Having been to about nine or 10 medical marijuana conferences, events, meetings and parties in recent weeks, I have to say that I was quite surprised when I walked into the registration area this morning at DealFlow Media’s Medical Marijuana Conference 2011 in San Francisco.
As I mentioned in this post, most of these affairs have a very casual feel. Not this one. I actually feel somewhat underdressed in a long-sleeve button-up shirt and black pants. I’d venture to guess that more than half of the male attendees are wearing suits or at least ties. Most of the women are dressed very professionally as well. Then of course you do have a guy or two in shorts and at least one attendee who looks like he just rolled out of bed, smoked a joint, threw on a T-shirt and baseball cap and wandered down to the conference. But the vast majority of attendees are dressed for success.
I’m not passing judgement on the guys in shorts or the stoner who stands out in the crowd. Far from it. I’m just saying that this conference has a very professional vibe. If I had been staying at the Hotel Nikko as a guest and accidentally stumbled into the conference ballroom, I’d think I had walked into a meeting of financial executives or bankers.
The turnout is also impressive. I’d venture to guess that an average of about 120 to 130 people are attending each of the main sessions and another two dozen can be found milling about near the food just outside the conference room. Some of the attendees are sponsors of the event, speakers and reporters. But there are a fair share of people who paid the steep $595 registration fee.
This a good sign. These types of events show that medical marijuana is a serious business, much like any other industry out there. And that can only help dispensary owners and the sector as a whole.
Chris Walsh is the editor of Medical Marijuana Business Daily