The International Cannabis Business Conference is the brainchild of Alex Rogers. An American with experience living in Germany, Rogers is now organising canna-business conferences in some of the largest legalising markets.

In the vein of other cannabis conferences before it, the ICBC brings together prominent people in the legalising cannabis space from a policy and legal perspective. It also allows top vendors to present their products. It is currently held in the United States and Canada. As of 2017, it has now come to Germany.

During the second week in April, the ICBC held its first conference in the country in Berlin. Attendance was heavy. The two-day event actually kicked off the night before. A reception and party were held at the Maritim Proart Hotel – a central conference hotel about a block from the river.

For the remainder of the two days, the event was a blur of speeches, intermingled with speaking with exhibitors. And that does not count all the networking and mingling that went on. The excitement level was high. Top people from the international industry were present. Nobody was going to let this opportunity go to waste.

ICBC Conference center Berlin

WHO WAS THERE

Speakers at the conference included policy leaders and politicians. Also in attendance were German doctors and activists. Many of them have been pressing for reform for at least a decade.

There were also interesting company presentations. These were a bit thin this year on the German side for obvious reasons. Americans and Canadians were also very aware that this is going to be a very different market. Those who sell to both recreational and medical users elsewhere tailored their approach here to that purpose.

What was very clear is that the German market will clearly be heavily regulated. It is also wide open for entrepreneurial endeavour of the kind promoted and encouraged by conferences like the ICBC.

It appears that the German government is also recognising this. Despite the fact that its highest ranking drug expert, Dr. Ingo Michels, did not show up to speak. Michels, a former minister with the Department of Health, apparently had a conflicting dentist appointment. However the morning of his absence, the first announcement of the tender bid for domestic growing was publicly released. It was obvious that he did not want to get showered with questions. Or worse. Many Germans who attended the conference did so because they wanted to understand how to enter the industry as growers.

When the news trickled out about the contents of the tender bid, however, there was a certain disconsolate gloom that settled briefly, but it did not last for long. Everyone at the conference realises that the German market will take work to open. It will also take a high level of international cooperation. For the immediate present, that will probably be mostly Canadian firms who benefit. However, some American companies also see opportunities here.

Most people also realised that events like the ICBC conference were also the best way to meet others with similar ideas.

In sum, the ICBC appears to be headed to establishing itself as one of the top international business events in the country with cannabis as its main focus.

Conference Press ICBC Room

VENDORS AT THE CONFERENCE

Vendors came from the U.S., Canada and all over Germany. Some of the best-known brands in the industry globally were there. This included German vape manufacturer Storz and Bickel. It also included the distributor for a top German extractor – Root Sciences. Others in attendance included event sponsors Open.vape and grow light company Heliospectra.

Cannabis media was also heavily present at the conference. German and American media included Weedmaps, Leafly and the media conglomerate Agentur Sowjet. It also included Freedom Leaf, the new publication from former High Times editor Steve Bloom. This is important for several reasons. The conference itself got national German press coverage.

However, marijuana niche media, which has sprung up in the last couple of years just about everywhere, will also clearly only expand. This is the best way to reach and educate users for starters. With a heavy focus on patient and doctor education in this market, in other words, expect that cannabis media will continue to be strong here.

ICBC Conference Center Berlin Meeting Cannabis sector

WHY YOU SHOULD PLAN TO GO

The ICBC is a professional conference. Right now, it is mainly of interest to those who are either in or want to enter the legalising canna industry. Expect that to also be the case for at least a few years to come. Particularly in Germany. Right now, activists can easily transition to businesspeople. Just as in the United States and Canada, the industry here is beginning to expand. There was very much a sense of that at the conference. Expect that to continue.

If all you are is “just interested” in the industry, or have recreational aspirations, the ICBC is also an important event. As a result, it is also very clear that the German government considers the ICBC an important event. It brings together the people it needs to launch a domestic industry.

At this juncture, there could not be higher kudos.

As a result, plan now for next year. The ICBC is clearly the place to be for those aspiring to have a place in the German industry. And also for those who just want to know more about it and show support for reform.

 

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