More than 27,000 cannabis professionals gathered in Las Vegas for a record-breaking MJBizCon 2018.
If you didn’t make it to the world’s largest cannabis industry trade show this year, here is a recap of a few important cannabis trends that will continue to make waves for retailers through 2019!
Cannabis trend #1: Dispensary design is evolving.
As demand for legal cannabis increases, both adult-use and medical retail locations are leveling up to create intimate, aesthetically pleasing spaces for customers to convene and shop. The booths at MJBizCon raised the bar for how the inside of a cannabis dispensary should look.
From massive in-store LED displays, to classy interior design reminiscent of high-end boutiques, to custom merchandising and sustainable packaging solutions, there was no shortage of companies vying for the chance to decorate and outfit dispensaries with the most beautiful and practical tools out there.
The message is clear: new dispensaries have a very high dispensary design standard, and existing dispensaries should consider refreshing their look in order to compete with flashy newcomers.
Cannabis trend #2: Expansion is the name of the game.
While big players from mature cannabis markets like Colorado, California, and Oregon were in attendance, emerging markets within the United States and beyond were the talk of the town—and if you’re not starting up in one of these newly legal areas, then you’re probably thinking about expanding there.
At our booth, we met medical marijuana retail hopefuls from never-before-legal states like Missouri and Oklahoma as well as international attendees from Canada, South America, and Europe. It was truly amazing to hear their perspective on the cannabis industry, and to see their readiness to ramp up operations and outfit their companies with all the right compliance solutions from day one.
Given the 2018 trends of multi-state dispensary expansions and acquisitions, the proliferation of cannabis retail sites will continue in all 33 states where cannabis products are legal. Will your company be one of the new household names?
Cannabis trend #3: Technology should work seamlessly.
Plenty of retail technology vendors were onsite at the conference, boasting unique features and capabilities, but one important question rang out over the rest: who are you integrated with?
Retailers came to us with many of the same issues we have been trying to combat as a cannabis business from the very beginning: difficulties with compliant tracking and reporting, frustration with system outages, and the general lack of communication between inventory management, POS, and consumer-facing online menus like Leafly or Dutchie.
Cannabis companies are moving away from rigid systems that don't play nice with each other, and instead opting for solutions that adapt to changing regulations and allow for cannabis data to flow seamlessly from one platform to another. Flowhub has always been committed to our open cannabis API that allows other developers to integrate with our POS, creating one simplified home base for retailers to use daily.
Cannabis trend #4: Compliance is a full-time job.
This year, we met more people than ever with “compliance” in their official job title. The cannabis industry is proving that following the rules is too big a responsibility to simply be a task or side-job at your organization.
Having a team member specialize in compliance means that you will always have someone to reach out to with questions, to cultivate much-needed connections with local regulators and public officials, and most importantly, to train every other member of your staff to operate according to state and local rules.
Compliance was such a hot topic there was an entire panel discussion dedicated to sharing compliance lessons learned from the real world featuring Joe Hodas (Chief Operating officer at General Cannabis), Sandra Elkind (Co-founder & CCO at STO Responsible) and our own Kyle Sherman (CEO and Founder at Flowhub).
“Having a compliance officer in your business from day one shapes company culture. You need a strategic full-time partner who is completely integrated to take you to the next level, instead of just telling you your labels are wrong." —Kyle Sherman, CEO and Founder at Flowhub
Whether that strategic partner is a trusted consultant, attorney, or your very own Chief Compliance Officer, channel their input to make compliance a seamless process for all.
See you next year?
All in all, MJBizCon was an amazing experience which we would recommend to anyone in the cannabis space looking to expand their knowledge and network! There are so many things to do beyond the conference floor, including fun after-parties, networking mixers, and of course, Las Vegas’ amazing selection of dispensaries open to the public.