The annual Las Vegas marijuana conference is growing.
Watered by a spigot of industry investment and expanding legalization around the the world, MJBizCon is moving up the ranks of local trade shows.
The seventh annual conference, which kicks off Wednesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center, will bring more than 25,000 industry professionals to town for three days of networking and dealmaking. More than 1,000 exhibitors will offer an array of industry services and products ranging from accounting software to extraction equipment.
The number of exhibitors this year has jumped almost 50 percent from 2017. Attendance has increased around 40 percent and has more than doubled since 2016, when the show was held at the Rio. MJBizCon is now nearly as large as the Gaming Global Expo, the annual casino industry trade show that has been on the calendar since 2001.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimates the marijuana conference will generate $22 million in economic impact for the town as hotel rooms fill up, restaurants are booked and exhibitors take over clubs around town to promote their cannabis-related products and brands.
“It has just been on an incredible rocket-ship growth trajectory,” said Cassandra Farrington, CEO and co-founder of Marijuana Business Daily, the Denver-based news outlet that organizes the conference. “This is an industry that is activating extraordinarily quickly, and not just here in the U.S., and the show is a reflection of that.”
North America legalization
The North American marijuana industry has been on fire in 2018.
Legal U.S. dispensaries are expected to ring up between $8 billion and $10 billion of medical and recreational sales this year, an increase of as much as 66 percent from 2017, Farrington said.
California, the most populous U.S. state, launched recreational sales in January. Last week Michigan became the