By: Kerry Inserra
This November 8th, American voters will walk into the voting booth to cast their ballot for the 45th President of the United States. This 2016 Presidential Election will most certainly go down in the history books for too many reasons to name in this Blog.
But let us not forget the 18-statewide ballot measures facing California voters this election. We have gun control, a two-dollar tobacco tax, repealing the death penalty, campaign finance reform, and of course the big daddy of them all-Prop 64-marijuana legalization. There are currently five states-Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada-that all have recreational cannabis on the November ballot.
According to Ballotpedia, as of August 19th, 2016, the Yes on Prop 64 camp (also known as the Adult Use Marijuana Act or AUMA) has raised approximately $11,470,778 while the No on Prop 64 campaign has raised $229,385-chump change in comparison. Nearly two in three voters support legalizing cannabis in California according to a poll conducted by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California in Berkeley. Prop 64 is intended to control, regulate and tax responsible adult use, sale and cultivation of marijuana in California.
“Failure Is Not An Option” was the main theme throughout the 4-day Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition or CWCBExpo-held at the Los Angeles Convention Center this past week. The CWCBExpo is the leading forum for doing business in one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. Dale Sky Jones, Executive Chancellor of Oaksteram University was on the Prop 64 Panel and gave a powerful summary of how Prop 64 will impact the cannabis market in California and the country at large.
While the central theme of the Expo was the passage of Prop 64 or AUMA there was no denying the vibrant buzz that permeated the expo with many key industry leaders, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and business and advocacy professionals coming together to exchange ideas and discuss the many legal complexities that face this burgeoning green bud know as cannabis. Thousands gathered to learn how they could capitalize or invest in the proliferating cannabis industry. Everyone seemed to be walking around with dollar signs in their eyes (not many red eyes at this cannabis event). Cannabis Means Business was the Expo’s mantra.
This year’s CWCBExpo had an A-list line-up of speakers and presenters covering all sectors of the cannabis market including: Starting and Running a Cannabis Business; Legal and Finance; Science and Information; Legislation and Advocacy; and Industry Trends and Innovations.
Keynote Speaker Montel Williams knocked it out of the park with his inspiring talk on how cannabis has literally saved his life. Williams is a 17-year Multiple Sclerosis survivor who weaves a powerful personal journey about the pain he endured while fighting this progressive disease. Williams is also jumping into the cannabis industry with his own startup company-Lenitiv Scientific LLC. Williams said his company would use the latest cannabis manufacturing technologies to bring patients the highest quality cannabis strains free from chemicals and pesticides.
Another great workshop I attended was The Cannabis Investment Workshop sponsored by MJIC. MJIC is a company dedicated to the emerging cannabis industry. Their mission is to create opportunities for people to join the thriving cannabis market in a way that responsibly manages risk and reward. The workshop focused on how to operate, own or invest in the cannabis market.
These are the people, the companies, and the advocacy groups shaping the future of this billion-dollar industry. Cannabis Means Business-big business. Now let’s watch and see what happens on November 8th.