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Cannabis Mixes with Tech, Money and Media at the New West Summit

An inside look at the ‘TechCrunch Disrupt’ of the cannabis industry.

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In late November, many flock to San Francisco to attend the New West Summit, the first conference to focus on the disruptive developments in technology, investment and media within the cannabis space.

Made up of dozens of informational booths, panel discussions and keynote addresses, The New West Summit is dedicated to the discussion of trends in cannabis funding, mobile app innovations, cultivation, extraction and vaporization technologies, as well as media focuses in regards to cannabis-related topics.

Summit co-founder Jim McAlpine said, “The cannabis industry is rapidly specializing, and it’s exciting to see an event come together that showcases such professionalization.”

Principal at Casa Verde Capital Evan Eneman provided audience members with intimate insight on Casa Verde’s past investments, what venture capital firms in the space are seeking out when evaluating innovative companies and advice on how to successfully pitch new cannabis companies.

In a panel examing the cannabis editorial landscape, columnist and video producer for Vice Media David Bienenstock implored new brands to “stop saying that you are legitimizing marijuana. Marijuana was amazing without you.” With the recent surge of cannabis brands, Bienenstock spoke to brands with focus on their technology. He pointed out the important note that if the business' features lack depth and a comprehensive brand story to accompany their products, a serious problem could occur. 

Legalization of cannabis in California in 2016 was another heavily discussed topic. Controversial subjects like how to best address cannabis-related felony offenses once a state legalizes and the implementation of measures to ensure against the rapid consolidation of the cannabis industry were covered. Fiona Ma, who represents the second district on the State Board of Equalization and who previously served in the California State Assembly, recognized the information vacuum found in Sacramento and urged the audience of cannabis industry leaders to provide pressure to their governments leaders and to embrace Governor Jerry Brown’s recently signed regulatory system for medical cannabis.

Unlike other cannabis expos, The New West Summit highlighted the technologies and transformations occurring within the cannabis space. Cannabis expos in the past have covered broad topics related to the business, cultivation and policy, but New West’s inquisitive panels addressed specific trends in consumer apps, vaporization technologies, marijuana-infused products, concentrates, cultivation software and industry-specific editorial content in more detail than the cannabis community was accustomed to.

With cannabis set to be next large industry in the United States, conferences like the New West Summit will bring into focus the technologies changing the face of cannabis and defining the cannabis lifestyle.

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