Hundreds of entrepreneurs and medical marijuana dispensaries flocked to Portland last week for the International Cannabis Business Conference in anticipation of legalized weed in Oregon. With measure 91 proposing legalizing recreational marijuana on the ballot for November elections, those hoping to profit from a new industry with high demand. The conference included lawyers, business investors, industry advocates, legislators, ancillary suppliers and more.Conference organizer Andrew Sullivan explained that “the conference was intended to address the entire cannabis industry, just as any business conference would.”
Speakers at the International cannabis conference represented a Who’s Who of the cannabis industry. Speakers included Congressman Earl Blumenauer, keynote speaker, Andrew Sullivan, Representative Peter Buckley and Senator Floyd Prozanski and even influential international representatives joined the event. Philippe Lucas shared fascinating information from Canada and Laura Blanco, spoke about the experience of Uruguay, the first country to legalize marijuana.
Cultivators, processors and dispensary owners provided much needed practical business advice to attendees. Business opportunities presented at the conference were not limited to recreational marijuana but rather showcased successes in the use of medical marijuana in laboratories and even new business opportunities with industrial hemp. Bestselling author and investigative journalist, Doug Fine gave a great presentation on the Hemp industry. First legalized in the state of Washington, hemp could represent a major cash crop for the state. Unlike cannabis, hemp is not mind altering and can be used in a wide variety of applications including fuel, paper, protein, fabric, ropes and dozens of other uses.
Ever since the passage of legal recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington state, the potential of a growing new industry in Oregon has many investors seeing green. Many rural communities along the West coast have discouraged or even blocked medical marijuana dispensaries in their towns. However, with potential taxed revenues projected in the millions of dollars, many communities have eased up legislation to pave the way for legalized recreational marijuana in Oregon, Measure 91, if passed could be a boon for struggling rural counties such as Josephine, that have had to slash their police force. Ironically, legal recreational marijuana could be a savior for many struggling towns governed by county government.
Whether the state agrees to end prohibition on cannabis in Oregon will be a hotly debated issue for all voters to consider.