Cultivating Change During Cannabis Industry’s Only Virtual Event

April 02, 2021

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Cultivating Change During Cannabis Industry’s Only Virtual Event by Taylor McLamb

While in-person events are starting to make a comeback, our Emerge Virtual Cannabis Conference & Expo remains a highly sought-after, safe, fun, and cost-efficient way to network and unite the cannabis industry.

Name another business conference where you can participate in a flash dance mob while still nursing your first cup of coffee at 10 a.m.

The cannabis industry sure knows how to party.

As we wrapped up our last day of Spring Emerge 2021, we kept with our theme of sustainability by providing a platform where attendees had the chance to exchange business cards and learn from innovative speakers while also bettering the planet by reducing their carbon footprint.

According to a study by Birmingham University, a one-day in-person event can produce up to 170kg of Co2 and an increased carbon footprint caused by travel and waste from printed paper, banners, and stands built for booths.

At Emerge, we stand by what we preach, which is in order to move the cannabis industry forward, we need to lead by example and make a serious change in our efforts to support Mother Nature.

As Knot Plastic founder Ry Russel perfectly stated in yesterday’s “Manufacturing for Sustainable Products & Solutions” panel, There is a ripple effect to our existence. We need to be conscious of this ripple effect and strive to do better.” 

Day 3 of Emerge started off with a bang.

Salvador Santana talking with Cannabis & Tech Today Managing Editor Patricia Miller.

Renowned producer, songwriter, and musician Salvador Santana kickstarted the day by talking about his socially-conscious lifestyle cannabis brand Vaya and his love for the cannabis plant. 

“I went back to my heritage — and to the plant itself, being feminine, coming from mother Earth — and I thought ‘Okay, whatever I do with this brand and with this company, it has to have feminine power.’ That’s something I grew up with, because I had strong women around me,” said Santana. 

Let’s Talk Cannabis

Due to the flurry of new and curious customers brought on by the pandemic, cannabis education was a hot topic for discussion. 

Laurie Wolf talking at Emerge Virtual Cannabis Conference & Expo.

During the “Opportunities in the Edibles Manufacturing Space” panel, Chef Joey Galeano talked about dosing for edibles and how misinformed people can be caught off guard for taking too high of a dose. 

“I am not the normal person, so I don’t ever think someone is going to need as much as I do. I just assume that everybody is going to  microdose. There are people who like to show off, show that they can handle this kind of thing, but with edibles it’s just a horrible idea. I’ve seen it happen more than once where someone has taken a little bit too much and gone to a really bad place,” said Galeano. “As chefs, we’re constantly aware of making sure that the edible experience is the best possible experience for each individual person.”

Laurie Wolf, founder of Laurie + MaryJane, talked about the importance of informing people about cannabis, and how having these conversations about the plant could potentially help someone suffering.

We want to be able to support our customers, whether it’s medical or recreational. I feel like we do our best to always talk about the benefits. I also talk about my epilepsy and my depression. I’ve learned more and more about my depression and about how cannabis saves me. I love cannabis but the fact is that cannabis has saved my life,” said Wolf. 

Creating A More Inclusive Environment

An urgent call to change in the industry wasn’t just limited to sustainability.

Minority Inclusion in Cannabis Cultivation and Business panel.

In Auditorium C, the conference discussed minority inclusion in cannabis cultivation and business, tackling topics such as systemic racism and how to make cannabis a socially equitable industry.

The panelists stressed the importance of real change within the industry and not just using social equity as your company’s tagline. 

“It’s important to recognize there is a difference between equity and equality. Equality means everything is the same for everyone but that is not the case, equity means different people need different things to succeed in this industry,” said cannabis policy journalist Raj Chander. 

Trustworthy Cultivation

There were a lot of opportunities for cultivators wanting to create a healthier product for their customers.

Getting Organic Certified panel.

During the “Getting Organic Certified” panel, attendees had the chance to learn about the rigorous process behind getting a certification and how it can promote trust and recognition among your customers.

Being a trustworthy cannabis company means staying on top of cannabis testing requirements.

In her “Cannabis Testing Update by State” panel,  Jill Ellsworth, CEO and founder of Willow Industries, gave an in-depth summary of cannabis testing regulations and discussed the importance of contaminate free products for immunocompromised patients.

Ellsworth stressed that cannabis is medicine and should be treated as such.

“How long is cannabis sitting on the shelf and are we seeing mold growth during that stage? More studies need to happen in this industry. It will be interesting to see, how shelf stable is cannabis? And how can we protect consumers as cultivators?”

After three jam-packed days filled with enthusiastic presentations, pitch contests, and a whole lot of dancing, we’re sad to see it end.

Thankfully, the Emerge platform will still be open for more fun opportunities for the next 90 days.

Creating this dialogue about how cannabis production impacts the environment is so important because every facet of our industry makes a difference on how we treat our planet.

From science to social equity to fashion, we all know that cannabis has shown the potential to shape humanity, but let’s do our part to shape the world as well.

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