December 14, 2023

MjBizCon 2023 Recap

December 14, 2023
MjBizCon 2023

The event may be over until next year, but the energy and inspiration are still lingering for many of us after MjBizCon 2023.  It just gets bigger every year!  

MJBizCon, the largest B2B cannabis event in the world, was again hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Center last month. The 12th annual MJBizCon welcomed tens of thousands of cannabis professionals for the $34 billion industry’s premier event.

A cannabis business community all too familiar with challenges and obstacles joined together to discuss strategies for the future, the wins and losses of 2023, and a reinvigorating look to their roots as they ‘Dare to Grow,’ push boundaries, and pave the way for what comes next. MJBizCon is where the game changers, rule breakers, and disruptors unite to connect, innovate and leave their mark on the industry.

The prospect of federal marijuana rescheduling and accompanying tax reform, paired with the possibility of long-awaited cannabis banking reform offer hope on the national level even as the U.S. heads into an unpredictable presidential election year. Additionally, new markets have launched since the last MJBizCon, and more states this year approved recreational legalization. Both women and minority representation in executive positions have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels after a significant drop during the past three years.

On the flip side, the scarcity of funding has been an issue. Also, mergers and acquisitions are down, equity prices have slumped, and global macroeconomic trends are creating additional headwinds.

As for the future, prospects look brighter after top Biden administration health officials over the summer officially recommended that marijuana be reclassified from a Schedule 1 substance to Schedule 3 – the same category as Tylenol with codeine.  If, as expected, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration approves such a reclassification, it would mean that Section 280E of the federal tax code would no longer apply to state-legal marijuana businesses. The punitive tax provision bars cannabis companies from taking typical business deductions on their federal tax returns.

“For the fast-moving legal cannabis industry, the hope is that things can only get better from here,” MJBizDaily reporter Solomon Israel said. “With the possibility of rescheduling and tax policy change on the horizon, 2024 could be much more prosperous than 2023.”

“This year’s theme, ‘Dare to Grow’, honors the pioneers, risk takers, and mavericks that make this industry so unique. After a challenging year, we are coming together with this resilient community to celebrate wins, commiserate the losses, and set ourselves up for success going into 2024,” said Jess Tyler, MJBiz, VP Revenue and Experience.

MJBiz is the leading B2B resource for the cannabis industry. Founded in 2011, it is the most trusted publisher and event producer serving cannabis industry entrepreneurs and investors from around the globe. MJBiz produces MJBizCon, the longest-running and largest cannabis trade show in the world. The 2015-2019 events were each named to Trade Show Executive’s Fastest 50 list and ranks on the Gold 100 list of largest tradeshows in the U.S. The 2024 event will return to Las Vegas Dec 3-6, 2024. 

Here are some of my personal favorites and highlights from the expo as well as at the parties and otherwise throughout MjBizCon 2023 week in Las Vegas…. 


Neatleaf is truly the future of cannabis cultivation. This innovator and rapidly growing company has created a proprietary platform that will revolutionize the use of data and AI in the cannabis cultivation space leading to higher margins and greater profitability for growers. 

Co-founded in 2020 by Elmar Mair, who comes from a robotics background at Bosch, Lucid Motors and Google’s X, The Moonshot Factory, Neatleaf’s mission is to transform farming and make it more sustainable though data-driven agriculture.

The Neatleaf Spyder is a first-of-its-kind autonomous robotic platform that exceeds the capabilities of the human eye or any static sensor, generating millions of data points every day and translating these into simple and actionable insights, bringing the latest advances in machine learning and agronomy to the fingertips of growers. Neatleaf has offices in San Francisco and Munich and is working with some of the industry’s leading brands. 

My interview with Elmar was truly fascinating and I look forward to seeing the progress this company makes in the next year, and what they will have to share at the next MjBizCon.

Blazy Susan

Blazy Susan, a leading innovator in smoking accessories, once again wowed myself and many other attendees with their once again incredible booth set up and lounge at the expo. It’s always one of the best, and they somehow seem to make it even better each year.

This year, Blazy Susan was on the edge of their announcement of an exciting licensing partnership with the iconic rock band the Grateful Dead. This collaboration brings together two beloved brands known for their commitment to quality and creativity, offering a range of premium, slow-burning rolling papers, cones, and cannabis accessories that pay homage to the counterculture movement and the spirit of music and boundless creativity.

The partnership will showcase a carefully curated collection of smoking essentials thoughtfully designed to provide a seamless experience for cannabis enthusiasts. Drawing inspiration from the Grateful Dead’s timeless legacy, the collection encapsulates the band’s iconic aesthetics and its influences on generations of fans.

Blazy Susan’s reputation for producing high-quality, consumer-focused, and stylish smoking products aligns perfectly with the Grateful Dead’s ethos. The collection will feature a variety of products, including ultra-thin and slow-burning rolling papers, pre-rolled cones for convenience, and unique accessories to enhance the smoking experience. Limited Edition collections will be rolling out moving forward across both brands’ platforms.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with the Grateful Dead, a timeless symbol of artistic expression and cultural revolution,” said William Breakell, Founder of Blazy Susan. “This collaboration allows us to merge our expertise in crafting top-notch smoking accessories with the iconic imagery and spirit of the Grateful Dead. We believe this collection will resonate deeply with fans and enthusiasts who value quality through a connection to the band in an entirely new way.”

The Blazy Susan x Grateful Dead collection can be found on Blazy Susan’s official website and through select authorized retailers, including – the official platform of the Grateful Dead.

Royal Queen Seeds

If you work in cannabis cultivation, then Royal Queen Seeds is practically a household name when you get to talking seeds and genetics.  I was fortunate enough to get to talk with Shai Ramsahai, the company’s President, who has been working in the industry since he was 5 years old helping his dad who was their founder.  Talk about family business…I love it!

An exciting announcement for Barcelona-based Royal Queen Seeds (RQS) this year is their opening of its debut U.S. retail store! RQS, one of the world’s largest seed banks, is offering a unique shopping and learning experience from its prime location within The House of Cannabis (THC NYC). Having used the last 15 years to build an unparalleled index of top-tier genetics, customers will be able to shop from a curated collection of RQS’ cultivars–from classics like White Widow, Critical and Northern Lights to new showstoppers like Cookies Gelato, Quick One and Purple Queen–available in autoflowers, feminized and true F1 hybrids. Through the home cultivation process, much like craft beer, RQS believes that people develop a deeper understanding of the plant, which ultimately makes them smarter shoppers.  

Excited to see how the roll out of this new shop goes and what RQS will do next!

Blunt Strategies

One of the most invigorating conversations I had during the expo was with the amazing women behind Blunt Strategies….talk about a power couple! 

Leili Fatehi, Partner & Co-Principal and Laura Monn Ginsburg, Partner & Co-Principal were speaking my language…they are true advocates at heart and people we should ALL be thankful for in the cannabis sector!  These brilliant women are moms and political strategists who legalized cannabis in Minnesota— all without a ballot or a Democratic supermajority in a purple state. Laura and Leili, through their ‘MN Is Ready’ campaign and tireless efforts spanning four years, galvanized the state’s cannabis stakeholders to unite and legalize cannabis. Laura and Leili talked with me about Minn.’s burgeoning industry, and about how and why they built a  unique adult-use cannabis policy (now dubbed the ‘MN Model’) to create an equitable, sustainable cannabis market, with legislation prioritizing social equity and keeping out MSOs.

These women were truly inspirational and I hope to see other states follow their lead.  


Bay Medica is an innovative biosynthesis platform and process that is redefining the way cannabinoids are produced. The journey turns simple sugars to pure, pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids, without the need for plant cultivation or extraction.

I spoke with Jerry Griffin, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for BayMedica.  He explained the precision fermentation to produce cannabis.

The process turns common brewer’s yeast into a biological factory capable of producing individual pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids. By using yeast instead of plants, it eliminates the need for toxic chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals commonly associated with traditional cannabis and hemp extraction methods. Following several days of fermentation, the yeast performs its magic, converting sugars into significant quantities of the target cannabinoid. Then yeast cells are meticulously separated from the broth, preparing for the purification of the cannabinoid. This process ensures the utmost purity of the final product, free from contaminants and unwanted byproducts. Unlike traditional extraction methods from plants, where toxins, fertilizers, and heavy metals can hitch a ride, the technique gently separates and concentrates the cannabinoid. The outcome is pure, natural cannabinoids that are identical to those found in the cannabis plant itself. 

This biosynthesis platform is certainly an innovative way to produce cannabinoids leveraging some of the same tactics brewers use to brew beer. So interesting! 

Blunt Brunch

This was only my second Blunt Brunch and WOW was it amazing! The event just gets better every year and I have found it to be even more uplifting and inspiring in some ways than the expo itself! This year, over 385+ incredible women and allies came together for a day that was not just an event but a movement! This year’s centerpiece is the Blunt Conversation titled Embracing Change: Navigating Pivots in the Cannabis Industry for Women. Change is a constant in the cannabis sector, and this conversation delves into the art of embracing these changes. It explores how women professionals can navigate pivotal moments, fostering resilience and empowerment in the face of industry shifts.

The speaker lineup included Kaila Strong, (Curaleaf), Nick Pompino (Pompino Injury Law), Jess Tyler (Chief Revenue and Experience Officer at MJBiz), Sonia Singh, LCSW, LCADC, PhD candidate (known as *The Happy Therapist*),- Xia’ Xiang Ward: (performer and songwriter), Jenzi Russell (choreographer and entertainer) and, of course, the one and only Mskindness Ramirez (CEO of Club Kindness) served as the event MC once again.  It was fabulous!! 

Blunt Brunch Nationals was founded by another power couple, Adelia Carrillo and Parisa Rad.  These two passionate women have dedicated themselves to creating a platform for women in the cannabis industry. Their unwavering commitment and vision have brought together thousands of women each year, fostering community, empowerment, and growth. Already excited for next year!!

Feminine Forward Talks

Feminine Forward Talks (FFT) launched a mobile series movement at MJBizCon in Las Vegas this year with ongoing goals to reshape paradigms and elevate women through a triad of education, empowerment and advocacy, curates events that offer attendees a chance to engage with women who are trailblazers, knowledge seekers, and architects of change. 

FFT is a transformative mobile speaker series at the forefront of alternative health, plant medicine, lifestyle choices, and the evolution of wellbeing. Driven by a mission to foster groundbreaking discussions that transcend norms and reshape the wellness landscape. FFT is a dynamic movement that endeavors to reshape paradigms, forge connections, and elevate women through a triad of education, empowerment and advocacy. FFT meticulously curates events that offer attendees a chance to engage with extraordinary women who are trailblazers, knowledge seekers, and architects of change.

Including Cannabis (MjBizCon) Week in Las Vegas Nov 28-30, the tour will run for the next full calendar year and include major events in cities listed below:

January 2024 – X Games in Aspen, CO
March 2024 – SXSW, Austin, TX
April 2024 – Coachella, Indio, CA

April 2024 – National Cannabis Festival, Washington D.C.
May 2024 – Electric Daisy, Las Vegas, NV
June 2024 – Polo Classic, Los Angeles, CA
July 2024 – Essence Music Festival, New Orleans, LA
July 2024 – California State Fair, Sacramento, CA
August 2024 – Lollapalooza, Chicago, IL
September 2024 – Mountain View Art & Wine Festival, Mountain View, CA
November 2024 – MJBizCon, Las Vegas, NV

“It is my highest honor to lead an initiative hosting discussions that will undoubtedly transform the way women experience wellbeing.” Mskindness B. Ramirez, MA.Ed – CEO of Club Kindness 

Club Kindness Launched FFT in July 2023 at the California State Fair in Sacramento, with its first conversations surrounding the aim to celebrate and empower women in the cannabis industry, while also promoting the benefits of cannabis for overall wellness through feminine forward content and discussions. FEMININE FORWARD TALKS aligns its values to be inviting, inclusive and informative to all members of the alternative health community. 

I am such a fan of the work that MsKindness does and this is just an extension of her already incredible and steadfast dedication to women in cannabis. Looking forward to seeing how the tour goes and what she will bring to Las Vegas next year! 

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention what a great time I had at the Grasslands party, the MC Nutraceuticals Mansion Party, the E3 Mixer and Cocktail party, and of course the Emjay’s award show after party hosted by the always amazing Farechild

Another highlight of my trip to Las Vegas was my annual tour of Planet 13.  I have been following this company since the opening of this store, and they always have so many amazing things going on that each year I am even more excited to get the updates.  

Planet 13

Planet 13, The World’s Largest Cannabis Dispensary SuperStore & Entertainment Complex in Las Vegas, is now celebrating its 5th anniversary and wow have they been busy. Perhaps most exciting is that Planet 13 has unveiled the consumption lounge name and released renderings for “DAZED! Lounge” at the Las Vegas SuperStore. “DAZED! Lounge” will be a first-of-its-kind, high-end consumption lounge with a cool phone-booth speak-easy style secret entrance off the grand hallway, VIP booths great for parties and game-days, expertly crafted canna-cocktails and 3 unique bong chandeliers. With 3,000 square feet of mixed-used food, consumption, and entertainment space DAZED! Lounge will redefine the cannabis experience for canna-connoisseurs, tourists and local customers alike. Dazed! Lounge is expected to open by “4/20” April 20, 2024.

Additionally, Planet 13 is expanding into Florida, with its recently announced major acceleration of FL expansion by acquiring VidaCann and its 26 FL dispensaries bringing its total FL footprint to 30 dispensary locations once complete. The first Planet 13 Illinois near Chicago opening very soon, date to be announced as soon as final approval processes are complete.

Perhaps even more timely, Planet 13 is launching its ‘Positive Impact’ Holiday Fundraising Campaigns Customers who donate at either store will be entered in a special 5th anniversary raffle for a chance to win a 420 Vegas Vacation complete with airfare, luxury hotel, and VIP seating at Planet 13’s Dazed! Lounge. 

And…my favorite part!!!!  Smokus Pocus, a 420 Themed Magic Show the “Dopest” Show in Vegas is now being featured at Planet 13.  Smokus Pocus is by far the most entertaining show I have ever seen that draws both magic and cannabis enthusiasts from all over. This is truly a  mind-blowing performance, with even Penn & Teller saying, “One of our favorite things we’ve ever seen.” There will be performances every weekend starting 12/16 & shows every Friday and Saturday night at 9pm, 12/22, 12/23, 12/29, 12/30. Catch it while you can and keep up to date on both Planet 13 and Smokus Pocus as both platforms are ones that serve the cannabis community in the most fun and unique ways possible.  

There is such a bustle of energy and activity throughout MjBizCon week in Las Vegas that it’s truly hard to describe it in words…the best way to experience it is to go see for yourself!  Congrats to all the sponsors and participants on a job well done! I am already excited for next year.


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