GreenRush’s Full Recap Of CannaCon Seattle 2018

CannaCon Seattle

CannaCon’s slogan is “where the cannabis industry does business.” I was blown away by the wide variety of businesses on the CannaCon Seattle 2018 convention floor. On top of a packed floor full of booths, there were three days of talks and seminars designed to further educate the industry in business, science, and industry standards. This year’s three keynote speakers were Gov. Jay Inslee, Former President Of Mexico Vicente Fox, and a renown geneticist from Nova Scotia, Canada, Sean Myles.

Governor Jay Inslee opened CannaCon 2018 with a speech met with cheers, whoops, and boisterous applause. Gov. Inslee ended CannaCon 2018 day one with a brief speech on the progress the cannabis industry has made in such a short time. The speech was brief, just over 10 minutes. As everyone was shuffling out of the conference room, people expressed disappointment with the lack of a Q&A, and some wanted his speech to be longer and more informative.

Gov. Jay Inslee addressed Washington entrepreneurism, cannabis traceability and Jeff Session’s failure to recognize our industries success. Gov. Inslee recognized the sacrifices Washington business owners have made during Washington’s I-502 experiment. The market has been around for about four years and there’s been trackable success. The cannabis industry has generated billions of dollars in revenue which now accounts for 2 percent of the state’s budget.

Inslee applauded policies that have kept “youthful consumption” of cannabis from rising since it was legalized. These policies have also kept legal cannabis out of the black market and other states. These examples lead Inslee to question Jeff Sessions’ unwillingness to meet with himself and Washington Attorney General (AG) Bob Ferguson to discuss legal cannabis and all of its benefits. They’ll continue reaching out to Sessions and other AG’s around the country in hopes of showing them benefits a regulated cannabis industry can bring.

“I’m disappointed the Attorney General wants to blind himself from the successful information we have.”

Inslee addressed the traceability nightmares that have plagued the state since the WSLCB contracted MJ Freeway to build a new traceability system, LeafData. LeafData has been plagued with system crashes and data breaches. Inslee confirmed that LeafData was hacked since its launch on Feb. 1.  The purpose of the hack was to simply crash the system and make it inoperable, which can be more troubling than someone who just wants to steal information, Inslee said. The state is currently investigating the source of the hack and Inslee mentioned malicious or bored hackers and competing vendors as potential suspects. Inslee empathized with business owners who can’t complete orders and send or receive inventory.

“Jeff Sessions isn’t a suspect for now, ” Inslee joked.

Inslee finished with a promise to remain committed to fixing Washington’s traceability system and told anyone who is still having issues to call 888-420-5813 and report any and all problems as the state tries to repair the system. He also encouraged everyone in the room to befriend their district representatives to make them aware of how important these issues are in the community. The speech was brief, just over 10 minutes. As everyone was shuffling out of the conference room, people expressed disappointment with the lack of a Q&A, and some wanted his speech to be longer and more informative.

CannaCon Seattle

“Here’s a question I think we should ask. In just a few years, can we take a prohibited activity and turn it into a successful industry?”

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox opened day two of CannaCon with a passionate speech about the role cannabis has played in Mexico’s past, present, and future,  America’s failed drug war, border security, cannabis trade potential, and the CannaMexico World Summit. CannaMexico will take place in May 2018 and is designed to lay the groundwork for Mexico’s recreational cannabis system, one Fox hopes will take many methods from Washington’s recreational market. Fox believes our industry and other state-regulated cannabis markets are the start of the paradigm shift to completely end cannabis prohibition. Our cannabis industry is creating jobs, funding our government, and regulating the quality of its products. All of these measures reduce crime, the black market and severely decrease murders linked to the black market sale of cannabis.

Cannabis prohibition started in the United States after the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 when Harry Anslinger demonized cannabis by spreading misinformation about its effects and linking it with a tribal fear of Mexican immigrants committing hyper-exaggerated crimes. Prohibition hit the peak of insanity when Nixon passed the Controlled Substance Act in 1970 and officially labeled Cannabis as a schedule I drug, insanity still being dealt with in the United States and on the streets of Mexico. Cannabis is still one of the largest income sources for the drug cartels, their grip on certain regions had made it dangerous for everyone including journalists. 60-80 kids are killed on the streets of Mexico every day, Fox said. 40 journalists have been killed in Mexico between 1992 and 2018, the Committee To Protect Journalists reports.

Washington’s cannabis industry is showing it can be regulated and taken out of the hands of criminals in a responsible manner. Fox hopes the CannaMexico World Summit will show Mexican politicians and citizens that the same thing is possible in their country. Another vital issue Fox brought up was border security and how it relates to trade. Fox envisions a future where the Amerian-Mexican border is just as safe and crime free as the Canadian-American border. A future where all of North American opens its borders and cannabis becomes just another imported and exported product. Fox referred to this potential future as  “this united region of North America.”

Fox sees cannabis as a way to sure up his country’s future and lessens the economic disparity between them and the United States. Fox believes the steps taken on the state level in America will help usher in a new cannabis-friendly era on a nationwide level in Mexico, an era Fox hopes to start at the CannaMexico World Summit in May. Mexico has already legalized medical use of marijuana nationwide.

CannaCon Seattle

“After seeing your impressive exhibits, it’s clear to me a new world is born here,” Fox said.

On the final day, geneticist Sean Myles explained how his research reveals that cannabis strain names don’t reflect their true genetic profiles and that indica, sativa, and hybrid classifications are basically meaningless. I focused my time on the science seminars, specifically terpene knowledge. I learned a fair amount of new knowledge. It’s good to know that portion of the industry is focused on unlocking the secrets of terpenes and how they interact with our cannabis experience outside of smell and taste.

CannaCon Seattle

Sean Myles focuses on genetics in food, but his work in cannabis is turning heads in the industry and affirming rumors held by many people.

The CannaCon Seattle 2018 floor was filled with hundreds of vendors. Producers, processors, retailers, and users could all find something to pique their interest. The floor was covered with bowls of free candy in every variety you could think of, plus there was free merchandise, stuff for sale, grab bags, raffles, artwork, and displays. It was a celebration of the cannabis industry and all its many facets.

I was blown away at the level of industrial technology that is entering the cannabis space, especially on the producer/processor side of the industry. The floor was filled with automated conveyor belts, labelers, sticker machines, cartridge filling machines and many other automated devices designed to improve speed and efficiency during cannabis production. Some other services I saw included graphic designers, brand consultants, cannabis publications, analytics labs, data, and technology companies, surveillance companies, safe-makers, nutrient companies, and many others.

Cannabis concentrates still make up a small space in overall cannabis sales, but it’s clear how popular concentrates are becoming. The amount of extraction technology was almost overwhelmingly present on the floor. Extraction companies had the newest extraction tanks and setups, the latest rosin presses, purge ovens, scientific glassware of all shapes and sizes, and other highly scientific materials designed to make concentrates.

Cannabis users and budtenders were able to find just as many booths aimed at increasing their cannabis product knowledge. Brands like Mammoth Labs and Bodhi High had people at their booth spitting knowledge about how their concentrates are made. The booth that I learned the most from was True Terpenes, who create food grade organic terpenes. At their booth, there were terpenes being dispersed through humidifiers, giving you a concentrated aroma profile for six of the most common terpenes. Finally putting names to certain cannabis aromas is such a huge step for my strain reviews. That “lime candy” smell I love from the Banana Split strain is limonene. That distinct haziness you get from the Dutch strains? Terpinolene. That overwhelming pine-needle smell comes from Alpha-Pinene. I took home a personal terpene kit to help identify prominent terpenes in my strain reviews to further educate my readers.

CannaCon Seattle

You could feel the love and enthusiasm for cannabis throughout the entire conference. Whether it was in the Mammoth Labs VIP lounge sipping free coffee or lemonade while eavesdropping on everyone discussing their favorite booths. In the seminars watching focused attendees take notes and ask questions, or on the floor watching wide-eyed on-lookers admire the technological upswing the industry has undergone.

Every CannaCon seminar I attended taught me something new. Besides Inslee and Fox, I focused on seminars dealing with terpenes and genetics. People within the industry have been whispering about misleading strain names and lack of terpene knowledge for a while now, and many of these suspicions were confirmed by science and research this past weekend. I’m personally excited that terpene research is increasing because cannabis effects are determined by so much more than a simple indica, hybrid, and sativa designation and THC test results. Learning how cannabinoids and terpenes interact through the entourage effect will completely change how cannabis is bought and sold at the retail level.

Before CannaCon Seattle 2018, I truly didn’t grasp how all-encompassing the cannabis industry has become in such a short amount of time. I felt a sense of pride walking around with my camera and media badge around my neck, knowing I’m a small part of it all. The industry isn’t perfect and will encounter more complications, but there’s so much to be proud about. I walked away from CannaCon Seattle 2018  with a better understanding of how many moving parts the cannabis industry has and how hard everyone is working behind the scenes to keep them moving smoothly.

Before CannaCon Seattle, I had a strange fear that the proverbial rug was going to be pulled out from underneath me. I didn’t really understand how cannabis journalism was paying my bills and it felt like the checks would stop at any time.

After CannaCon Seattle, I feel the rug firmly beneath my feet and that it isn’t going anywhere. To see how cannabis is touching people from all walks of life and businesses from all facets of science, agriculture, retail, finance, and business motivated me to put even more work into my craft. I need to make sure I’m pulling as much weight as the hardworking people I met at CannaConSeattle 2018.

GreenRush Cannabis is a WA i502 producer-processor located in the scenic Snohomish Valley. We produce a clean, sophisticated crop that has become a preferred brand for a number of top shops in Washington state known for our consistent terpene flavor, high quality, and deep impact.

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