand, working in the CPG space, the consumer packaged goods space, all of that will be super valuable as well. Yeah,

We talked great. Talk about the M&A as well with Amazon and, you know, there’s these ability to operate at the top highest level that we could all, you know, dream to be at, and you’re getting a purview into, you know, what’s their mindset, you know, maybe they, and you brought up a point why someone from CPG or from grocery coming over to cannabis, you know, there’s just so many frameworks to figure out how to build these businesses. It’s just a different agricultural product. It’s just a different package, but essentially the same mission drive revenue. But what more can we do other than just make money every day, right? If you’re doing this just for the money, you’re not going to be happy because sometimes it’s really easy to make money in cannabis. It’s very hard to keep because of all these other reasons of taxes, heart for banking. But when you have a mission, you wake up every day or you will stay up late til three in the morning. Those are the people that are really gonna push this industry forward again with that conscious capitalism. So I’m very excited to hear, hear him talk about that. And the other speakers we should look forward to in the MJBizCon December 2nd to the 4th,

You know, just one other comment I’ll make on like running a sustainable business is which we see in cannabis all the time is sustainability. It doesn’t just mean sustainable for the earth, but it also means the company is going to be around a long time. So with all the interest in green wave and people not paying attention to the bottom line, but just, you know, how, how does my revenue not how hot is my actual profit…or how realistic is my business plan, resourcing our share of that. So that’s another piece of running and sustainable business. Some of the other, the other topics that we’re going to focus on in December really have a lot to do with that current environment for the industry. Um, so there’s a full focus on ways to make your business more profitable. So we’re having some experts, for example, in…automation.

So I’ve been surprised as a relative newcomer to the industry, how little of our processes are automated, especially in the manufacturing and processing space. There’s a lot of like people holding boxes and filling jars manually it’s expensive. Um, whereas other industries have automated that it’s capital intensive. So how do you, how do you do that? The smart and right way. There’s a whole nother session on data. Um, you know, we’ve seen whole foods. It’s actually an example where there, the amount of data they own about their customers is almost as valuable as the real estate, for example, or their relationships with consumer packaged goods companies. We’ll talk a lot about recession, the recession and dealing with uncertainty. We’ll also be covering for those folks in retail, some of the rules and regulations and opportunities around things like curbside pickup and delivery services, which are booming now.

Good, good, well, that’s gives me a lot of stuff covered. I’m sure that’s not all of it, but there’s going to be a lot of good stuff covered. Um, you know, what does one of the things you’re most particularly excited? You said you’re a newcomer to the industry and a lot of these things are wowing you, what are some of the things that you’re specifically going to be watching closely for MJBizCon

Um, you know, really I’m looking forward to making some of those connections. I need to build my network. And I see this as a great opportunity for me to talk to just the people I want to talk to. So content aside, I’m going to be, I’m going to be working it the whole time on there. And it sounds funny, but like everybody else I’ve been so homebound. So…one of the things I’m looking forward to in terms of the community is we’re doing some fun things too. So every morning there’s going to be morning yoga. So I think we can be breathing as one across the universe. Um, and then…there’s going to be a live DJ and mixologist as part of the closing ceremony. So like, honestly, I’m looking forward to having an excuse to dance around my house and drag my teenager mat.

Yeah, I totally get that. Yeah. It’s been hard being stuck in the house where I’m going into, I mean, in Detroit right now, and we’re going into winter, it snowed this weekend. I, and I would love a trip out to Vegas, but I think digital MJBizCon will do. And it’s going to be a lot of fun for that. I’m very excited for it. Good deal. So let’s talk a little bit about…is there anything else for MJBizCon you want to cover?

Um, you know, I think the only thing I would more seriously mention about the content that we’re seeing the timing is so opportune because…you know, I mentioned that this week we’re doing us selection week by the time of December 2nd to 4th, we should have a much better read on what some of the implications and the full results of the elections are. Hopefully we know who the president is going to be. We know who all the Senate seats are going to be. Um, who’s going to hold them. Um, so it’s going to be an opportune time to really be reconfiguring business for what we project a new reality to look like. Um, and that can happen in every discussion group and as part of every presentation. So we’re really jazzed about that.

That’s right. That’s a good point. Yeah. I mean, the world is going to change significantly, you know, tomorrow, whether, either direction and I think a lot of this stuff changing for the legalization of cannabis. Yeah. This is just, we’re hitting an inflection point where there’s critical mass, where yeah, like you said, at the beginning of the presentation, we could thoughtfully expect some type of legalization of cannabis in 2021 or in the first two years of the next presidency, whoever that may be, you know, all States are, are hurting for money. All cities are hurting for sales tax revenue. They would love to start finding other ways to do this. You see other States are starting to loosen up the restrictions, certain counties, this is a beautiful kind of a convergence of all these things happening. So yeah, it’s right. This is the right time to be talking about this, right. At the end of the year, get those plans ready for your OKR is for 2021. And then let’s go crush it.

Yeah, no, I mean, nobody wants to get too speculative, but it was a game changer during the vice presidential…televised debate to have Kamala Harris say, we need to leave a lot as marijuana and we need to expunge the record of people who are in jail like that the stock price is off shot up, but it, it gives you a real sense of how there’s a cultural shift where, you know, you can say stuff like that is when you’re running as vice president.

Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean, this is more of a generational issue. I think, as, as things go forward, you’re going to see just more loosening of this. I know other plant medicines are becoming more mainstream. You know, Oregon’s got a lot of good things on the ballot for one Oh nine coming up with the psilocybin mushrooms. So, Hey, there’s a, there’s this mega wave of, of a new set of industries coming. And whoever’s watching this, you’re at the very, very beginning of cannabis and the very, very infancy of every other one of these plant medicine industries. So it’s great that we’re all here right now. So let’s talk a little bit about elections. You know, what is the one state you’ve got five coming up? I think it’s what New Jersey Vermont…New Jersey area, Arizona, South Dakota, Montana, Mississippi…for those are going to be for potentially recreational. Mississippi will be for medicinal. You know, which one you think has the biggest impact on the industry and which one are you particularly most excited about?

You know, I would, I’m keeping my eye on two, on New Jersey and Arizona. So based on our estimates, those, both those markets, it’s going to be $400 million markets. And their first year it’s big business, New Jersey is, will be slower to come on board because a lot of the details of the regs aren’t written yet, but because of how close it is to the other States in the Northeast, I’m a Philly girl originally. And I can tell you, it’s a short hop across that Walt Whitman bridge and a Jersey. Um, so they, so once New Jersey goes legal and the signs for, for adult use and the like so far results are good, but if assuming that falls, the other States in the area, New York, New Jersey, everybody else…not in New York, Pennsylvania…firstly are going to the, like the medical market, for example, in Pennsylvania, which has been doing really well.

Um, we’ve seen in other places where recreational becomes available that…pulls some of that revenue. Um, so there’ll be added incentive for Pennsylvania, New York and all those other States up and down the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast to take a more serious look at recreational. So it has that larger impact as well, Arizona, again, that $400 million market they’re going to start, assuming it passes with the businesses that already have licenses there to do medical. So it, it has a jump in that sense. Um, it does mean that there’s, it’s harder to enter if you’re not already there. Um, but that’s a big market too, and that’s, so I’m keeping my eye on that. Um, South Dakota is interesting just cause it’s the first state ever to try to legalize both med and adult use on the same ballot. And Mississippi is interesting mostly cause like what a red state. Um, so if Mississippi is going to take a go, I think we can positively say there’s been a big shift

For sure. I mean, you look at what happens in Oklahoma. I just spent 10 days on an Oklahoma at the beginning of October. And I mean, as much as there is conservatism down there, look, it’s a free market’s 2,500 bucks and you can open up your cannabis business. You know, you can start a dispensary with that sheet. Uh, but there is the Oklahoma way and you have to abide by certain things that are general principles in Oklahoma, but they’re very much open a lot of the groups out there saying this is just another agricultural product to us. You know, it doesn’t, you know, whatever it is, it doesn’t really necessarily matter if it’s this one or that one. We’re just treating it to make a business out of it. So yeah, you see Mississippi fall not fall grow. Uh, let’s say if it, I don’t want to say fall, but we could see knocking down these dominoes is kind of how I’m seeing it, but at any rate Mississippi…turns yeah.

Especially in New Jersey, I feel like, yeah. I think Cuomo said LA uh, in a zoom meeting last week that, Hey, they’re going to go by April 20, 21. They’re gonna try to legislatively push this cause look, yeah. Like I said, it’s not far from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, same thing from New York and people are, you know, almost dual citizens in both of those States. So yeah, there’s going to be pressure. You’ll see, probably I think even a Northeast pact where they all kind of work together. They’re so small and statewide. There’s probably going to be some kind of sharing between them. Hopefully we get interstate cannabis, commerce, you know, push into some kind of omnibus legislation. There’s lots of great things coming through that. So good deal on that. Um, anything, you know, that particularly…how would I say when you got into the cannabis industry, right? You said you’re relatively new to the industry. What’s kind of one thing that you wish you would have known about the industry before you jumped into the industry.

Well, I can tell you what it’s most struck me about the industry. And I, part of my joke is so I have a, I have a background…working really a medical journals where there was a lot of big pharma. Um, also worked in advanced manufacturing, like these big international powerhouse businesses. And I’ve never been in a sector of the economy where I feel like I can be more like bring my whole self to the table. So I’m loving that about the industry. Um, and I keep joking, I’m still in health care, but…I feel a little bit better about working with cannabis than working with say opioids. So I’m okay.

Authenticity goes a real far distance in this industry. People can smell out. Do you know when you’re being, you know…you know, just not a good person and the, your reputation and cannabis can go and vaporize just as quick as…as anything, you know, and it takes a long time to build that up. So that’s good that you feel comfortable being your more of yourself and able to put your whole self into this business instead of having to reserve some stuff for at home and some stuff for the business world, you can kind of allow those things to mesh because this is a very human industry. We are working to push the plant forward, but it’s people that we’re helping in the environment that we’re helping. So that’s, that’s a great way to put that there,

You can see it too. Now that we’re all working from home, we did a, a story. Uh, we ran some in a marijuana business magazine and some on our social media channels of people, you know, working from home with their kids. So these have farmers with the kids, like, you know, doing the farming people with their daughter, like sleeping under their desks. Um, so it’s all, it’s really important now to recognize that people do have full lives and not just business lives. And I like how that’s all connected. And I like that. We’re reflecting that at MJBizCon with things like morning yoga and having a dance party and being for real

A hundred percent, a hundred percent it’s, it’s good stuff, making it a holistic type of experience there. So is there any last things that you would like to cover in the, on our episode today?

No. I think we’ve covered all the hot stuff. I can’t wait to see what happens with the election and I can’t wait to see everybody at biz con

Likewise, we’re very excited for MJBizCon. So again, the coupon code is PR5BizCon2020. It’ll be right up here and then go to MJBizCon.com. Again, enter that code in 10% off. You have the starter package, which is free. Everybody from your team can come, but if you want access to all the amazing other programming, then please consider purchasing that $99 ticket. It goes up on November 15th or 14th. All right. So make sure you get it by the 19th for yourself and for your team members to get the most out of MJBizCon digital. It’s going to be great. It’s gonna be amazing. Very excited again, Pam, thank you very much for your time.

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