As the stigma surrounding marijuana continues to shed, more national fashion and beauty retailers are welcoming cannabis brands into their stores. It was the addition of luxury cannabis company Lord Jones to the Sephora skincare portfolio in 2018 — the first-ever CBD brand for the chain to accept — that market trend expert Jed Wexler identified as the signal of a business opportunity bigger than the dot-com boom.
Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference founder Jed Wexler at the debut LMCC in 2018.
A few months prior to the milestone, the CEO and head of strategy for 818 Agency, a B2B event content marketing firm based in Manhattan, was inspired to create a dedicated collective to directly connect traditional buyers to a new genre of luxury-leaning and design-forward cannabis companies.
He hosted the debut Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference (LMCC) last summer as an evening program of panels featuring product pioneers like Cindy Capobianco (Lord Jones) and Andrew Goetz (Malin + Goetz) along with cannabis media luminaries like Megan Villa (Svn Space) and Anja Charbonneau (Broccoli).
It was in emerging cannabis-centric media outlets where Wexler first discovered a new aspirational aesthetic coinciding with increased coverage in institutions like Vanity Fair and Vogue. Matched with the plant’s perception as a wellness wunderkind, the potential for the CBD and hemp market alone is expected to reach $22 billion by 2022 according to the Brightfield Group.
“Most trends track year to year, but in cannabis, it’s is week to week. I think it’s actually going to be even bigger than the tech bubble, which is just wild,” Wexler told me via phone. “Luxury cannabis has quickly become its own lifestyle category at retail and it’s starting to be merchandised that way. The real question is, ‘What happens when [cannabis is] fully legal, there’s no stigma, and it’s just a commodity?’”
After an at-capacity inaugural event, the second annual LMCC returns today as a full-day confab at NeueHouse in New York City. LMCC remains an invite-only B2B event that Wexler described as, “A curated, cross-over platform for retailers and investors to meet the leading luxury brands in the CBD, hemp, and cannabis space.”
With a companies like Barney’s New York, Ulta, Nieman Marcus, and Urban Outfitters following Sephora’s lead (it now carries more than a dozen CBD beauty brands), he also sees a uniquely enthusiastic consumer demand.
Wexler added, “Luxury used to just be a handful of names and mean a high price point, but now it’s about being accessible and embracing diversity. Luxury today means traceability, product quality, and good design.”
Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference
Intended to be an intimate experience, 300 attendees are convening for another series of thought leadership panels, but this year’s event will also include a juried competition for new product launches, one-to-one matchmaking sessions, and a keynote speaker.
“We are using the concept of luxury and what that means today to push this idea that cannabis is no longer exotic and no longer nor should it have ever been criminal. My privilege has always allowed me to navigate and partake in this space without any repercussions, so it’s really important to fold that into this,” said Wexler. “What’s unique to this industry is that we have an opportunity to embed social impact into the DNA of what’s happening in all the ancillary businesses coming together before it gets away from us. It’s a requirement.”
As such, LMCC tapped 4thMVMT CEO, Karim Webb, to address social equity in the cannabis industry — his company provides solutions and development programs to grow professional potential in underserved communities.
Beyond corporate social responsibility strategies, LMCC is also tackling topics ranging from “The Hemp Opportunity: Feed You, Clothe You, House You, Heal You” to “CBD Beauty and Skincare: The Hottest Segment in the Market” to “Is Now The Right Time to Invest in Cannabis, CBD and Hemp?” Wexler plans to roll-out regionalized LMCC events in other cities year round beginning in 2020.
While the sophomore Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference is underway, meet the most prestigious brands in pot that made the cut — those that are most likely to end up at your nearest Nordstrom just in time for the holidays.
Hand-crafted and infused with CBD rich hemp oil, Black Dahlia is known for its pleasant-tasting oral sprays and also hand-crafts a line of skin creams, lotions, and gelées.
Bloom Farms CBD Hybrid Cannabis Vapor Pen in Rose Gold.
Courtesy Bloom Farms
A one-for-one company that produces responsibly made THC concentrates and CBD tinctures from sustainably farmed cannabis in California – both beautifully designed around the mantra of relaxation, relief, creativity, and fun.
A global, bi-monthly print and digital magazine dedicated to cannabis culture and news that’s also the first-ever marijuana publication accepted into the Apple iTunes store.
Beginning with a high quality hemp base from Horn Creek Farms in Oregon, Canapa tinctures are meticulously made in-house using a proprietary extraction process.
Canndescent’s gift set featuring its five signature strains of flower.
Since its start in 2015, Canndesent has grown into California’s number one-selling brand of flower in the luxury category, which is sustainably cultivated in five, single-origin signature formulas: Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect and Charge.
Fog & Tree
Named to capture the essence of Northern California, this niche fragrance comes in an Eau de Parfum and Beard Conditioner blended with terpenes from cannabis grown in Humbolt County.
The Good Patch
Courtesy The Good Patch
The Good Patch
These state-of-the-art topical patches were designed to help with life’s common ailments (think sleep, hangovers, menstrual cramps, and more) made with the organically farmed hemp and complimentary all-natural ingredients.
This collection of CBD-infused and pleasure-enhancing products was made for women, by women and includes a face serum, intimacy oil, and vape pen kits.
Located in Northern Humboldt, this family owned and operated business benefits from over 20 years of experience in the cannabis industry to create hand crafted, small-batch skin and body products from whole plant hemp.
The Lab to Beauty skincare lineup.
Courtesy Lab to Beauty
Lab to Beauty
A self-described “clean skin care movement,” hemp-derived CBD is used in the entire Lab to Beauty lineup of all-natural and vegan products for face, body, bath, and wellness.
Malin + Goetz
As one of the first in beauty to celebrate clean, simple skincare, Malin + Goetz was also first to incorporate cannabis into its list of ingredients — long before legalization made it cool.
Founded in Colorado in 2013, Mary’s is an industry leader for accurately-dosed, natural pain-relieving products including transdermal patches, topicals, capsules, and tinctures.
Broad-spectrum hemp extract is just one of the many ingredients found in this just-launched, boutique beauty company’s glossary of minerals, plants, and elements that go into its modern wellness products.
Saint Jane Beauty
Launched and personally formulated by a former Sephora executive, Saint Jane’s Luxury Beauty Serum, Luxury Body Serum, and Microdose Lip Gloss have already earned awards from Allure to O, The Oprah Magazine.
Born from its founder’s personal struggle with Lyme Disease, an extensive collection of pure products were developed for effective pain relief and healing using CBD, CBG and CBN while staying non-psychoactive.
This Brooklyn-based organic beauty brand recently added a CBD skincare collection to its lineup and gets bonus points for minimal-plastic, 100% recyclable packaging designed by graphic artists turned co-founders.
This trio of broad-spectrum hemp tinctures is enhanced with bioregional plant extracts and available in four effects: Calm, Focus, Balance, and Recover.