Two years ago, the world was a very different place. When I wrote about our inaugural Trailblazers event in 2019, nobody had even heard the word “COVID” yet — let alone imagined how fundamentally this global pandemic would transform the ways we work, play, connect and build our communities.
But even as lockdown has disrupted many aspects of our lifestyles, it’s also brought us closer together in ways we’re just beginning to understand. Nowhere is this truer than in the cannabis industry, where we’ve gained a deeper understanding of how much meaning this incredible plant brings to millions of people’s everyday lives.
In fact, we’ve seen legal cannabis grow to become an essential industry in a dozen states where it was completely illegal just a couple of years ago — transforming the landscape for cannabis entrepreneurs and patients alike.
These changes give us a lot to reflect on — and a world of new opportunities to collaborate, and build a more sustainable future for this industry — as we come back together for our first post-pandemic Trailblazers event, on May 10th to 12th, 2021.
What’s the Trailblazers event series all about? In 2019, we created the first Trailblazers event to bring together leaders in the cannabis industry, with the aim of elevating the conversation, calling out clear decisions, and taking leadership on key challenges in economics and sustainability.
That’s why the Trailblazers Sedona event is geared toward reflection and planning — providing a space for the industry’s most brilliant minds to gather, discuss how we’ve evolved over these past two years, and begin building the roadmap for a responsible future.
Why is 2021 a pivotal year for the cannabis industry? I believe we’re living in a critical moment in time for the cannabis sector. Recreational cannabis is now fully legal in more than a dozen states. New York recently passed a landmark piece of legislation, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which not only legalizes cannabis products but also provides state subsidies for minority-owned cannabis businesses. Even more conservative states like Louisiana are now debating full legalization.
We can expect long-awaited pro-cannabis legislation at the federal level, too — for example, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which will give cannabis companies access to traditional banking options. And while no US President has been a champion for legal cannabis, we're very excited about the wave of recently elected pro-cannabis senators, such as Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. These could be exactly the types of senatorial figures we need to get even more pro-cannabis legislation passed over the coming years.
At this unique moment in history, we have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from other industries’ mistakes and make the cannabis industry shine as a beacon of conscious capitalism.
What makes Trailblazers Sedona such a unique event? For cannabis entrepreneurs, there’s never been a more opportune time to come together. The past year has given us a deeper-than-ever understanding of how crucial cannabis is in millions of people’s everyday lives. At the beautiful Sedona Enchantment Resort, we’re gathering to take stock of what we’ve all gone through over the past year — and prepare to build the industry’s future on a solid foundation of sustainability and social equity.
In our post-COVID world, we’re already seeing a trend toward more exclusive, intimate events. Trailblazers take a stand at the forefront of this evolution, with a hand-selected list of key speakers, and a curated group of guests, each personally invited due to their influence and leadership in the cannabis industry.
While the event is already sold out due to extraordinarily high demand, you can check out the program here. The quick snapshot includes:
Data-Driven Business Transformations in a Post-COVID Era A conversation with Rosie Mattio, CEO MATTIO Communications and Ryan G. Smith, CEO LeafLink When the pandemic hit, cannabis companies were forced to make rapid and radical changes. The industry’s embrace of technology and data allowed it not only to rise but to actively thrive in the face of one of this century’s worst crises. As we turn the corner, cannabis companies will need more than just data and technology to operate better and faster — they’ll also need to adopt broader transformations that keep them ahead of consumer trends and rising competition.
The Evolution of Cannabis Legalization and Client Service A conversation with Brian Vicente and Christian Sederberg From Bush to Biden, and from California to New York, the cannabis movement and its industry players are no strangers to evolution, adversity, and a seemingly constant emotional struggle between angst and celebration. In this special Trailblazers session, attendees will join two of the industry’s most influential – and battle-scarred – attorneys, Christian Sederberg and Brian Vicente, for a walk down memory lane from their more than ten years serving the cannabis industry’s power players, patients, workforce, and consumers. Featuring anecdotes ranging from celebrity absurdity to milestone achievements in equity, and a look at new opportunities to come, this session is designed to inform, entertain, and empower attendees!
As you can see, empowering the industry to adhere to the Trailblazers pillars is just the beginning. We’re bringing together the industry’s top-level decision-makers — giving them a space to foster meaningful relationships, and craft a vision that can spark massive changes throughout this rapidly evolving sector.
Interested in an invite to the next Trailblazers gathering? Our next gathering is happening at the Ojai Valley Inn in Ojai, California, from Oct 11-13. We’ll come together to reflect on the increased acceptance of cannabis, and examine what that means for the rest of the industry — helping foster closer partnerships and shared visions among the sector’s top leaders and talent.
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