My First Time at MJBIZCON (and the Cool Products I Saw)
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Vegas, baby! And I was on a 4:20pm flight out of SFO, no joke. You tell people you’re going to MJBIZCON, the Marijuana Business Conference, the largest cannabis industry conference in the world, and that it’s held in Vegas, and everyone’s mind tends to spin on all the possibilities for shenanigans contained within that intersection (Vegas + weed conference). And then you look at the numbers: three days of 27,600 attendees, and 1,027 exhibitors spread out over a massive convention floor (a past exhibitor told me there were only 86 six years ago!). You see everything from two guys at a booth with a scrappy table of vape batteries and barely something resembling company signage (less common), all the way to the most over-the-top booths and displays (the Dutch Futurola booth was impossible [loud music warning!] to ignore).
It took three days for me to walk the entire floor, which was a mishmash of every kind of exhibitor you could think of: promotions, bottling, extractors (I called them the monster trucks of the show), insurance, endless vape batteries from China, testing, sorters, packaging, soil, website designers, investors, delivery, cannabis cocktail infusion devices, accessories, stickers, dispensary software, authenticity verification, humidors, terpenes, employment services, plant pickers, joint fillers, terpene-infused rolling papers (although someone needs to fix that spelling of Jack Herer), organizations like the Open Cannabis Project…
And then there were the actual products, from CBD powders to toothpaste to serums to CBD sorbet to THC nasal spray to the CBD-dispensing X-pen to a bunch of beverages (of course). There was even an infused truffle facial moisturizer, but that’s where I have to draw the line. I also couldn’t believe there was a trademarked skincare line called Sativa. (And I’m the first to admit I’m totally curious to try it.)
I found the show to pretty overwhelming at first, and I think it would make sense to divide it up between products for farmers/growers and then everything else. But then again, the big booth mishmash is a great way to get exposed to and learn about so much of the technology behind growing and manufacturing cannabis. And really, I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to see things with names like Xtreme Cubes (standalone cultivation cubes) and the Street Fighter 200 tablet and capsule counter, high-yah! I even spent half an hour talking to the Vitalis folks and learned about supercritical and subcritical extraction while standing in front of their massive and gleaming supercritical CO2 extractor.
I got to look at the inside of vaporizer cartridges, and meet former extractors who are pursuing how to make superior batteries, like the folks at Veo in Washington. I hung out with the DaVinci team and enjoyed a deep dive into the technology behind their portable flower vaporizers, and took a look at their brand-new Miqro (which I have been test-driving the past couple weeks, it’s so smoooove). PAX set up their engraver, and you could get a customized inscription (take a look!) and Vegas design on your Era device (so dope!). At the end of the show, I was fortunate to spend time chatting with the sales director of international business at Charlotte's Web about hemp-derived CBD, what to look for, and the differences between domestic and international hemp growing methods. #learningallthetime
(Scroll the images above with the arrows. All photos: © mymilligram.)
I went to MJBIZCON in the hopes of seeing a bunch of new and THC-containing products from other states, but honestly, there weren’t as many as I expected. But, I was happy to see California brands like OLO with a booth, showcasing their sublingual strips (a new product coming to Sava very soon—some of you experienced it at the mymilligram microdoser holiday bazaar!), and quality brands like Eel River Organics.
Here are some product HIGHlights I noted from other brands:
—The entire line of Colorado’s Verra Wellness products was on display; their micromist is a recent favorite of mine (if you’re a good friend, I have probably spritzed you under your tongue by now), and it will be coming to Sava shortly! This sublingual spray comes in three ratios (1:1, 1:10, and 20:1 CBD:THC) and two flavors (peppermint and strawberry-ginger) and is a discreet, effective, and I daresay totally awesome product. They also make a 1:1 topical salve, nasal mist, and are working on a nano micromist spray too.
—I’ve been tracking the launch of the Doug’s Varin THCV vape, and if you read my past Level Stimulate Tablingual post, you already know about this appetite-suppressing cannabinoid (THCV) that has people heralding it as the latest diet aid (and it also perks you up, like caffeine). California Cannabinoids, the exclusive provider of the Doug’s Varin cannabis strain—which is notably high in THCV—revealed their new line of THCV-rich vape pens at MJBIZCON (there are two: Original, and Relief has CBD). They are expected to hit California shelves after this latest wave of massive January 1 testing backlog clears. Will let you know once I try it!
—Another interesting cannabinoid product was the Remedi Sleep THC spray tincture from Cresco Labs with CBN (which helps with sleep—it’s the same cannabinoid used in Kikoko’s Tranquili-Tea)—there were also Relax and Awake sprays (and capsules). Last I heard, this product is coming to California this year (I’ll get an update).
—I noted a couple transdermal patch companies: there’s Manna Molecular, which offers 10mg–35mg THC, THC:CBD, and CBD-optimized patches (sadly not in CA, but they are in NV), and they’re launching the Manna SX line this year, which uses liposomal technology to assist with transdermal delivery (which they claim to be a first). There was another transdermal patch company using hemp-derived CBD: Hath (35mg/patch for 24 hours), although their site is in development, so I have no idea how to order it.
—I was impressed with the technology of the Dr. Rook Medicinals NANOS nebulizer, a respiratory delivery system for patients to consume CBD (and THC) without combustion. A specific dose can be dialed in, and it vibrates when you reach it. (I wonder what the effects feel like with this mode of consumption!) They also make a beauty/skincare line with hemp-derived, full-spectrum CBD—I sampled their wrinkle recovery serum on my hand, but I don’t know how you can order it. (Yup, another website with minimal info—I think everyone is too busy.)
—The Cannabiniers booth was full of brands: Two Roots Brewing Co. “cannabier” (a de-alcoholized, cannabis-infused beer that comes in five brews: lager, stout, New West IPA, a cold-fermented blonde ale, and wheat, and is launching in California soon—you can currently buy it in Las Vegas, it’s a Nevada product); Just Society Cold Brew Beverages (cold-brew and whole-leaf flavored tea beverages, like mint, honey, and raspberry); Brewbudz cannabis-infused coffees and teas in a patented, 100-percent compostable (yay!) single-serve brew pod; and Bask, their hemp-derived CBD line of herbal teas, bath bombs, and creams.
—Another booth full of brands was CBD Naturals, which included the Rasa line of CBD-infused coconut waters, electrolyte-powered Health Water (I have a feeling it would be helpful for a hangover), and a nootropic beverage and oral spray, N20, which I could never get any real info on from reps in the booth, and the website is just full of white bizzy bros gettin’ shit done, so it must not be for me.
—It looks like Nevada’s Record Street Brewing Co. is launching a line of hemp-based beers and functional beverages with Isodiol International Inc.
—If you have kids and need to hide the smell of freshly smoked herb in your home (or dorm room, hotel room, car, or office), I came across an odor-removing spray called Cannabolish (which sounds hella serious about its job). It smells natural (it has a light pine scent), so it’s not masking the smell of your kind bud with jasmine or “valley morning mist”—it actually neutralizes it. I’ve been trying it out at home and it’s pretty effective. You can get it on Amazon, and there’s also a travel size three-pack (share it with your friends). They also make a candle, which would be handy at events and parties. Or Emerald Cup (ha-ha).
—For the home baker, I thought this technology was pretty rad: the tCheck 2, a portable infusion potency tester (a spectrometer) that was about the size of a deck of cards. You can test the potency of your olive oil, butter, or other infused liquids, which would be a groovy cross-check for anyone making things at home, or perhaps before sending things to the lab. (They also make an expansion kit to test flower and concentrates and determine their cannabinoid breakdown.)
Of course, networking happens everywhere at the show. You can run into cannabis destigmatization pioneers from other states like Jane West at a booth (who was launching her new line of CBD capsules), enjoy some freshly baked (non-medicated) chocolate chip cookies from Jeffthe420chef (who will be opening Budberry, an edibles lounge in West Hollywood), and, of course, there are soooooo many after-parties happening every night (the FOMO is real—it’s hard to make it to all the parties you want to hit), hosted in casinos, penthouses, bars, midcentury Airbnbs, warehouses, and my personal favorite: the Meadow-hosted wake ‘n’ bake brunch at Hash House—it was great to see so many folks from our SF canna community all in one place, drinking Bloody Marys, with no competing parties to splinter us all over Vegas. (And the tower of fried chicken, bacon, and waffles was the business.)
I was fired up to attend a mixer by The Initiative (a cannabis accelerator for women) and the opportunity to meet Amy Margolis in person, and seeing Jim Belushi there was pretty awesome too (and the ladies thank you for the support, man!). Getting into the party with Snoop Dogg was a big farce, but hey, it was worth a shot (you can’t win if you don’t play, and I think Vegas would agree). Thanks to Grasslands for the cold beers at their after-party instead.
Outside of the conference, our cannabish posse visited the Planet13 dispensary, touted as “the greatest dispensary on planet Earth,” but there just wasn’t a lot of there there yet. In time, we’ll have to see how they activate the space, although I did dig their interactive floor and the sliding gate security technology to enter the dispensary was pretty cool (it would scan your “ticket" after you checked in and then “open sesame!”). We visited a MedMen dispensary as well—I wanted to see their new [statemade] line—although I was surprised they were only carrying it at one location (and whaddya know, we chose the wrong one).
My wing woman Tali and I managed to catch a live comedy show with the one and only George Wallace, followed by breakfast for dinner at the very mymilligram décor–approved Peppermill, and we paid a visit to the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, which we learned was designed by Betty Willis in 1959. What’s not fabulous is flying home and then finding a TSA inspection letter inside your suitcase. D’oh! (And whew. Nothing to see here, move along!)
I’ll be posting more pictures on @mymilligram social on Instagram and Facebook.
Oh, and staying at the relatively new SLS Las Vegas was a great home base (we found an incredible deal on booking.com, use my code for $25 off your first time!). The SLS was formerly the Sahara Hotel and Casino, so I’d say those are some good Vegas vibes.
Was there something new and really cool you saw at the show? Drop me a line!
Disclaimer: The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.