If you’re not in the Cannabis ecosystem, you may not have heard the name Cheryl Shuman, but at the Southern California Cannabis Convention and Expo held in San Diego last weekend, Ms. Shuman is a big deal, often referred to as The Cannabis Queen of Beverly Hills or The Martha Stewart of Marijuana. Ms. Shuman is no Diva. Rather the 54-year old businesswoman could be described as the doyenne of marijuana-a marijuana maverick of sorts. Ms. Shuman is a big proponent of the many health properties of marijuana and a big proponent for the legalization of cannabis. She was a guest speaker at the Southern California Cannabis Convention where over 300 exhibitors and thousands of attendees gathered to engage in interactive workshops, listen to lawyers and policymakers, attend educational seminars and network with the industries top professionals.
In 1996 Ms. Shuman founded the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club. Ms. Shuman became a convert after a battle with PTSD some 20 years ago. She’s been a champion ever since as well as activist and promoter of the cannabis industry. She is literally the media darling of the pro-legalization of cannabis movement and a strong voice of knowledge and influence when it comes to the many medical benefits of marijuana. Ms. Shuman was planning on interviewing Keynote Speaker Whoopi Goldberg who was scheduled to attend the convention and promote her own cannabis line Whoopi & Maya. Unfortunately there was a last minute speaker change and no Whoopi.
This was my first time attending a Cannabis Convention. Zip2media started receiving inquiries from cannabis and Hemp based products and dispensaries, asking if we could assist them with their marketing, advertising and/or PR. Navigating the many complexities of legal cannabis compliance is no easy task. The laws vary greatly state-by-state and county-by-county. As of this writing, the DEA rejected today an attempt by democrats to loosen federal restrictions on marijuana.
The Cannabis Convention Crowd: These are not your stoner, hipster dudes, with tie-dyes, red eyes, dreds, and rolled joints hanging from their mouth (ok maybe a few). These are serious business professionals and investors looking to cash in on a business estimated to rake in $22.8 billion in business by 2020 according to Arcview Market Research. Venture capital dollars are flowing into Cannabis related startup’s-and for good reason. Pot is a cash cow.
California passed the first medical marijuana law in 1996 and is currently going through a massive transformation. Currently there are 22 states plus the District of Columbia that have various medical marijuana programs. Prop 64 is on the California November ballot this year and polls show it has a good chance of passing. Prop 64 would make marijuana available for recreational use. In 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first two states to enact recreational-marijuana laws.
Cheryl Shuman, Whoopi Goldberg, and many other high profile, pro-cannabis supporters are making great strides in removing the stigma surrounding cannabis. Cannabis is the new California Gold Rush.