MJBizCon said a final goodbye to Las Vegas in November, and it was a big one.

That’s right, MJBizCon is leaving Las Vegas, at least for now.  After 4 solid shows with increased attendance each year, show management has opted out of the venue for the time being.

(Update: MJBizDaily CEO spoke at the Nevada Gaming Commission meeting regarding casinos and cannabis industry business compatibility this past week.  Apparently Gov. Sandoval really does understand how important it is for Nevada to get just as much money from tourists and convention attendees as possible.  Cheers to him.)

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With more than 18,000 participants, this years’ Vegas event was huge – 670+ exhibitors, including us.  As a matter of fact, the show floor was so busy that we didn’t actually end up with enough time to walk the entire thing properly.

Who was at MJBizCon this time?

In addition to the usual cadre of heavy equipment manufacturers and soil producers, this years show had a lot of variety, and catered to pretty much every possible demographic in the industry.  We met a lot of super people with a slew of products, services, and ideas designed around making state legal cannabis a bigger, better industry.

One of my favorite new people is Jenny Argie, the owner of Baked at Home.

Jenny is a breast cancer survivor, and she’s amazing!  We met this incredible woman at a cocktail party, and her story is truly incredible – in her own words –

She created a line of healthy Baking Mixes designed specifically for adding Cannabis and a range of CBD products for Kitchen, Body and Soul, for those who want to embrace the natural healing properties found in Cannabinoids.

I really don’t know if I’d be able to start a business while I was trying to kick cancer, but that’s exactly what she did, and not only is she cancer free, she’s running a successful enterprise based around a healthy lifestyle and taking care of yourself.

Another one of my faves is Tiffany Havens from SoCalSafe.

These guys are not kidding around with their safes and their security.  She’s super knowledgeable, they’ve been in the safe making and installing business for more than 100 years, and she knows her stuff.  The rest of her crew is fun and friendly as well.

I don’t want to forget our booth mate at MJBizCon – Jeff Winaker from Northtext.

Jeff has a great text messaging product, designed for both mainstream and for cannabis industry businesses.  He’s got a fantastic setup, sending from the same number all the time, enabling text to landline and other nifty ideas for making your text message marketing really pop.

His description of our booth – “Manhattan real estate” – still has me chuckling when I think about it.  And we were super busy, especially on day one – Wednesday – literally from the time the floor opened until just before 5 pm.

What about the parties at MJBizCon?

While parties are the lifeblood after hours at any show, we only went to two events, three if you count the show floor mixer, which I thought was poorly attended, mostly due to the way it was scheduled.  If you’re going to have the event on the floor, and make it all inclusive, I think you should try to get actual attendees to attend.  As it was, only the exhibitors were left on the floor at that point, and the booths were still open for business, so we mostly sat around hanging out with the guys from Boulder Lamp, who were not only super entertaining but also had plenty of seating in their space  ;)

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Maybe the next time try to schedule the mixer a bit earlier in the day – like happy hour time frame, so that the floor doesn’t clear out before the bar opens?

We were +1’s at a well done cocktail party at Aria, hosted by Linx (Jeff’s a reseller).   Great food, not crowded at all, ritzy venue in the Sky Villas, and some interesting people in attendance (that’s where we met Jenny Argie, even though her booth was literally a stones throw from ours!) at the party.  Lovely gift bags on the way out the door as well.

We also went to the Dope Magazine party down on Fremont Street.  Lots of people for an out of the way venue, especially while the Sensi Magazine party and the Cannabis Business Times party were also taking place.   The building was HUGE, but everyone ended up crammed on the rooftop level trying to get to the bar, and the second floor balcony was really the only place you could have a conversation with anyone and hear what they were saying.

Favorite parts of the week?

Aside from booth takedown?  (Just kidding, kind of…) That’s an easy one!  Dinners out and about in Vegas.  Say what you will about Vegas being a shitshow (it is), with incredible traffic these days (it is), and that the people who visit now are very different from the ones who used to hang out there (they are), but you can always count on big name restaurants in big name casinos to get you by on the food front.

We had a great dinner at Lago (Bellagio) – small plates, tapas, that sort of thing.  Hazel and I treated ourselves to Atelier de Joel Robuchon, and the last night in town we hit Firefly for the blue hair special (lucky us, it was quiet when we went in with stacks of business cards to sort through and a line out the door when we left later), so we weren’t suffering from malnutrition; of course with all the dining options in Vegas these days, if you don’t eat well at pretty much any budget, you’re only hurting yourself.

That one missing part.

For a show with the size and experience of MJBizCon, I was really surprised at the lack of a cohesive mobile plan to help tie the whole thing together.   Everyone is on their phone, all the time – even in places like the convention center where service is spotty with so many people trying to connect at once.

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A couple of days before the show, I got an email telling me I could sign up for mobile notifications.  Which weren’t all that great, and weren’t all that frequent.  It’s so easy to put together a plan to use mobile to effectively help with engagement and traffic flow that it’s almost laughable when I go to a show that doesn’t do it.

So that’s my show wrap up – BUSY, BUSY, BUSY – and of course my complaint (wouldn’t be me without one, eh), and last but not least, I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season.  It was really nice to be home last week, spending it quietly recovering – my feet took DAYS to stop hurting – and now we’re gearing up for the year end and new year promos, work and partnerships.

For sure on the schedule for January – NCIA Quarterly Caucus meeting – either NorCal or SoCal, and IndoExpo in Denver.