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The world’s biggest cannabis business conference has returned and is almost back to full steam.

While there have been many attempts to create the next visionary cannabiz conference over the last decade, nothing has ever touched the scale of MJ Biz Con as it celebrates its return from the pandemic in addition to the 10th anniversary of 3,000 attendees converging on the Rio for the first time.

In the years since, MJ Biz Con would grow alongside the rest of the cannabis industry at a breakneck pace. Each year, more and more cannabis professionals departed to Vegas in search of the newest tech to keep their business on pace with the rest of the game’s growth, or the investor that’s going to help take them to the next level.

But while pot became essential early in the pandemic, the idea of 30,000 members of the world’s fastest-growing industry converging in one place was not. Now two years removed from its previous installment, you could argue there was more progress between the 2019 and 2021 Mj Biz Cons than any previous installment.

But what does that progress mean?

When I look at the ancillary cannabis space, all the companies that don’t touch the plant, I think the big dogs have big dogged for a long time. These kinds of cannabis megaevents almost tend to be more about the commercial viability of the second-best option rather than who has is the top dawg.

Be it lighting, nutrients, or the latest plumbing tech, there is always a quest to save a buck in cannabis without sacrificing quality. While that may be the case for any industry, it’s further compounded in marijuana by the tax burden. Every penny saved matters that much more.

The real tragedies start when the penny pinching gets out of hand. Some brands known for quality products have attempted cost-effective tweaks around packaging or the overall process only to see the results that put them on the map in the first place diminished. That is how to get the least out of MJ Biz Con.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the brands looking to take their product to the next level. They might be a new air conditioner away from growing the heat. But as cannabis continues to normalize, bigger, faster, and cheaper will be popular themes in pot as things continue to grow. And not all will go smoothly.

Part of the problem is that during that free for all, the dreaded Chad – essentially a modernized term for cannabis industry carpetbaggers – has come to the forefront trying to convince those entering the space they have an expertise or route to money a business may need to be successful. They’ll probably pretend they love weed. In the end, they’ll likely try to sue out their partners from the business and reign supreme alone.

Sometimes the MJ Biz Con naysayers would attempt to frame the entirety of those participating in the Chad category or question how something happening in the heart of the California harvest season could offer anything insightful for a real cannabis pro. I walked the aisles of MJ Biz Con and ran into people like Doja Pak, Compound Genetics, and so many of the people we’re holding to the highest standard. I just can’t see painting the entire event with that Chad brush when so many killers were there.

Once you get past all the tech and hardware, at the core of MJ Biz Con is the people. And while like any industry, a charlatan may slip in. But most of the people walking the halls are just trying to do something they think is cool. They have a shot to carve a piece of for themselves as the industry turns into whatever it’s transforming into.

So thank goodness MJ Biz Con is back to lay it all out there for us as we try and figure out who is who.

LA Weekly