Call For Panelists At The Social Equity Session

Today we pause to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, truly one of America’s greatest ever.
Dr. King put his life on the line for freedom, equality and justice. He demanded the respect and dignity he so richly deserved.
And though I personally aspire for a truly equal society where we are all judged by the content of our character, we all know America just isn’t there yet. As a member of the privileged race, I’m hesitant to mention Dr. King at all for fear of drawing parallels that might understandably insult others.
Dr. King was a huge influence on me during my college days. I read Letters From The Birmingham Jail and marveled at his courage, and more so, his ability to have an impact. I was awe inspired by Dr. King’s ability to effect change.
As the year 2020 dawns, America’s racial relations haven’t come as far as I would have hoped back in the 80’s. To all who daily suffer the malignment and marginalization that comes with a darker color of skin, I want to offer one small ray of hope, an opportunity to work for social justice.
My company is producing the Cannabis Public Policy Conference. We have a breakout session titled Social Equity on Day 2 of the conference. The broad concept of social equity in the cannabis industry is simple enough – minority communities paid a heavy toll due to the federal government’s misguided War On Drugs. Now that weed is legal, this is an opportunity to make amends with those communities.
We still have a couple of open panelist slots for our Social Equity session. If you or someone you know would be a good contributor to a panel devising proposed solutions on how the emerging cannabis industry can lift up minority communities once disproportionately targeted by the War On Drugs, please email
Let’s all continue to do our part to achieve Dr. King’s vision for America.

Tips On Finding Work In The Budding Cannabis Industry

Looking to jump into the rapidly growing marijuana industry, what’s sometimes called The Green Rush? Here’s a few pointers:

1 Use industry specific boards like LeafWire: Here in Colorado, the Colorado Badged Network on Facebook is vibrant and giving community:

2 The badge refers to the badge all Colorado cannabis employees must wear when at a dispensary, a grow, or a MIP. (A MIP is a facility making “Marijuana Infused Products.”) Every state will have different rules, here in Colorado visit

3 Start networking. You’ve probably heard most people find their work from someone they know, not what they know? Cannabis is the same. Cultivated Synergy runs a great Meetup open to industry players Even better – Cultivated is a co-working space with a cannabis focus and roughly 100 cannabis companies in their community.

4 Be reliable. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if you just tell a prospective employer you’re reliable, that will be a huge plus. Across the industry here in Colorado, employers are having a hard time finding good employees who will show up to work. This is such a low bar to clear!

5 Be honest. You might say “Some day I want to try my hand with my own business, but if you’ll teach me what you know, I’ll give you two years of honest, reliable hard work.” I think a number of cannabis companies would take someone up on that offer.

6 Emphasize any customer service work you’ve ever done if you’re looking at dispensaries. If you’ve done any gardening, tell that to the growers.

The cannabis industry is in bloom. If you’re in a career transition and have a passion for weed, take a look at The Green Rush!

The 2010’s: Greatest Decade for Innovation Ever

A Salute to a Decade that Never Recessioned

The 2010’s started, on January 1, 2010, with the waves of the aftermath of the Great Recession still crashing on our collective psyche. It ends with the economy chugging along at full employment. 

The Decade of Continuous Economic Expansion was also notable as the greatest decade for innovation ever. Innovation now happens faster than ever. In the 2010’s we saw the rise of numerous new trends, not the least of which are:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Robots
  • Climate Change
  • Self Driving Cars
  • The Rise of China
  • Facebook / IG
  • Sharing Economy
  • #MeToo
  • CryptoCurrencies
  • Drones
  • Video cameras and survielance
  • And Space Travel

Let’s take them one at time:

  • Artificial intelligence

AI was just a Sci Fi fantasy as the decade began. As we close out the decade, Alexa sits feet away, ready to attempt to answer any question. She has a spotty track record, but I suspect she’ll get better. Far better.

AI is with us everywhere on our phones, its just a matter of time before its everywhere at work. It will make humans far more productive. Combine this with robots, and the future gets interesting!

  • Robots

Robots technically existed well before 2010. I bought a toy robot dog for Christmas in 2000 or 2001. It was crude, but it could sort of walk. The real challenge for robots was a bi-ped walking. They’re getting pretty good here as 2020 dawns.

Robots haven’t penetrated every day life like AI has, but they are showing up more and more.

Combined with AI and self-driving cars, the future of humanity could be really amazing if we just don’t kill the planet. Oh, wait.

  • Climate Change

Climate Change was well known in 2010. In a sense, it’s frustrating to find it here on the list of emerging trends. And that’s just the lack of political will frustrating.

The science, the data, the approaching tipping point, Climate Change has reached a gut check moment. Hopefully it’s not not too late. Because otherwise, the future looks pretty amazing.

Imagine how productive we’ll be in autonomous vehicles!

  • Self Driving Cars

Technically self driving cars are here. In day to day reality, they’re still aways away.

Tesla claims they can turn on full autonomous as soon as the laws catch up. It may still be a while before we know. But make no mistake, this is an innovation set to increase human productivity as much as any since the dawn of the internet herself. Americans commute times are miserable, and they keep increasing. For those of us who commute, autonomous vehicles can’t get here soon enough.

  • The Rise of China

China has been on the rise since Nixon’s famous detente visit. In 2005, as a financial advisor with a mutual fund house, we were offered trips to China as sales reward. So the rise of China has been long coming.

Nothing has really slowed them. As their economy matures, their GDP growth will likely normalize. But from their military to space to AI, the Chinese are trying to do something they’re not known for – innovation.

  • Facebook / IG

When 2010 started, Facebook was still mostly a college site and wasn’t yet on cell phones. IG hadn’t even started yet. 10 years later, Facebook has become a dominant force in American life, and it owns the richest database in a nation of databases. F’book’s DB is chockful of the whereabouts, buying habits, political leanings and relationships of every American. Even those who have no accounts.

  • Sharing Economy

From AirBnb and VRBO revolutionzing hotels and neighborhoods to Uber and Lyft transforming car ownership and how we commute to co-working spaces maximizing our offices, the sharing economy is expanding rapidly and shows no signs of slowing.

Sharing is good. Turns out it’s good for productivity too.

  • #MeToo

The #MeToo hashtag actually took over a year before it went viral, perhaps an ironic reflection of the frustration of some victims of sexual harassment who report the crime only to see nothing happen. The frustrations of countless victims – including numerous men – poured out with the #MeToo movement. A Supreme Court nomination got caught up in the furor, making all look bad. Hopefully changes will make us better as a society, such as clear reporting guidelines, along with grace and sympathy toward victims who bravely come forward.

  • CryptoCurrencies

The processing power needed for blockchain tech was rather pricey until this decade, and within this short 10 year span, cryptocurrencies like BitCoin and Eithereum saw a huge run up followed by a spectacular crash – multiple times. Some still debate whether or not these are even currencies, but they clearly are stores of value, as many thousands currently use both currencies every day.

Many issues remain, like ease of use (it’s still too complicated for Mom) and criminal usage (the main driver of crypto activity right now). But there’s huge upside potential for this still quirky tech.

  • Drones

Entering the decade, the only drones were owned by the Pentagon and they dropped bombs on people. Now a drone costs less than $50, you just can’t fly them in the wind. Or a steady breeze.

Some day they might carry packages, even people. Right now, they take amazing videos. And annoy people. And that seems to be about it. Right now.

  • Video cameras and survielance

When the decade started, video cameras were out there, and video cameras had been making an impact on society since at least 1991 and the infamous Rodney King beating. So in a sense, this isn’t one that completely arose in the 2010’s like InstaGram or AI.

There was an explosion of video in a couple of key facets. For one, cell phone cameras went from barely legible to pro quality. Everyone has one all the time. Life will never be the same.

Snoop Dogg or Willie Nelson?

At our Cannabis Public Policy Conference next March, on Day 2, we have a Round Table discussion planned. The idea is to create a nice exclusive lunch for VIP ticket holders in a casual setting while 4-6 top thought leaders in the industry sit at a Round Table and discuss the state of cannabis and where they see it all headed.

It got me thinking: Let’s invite some of the top names in cannabis. After all, the worst they can say is no.

So the question to you is simple: If you could have anyone you wanted at a Round Table discussion about weed, who would you vote for?

Snoop Dogg or Willie Nelson?

Woody Harrelson or Kathy Bates?

President Trump or Governor Polis?

Someone else? Let us know in the comments below, or email us at

Thanks for playing!

How To Maximize Time At A Conference

Your company invested a lot of money in your tickets and travel so you can experience an amazing conference! Make the most of this tremendous opportunity!

1  Arrive prepared. You remembered your business cards, right? Don’t leave them in the hotel room! And don’t tell people you forgot them. If you have cards on you but don’t want to give one to the person asking, say “Why do you want my card?” Don’t lie and look unprepared. If you do forget your cards, something like “I’ve run out, give me yours and I’ll email you my info” will suffice.

2  Follow up.  If you say you’re going to call them, call them. More people who tell me they’re going to call me don’t than actually do. If you’re not 100% sure you’re going to call them, don’t them you’ll call them! Also, the half life on a brief introduction at a conference where they meet dozens of people a day is very short. Literally 24-72 hours. Always call the next day, and leave a voice mail. Even better – call same day.

3  The shy go hungry.  A conference is no time to get all introverted on us! Use these tips to push yourself out of your comfort zone:

  • Stand, don’t sit. You’re much more approachable standing there.
  • Use a simple opener designed to both picque their curiosity while also expressing interest in them. “Hi, I’m Michael, I run conferences for a living. What do you do?”
  • Walk up to people standing alone. Like you, they are probably standing there thinking “Who can I talk to here?”
  • Walk up to small groups and stand there quietly. Remember the party rule – no talking until you’ve been there at least 1-2 minutes and have some idea of the topic you’ve interjected yourself into.
  • Make eye contact. This is so important. Stare at the bridge of their nose if direct eye on eye contact is too much at first.
  • Don’t judge people by their clothing, age, gender or skin color. Just walk up to the nearest person not in a conversation and try your opener.

4  Have a firm handshake. Work on your hand shake. Don’t grab my hand too early. Don’t be a limp fish. You’re here to move your company forward with confidence!

5  Have your 30 second commercial down pat. If you wake up cold at 3AM, you should be able to tell us, in 30 seconds or less, what your company does, with a closing question like “Is your company looking to increase sales?” or “Do you think a faster system might save your company money?”

6  Ask questions! The best way to show genuine interest in others is to ask questions. “Where are you from?” is an easy one. Have strategic questions at hand like “I don’t suppose a widget that would save your company time is something you and your team would want to hear more about?”

7  Book appointments on the spot. Everyone carries their calendar nowadays, it’s in their pocket. Pull out your phone and say “Do you just want to book a time to meet right now?” Use this only when the other person suggests you follow up or otherwise expresses interest.

8  Dig a little. If your opener about a better widget got them talking, then this is it, this is your moment! Wallow in it, don’t rush out. Ask who makes buying decisions in their office. If they say “I do” ask if there’s anyone else they consult, because there almost always is. Get that name! Ask about that person. Ask about the best way to follow up. Ask if the company is rolling out anything new. You won’t find a prospect at every networking opportunity. When you do, work it baby!

9  Keep moving. It’s human nature to find someone you like and hang with them all night. Don’t. You’re at work. If you’ve been talking to someone for 5 minutes, you should know if they’re a prospect or not. If they aren’t, politely move on.

10  Don’t drink alcohol. When you walk in, the first instinct for many of us is to go up to the bar. Don’t. Alcohol in your hands does not make you look more professional. Alcohol on your breath doesn’t make you smell professional. Alcohol in your system doesn’t sharpen your sales pitch. And a hangover tomorrow will hold you back. Alcohol is a depressant. Celebrate once you’re back home.

11  Go first. All of us in sales want referrals. I often try to give away a referral on the spot. I’ll ask “What’s a good customer look like for you?” and then I listen as best I can while racking my brain for someone I know who fits their ideal customer profile. If you give 10 people at the conference a referral, you’ll make 10 friends and get 3-7 referrals back. And it won’t cost you a dime.

12  Ask before you blast. We all want to grow our email blast lists. But don’t just add every email from every card you picked up. Ask people, and if they say yes, they want your blast emails, then add them.

One last thought:

Don’t be afraid to walk out of a lame presentation. Half the presentations will be below average. Even a really good one may turn out to be irrelevant to your company or your day to day duties. Walk out and reclaim the balance of the time. Grab a snack, look for someone with a similar badge, strike up a conversation.

A good conference can reap a good return on investment – if you work it.

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