Unlike other cannabis-focused events that target the business side of the industry, the CannaGrow Expo, now in its ninth edition, explores the art and science of cannabis production. Tailor-made for cannabis growers, grow managers, processors, dispensary owners and grow enthusiasts, the two-day conference will return on August 17 and 18 in Palm Springs, California. With an expected turnout of 1,600 attendees, the event, which is open to adults ages 18 and over, boasts multiple attractions that will include an expo hall of 125 exhibitors and 35-plus cultivation-focused educational sessions taught by top growers and business leaders. In addition to professional cannabis processing and cultivation, other topics that will be broached are California compliance, lab analysis, financing, technology, sustainability and operational security.
Recently, Jessi Rae, chief operating officer of CannaConnections, producers of CannaGrow as well as other cannabis events, DispensaryNext and Science of Cannabis Summit, took time to discuss the upcoming Expo and how it fills an important niche in the space.
Iris Dorbian: What led to the creation of the CannaGrow Expo?
Jessi Rae: We started CannaGrow with the idea to have a cannabis event that focuses on just strictly the production in our industry. We know there’s a lot of cannabis events but a lot of them deal with getting into the industry or they focus on the retail side. We wanted to start with the foundation of the industry. As cannabis goes mainstream, we want to make sure that the products that go out to consumers are quality and that growers have access to the new technology.
Dorbian: What’s the geographic composition of the attendees? Are they mostly from the Palm Springs area or California? Any out-of-staters?
Rae: We have 40 percent in-state, 50 percent from out-of-state and 10 percent international. We’ve got some people from New Zealand, Colombia and Australia—growers and extractors from all over the globe. Everyone wants to know what is going on in other countries. How are you going from the black market to retail locations across the country? It does draw people from all over the world. They want to see how other countries are doing it.
Dorbian: What do you think will be the highlights of this year’s Expo?
Rae: We are bringing back the ever-popular extraction summit and grower network roundtable. We set aside an hour and a half for everyone to discuss topics they’re passionate about. We poll our attendees and ask them what they’re interested in talking about. Once they pick the topics, we label tables and then people can go to tables and spark a conversation. You often don’t get a chance to talk in person with other growers to find out what they’re doing and what’s going right.
Dorbian: If I’m a grower or dispensary owner, why should I go to the Expo? What’s in it for me?
Rae: With cannabis just like with any industry, continued education is important. It’s impossible to know everything about any facet of any industry. Sharing what you know with other people is going to make this industry better. If we’re really in this to bring cannabis into the mainstream, you want to help the industry as a whole.
The event will take place at the Palm Springs Convention Center and adjacent Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel. For a full list of participating speakers and exhibitors, please visit: https://cannagrowexpo.com/sessionleaders. For information on available pass options and pricing, please visit https://cannagrowexpo.com.