Detroit will be home for several thousand marijuana enthusiasts and entrepreneurs this weekend when CannaCon hits the Motor City.
“Michigan has some up and coming laws that are being changed,” said Joe Kennedy, sales manager for the convention, which will be held on Friday and Saturday at Cobo Center. “So we have two days of seminars with top people in the industry.”
The marijuana market in Michigan is poised to explode. The state is expected to start issuing licenses for medical marijuana businesses next month. And Michigan voters could see a proposal to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use on the Nov. 6 ballot.
So CannaCon, which started in Seattle in 2013, began to provide a forum for cannabis business professionals, holding conventions in seven cities over the last four years to provide information on everything from lighting needs for marijuana growing to getting financing for cannabis businesses.
The conference, which is expected to attract between 3,000 and 5,000 people in Detroit, begins at 10 a.m. Friday with a talk from Andrew Brisbo, the executive director of Michigan’s Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, who will speak about the state’s regulatory environment. The state has been considering applications for medical marijuana licenses, but has yet to issue any licenses to businesses.
Other speakers with Michigan roots include Matthew Abel, who is on the board of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or NORML, who will speak at noon Saturday. Dana Nessel, Democratic candidate for attorney general, also is scheduled to speak on the recreational ballot proposal in Michigan at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
In addition to the dozens of speakers, there will be an expo with 150 vendors showing their wares, ranging from marijuana paraphernalia to lighting and growing equipment.
But unlike conventions in states where recreational marijuana is legal, “this will be a cannabis-free zone,” Kennedy said.
Both the general public and people interested in getting into the cannabis industry —which is projected to be a $700-million market in Michigan for medical marijuana alone — are welcome to attend the convention, but there is a cost.
Tickets for the expo, which are available both online and at the convention, are $70 for one day or $120 for both Friday and Saturday. People who want to go to both the expo and the seminars being offered will be charged $175 for one day or $275 for the full two-day convention.
For more information, go to www.cannacon.org/detroit