Trade shows are pivotal to industries from all over the world. And now that cannabis is gradually becoming legalized in the US (whether recreational or medical), specialist trade shows are now popping up all over the country. The Chicago Marijuana Business Conference and Expo, hosted May 20, is the latest to join the current list of US cannabis trade shows. Missing these trade shows could prove detrimental to aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs and businesses.


First-ever Chicago Trade Show

Back in January, it was confirmed that Chicago’s first medical marijuana licenses had been granted. Right now, various businesses are setting up their operations before they will be allowed to start trading at the end of 2015. Many of the aspiring businesses are inexperienced in cannabis marketing, which is why trade shows can prove so important in sharing vital information and knowledge, not to mention making invaluable connections.


Alaska’s Northwest Cannabis Classic

north west cannabis classicAlaska is another state to launch a cannabis trade show, with the Northwest Cannabis Classic being hosted in Anchorage on May 13. The Anchorage show is intended to lay the groundwork for upcoming northwest events in Oregon and Washington later in 2015. Over three days, attendees were able to attend panels, watch demonstrations, and discover new products. More than 1,400 people are said to have attended the Saturday portion of the show.


Home Grown Maine

A more established show is Home Grown Maine, which recently held its fourth annual event. The focus here is on medical cannabis, and visitor numbers have now grown into the thousands. More than 70 vendors attended in May to discuss cultivation and political issues. All revenue generated by the show goes to the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, who exist to promote the medicinal benefits of cannabis.


anchorage tradeUS Cannabis Cup Shows

High Times magazine established the Cannabis Cup nearly 30 years ago, and was forced to host its now world-leading cannabis trade shows outside of the US for many of those. Now, though, Cannabis Cups are being scheduled for major venues in California, Colorado, Oregon, D.C., and Michigan.


35 NCIA Events in 2014

The National Cannabis Association (NCIA) is going even further than High Times, with the Denver-based organization having hosted 35 events in 2014 alone catering to patients, businesses, and investors. More than 850 companies are now members of this thriving organization built to lobby for 100% legalization of cannabis in the US. Outside of Colorado, events are also hosted in California and Illinois.


Why You Should Attend

Any entrepreneur or business that wants to make money from cannabis in the US cannot afford to ignore trade shows. With more than half of the country now legal for medical cannabis, and a handful of states now legal for recreational use, too, this is no longer a new industry. Many businesses are already doing extremely well.

By avoiding trade shows, you are also avoiding the chance to form new connections. You will likely miss out on meeting expert growers, innovative product designers, creative marketing specialists, and sharp legal minds. No matter how much you think you know about the cannabis industry, you can always know more. Not attending at least one event could prove damaging for you in the long-term.

Doing business in the US cannabis industry can be a minefield if you have no experience. Even if you live in Colorado or Washington, there will be clear laws governing your business. And to start a medical marijuana dispensary, there are even more challenges to consider. Attending your state’s local trade show will give you the opportunity to learn about the legal framework, helping you to prepare.