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Conference Program & Breakout Sessions

Wednesday, September 28 – Main Stage

Included with Conference PassAdd to Calendar

9:30 am – 9:40 am

Welcome Remarks

9:40 am – 10:20 am

Mining for Gold: BDSA Market Outlook, Key Insights, and Ways to Win

Join us for the first look and deep dive into BDSA’s freshly released Market Forecast (mid-Sept rel. date) to discover which markets are still moving up and to the right and which ones are falling prey to price comparison, oversaturation, or changes in consumer behavior and basket size. BDSA’s co-founder, Liz Stahura, will further dive into key state markets that are impacting the revised outlook.

Liz Stahura, Co-Founder & COO, BDSA
Liz Stahura, Co-Founder & COO, BDSA

10:30 am – 11:10 am

The Couch Cushions: Finding Money in a Tight Capital Market

With interest rates rising, markets falling, and investors holding back, we all understand that the search for viable funding is a make-or-break game. How do you beat the odds? Panelists outline best practices for pitch presentations, share tips on how to find and court investors, and discuss the merits and flaws of the latest creative funding options.

Dr. David Cunic, CEO, UCS Advisors
Dr. David Cunic, CEO, UCS Advisors & Investor Relations
Wendy Berger, Board Member at Green Thumb Industries (GTI), CEO & President, WBS Equities, LLC
Wendy Berger, Board Member, Green Thumb Industries (GTI), and CEO & President, WBS Equities, LLC
Doug Cortina
Douglas Cortina, Strategic Director, NorCal Cannabis Company
Megan Klein, Founder & CEO, Little Saints
Megan Klein, Founder & CEO, Little Saints

11:20 am – 12:00 pm

A View from the Top: A Fireside Insight Chat 

Executives from some of the cannabis industry’s most successful multi-state operators meet to discuss the current landscape, consumer trends, regulatory hurdles, expansion strategies, and how to invest in retail with an eye to the future and the potential impacts of federal legalization.

George Jage
George Jage, CEO, Jage Media, Inc.
Dennis O'Malley at MJ Unpacked
Dennis O’Malley, Former CEO, Caliva, and COO, The Parent Company
Gary Santo, CEO, Tilt Holdings at MJ Unpacked
Gary Santo, CEO, Tilt Holdings

1:00 pm – 1:40 pm

Buckling Up: The Impacts of Federal Regulation

We’ve been waiting for federal reform for a long time, but we all know it will be confusing and complicated. What will a federally legal industry actually look like? Who will be most hurt by the changes? Sheri walks us through the potential effects of federal legalization, then leads the discussion of best practices for preparing for the dust up.

Tahir Johnson
Tahir Johnson, CEO, Simply Pure Trenton, NJ
Ben Kennedy, CEO, Fable Libations at MJ Unpacked
Ben Kennedy, CEO, Fable
Kellen O'Keefe, CEO, Flower One
Kellen O’Keefe, President & CEO, Flower One
Sheri Orlowitz, Founding Partner, Council for Federal Cannabis
Sheri Orlowitz, Founder and Chair, Council for Federal Cannabis Regulation

1:50 pm – 2:30 pm

Is Cannabis Recession Proof? Best Ways to Prepare your Store for an Economic Downturn

The cannabis industry successfully weathered the pandemic, but an economic downturn will have a much different impact on our market. What should you expect, and what can you do to survive? Panelists discuss how retailers can fortify their operations to prepare for lean times.

Patrick Rea
Patrick Rea, Managing Director, Poseidon Garden Ventures
Ryan_Brown at MJ Unpacked
Ryan Brown, CEO, Groundworks Industries
wanda James at MJ Unpacked
Wanda James, Co-Founder & CEO, Simply Pure
Hope Wiseman, CEO, Mary & Main
Hope Wiseman, CEO, Mary & Main

2:40 pm – 3:20 pm

Get Rid of the Duct Tape: How to Organize Your Tech Stack

In an industry that’s largely barred from mainstream advertising channels, retailers often have to patchwork their tech stack to facilitate reporting, manage data, and retain and market to customers. Under these conditions, how do you build an efficient system? Here panelists discuss what works and what doesn’t, and which technologies are an absolute must.

Danny Gold CEO Zoltrain at MJ Unpacked
Danny Gold, Co-Founder & CEO, ZolTrain
Alex Bitz
Alex Bitz, VP of IT, Native Roots Colorado
Andreas Neumann, CMO, Jushi, at MJ Unpacked
Andreas Neumann, Chief Creative Officer, Jushi Holdings
Katrina Yolen
Katrina Yolen, CMO, CNB Strategies

3:30 pm – 4:10 pm

Retail Expansion Best Practices: Think Outside the Box

Building a business that merits expansion is a huge accomplishment, but how do you maintain that success as you grow? Panelists share strategies for expanding a single retail location into a powerhouse chain of stores. Learn from their success stories (and failures) and make informed choices as you build your retail empire.

Ricardo Baca
Ricardo Baca, CEO & Founder, Grasslands
Greta Brandt, President at The Flower Shop AZ and True North Organics/Perfect Earth Modern Apothecary, at MJ Unpacked
Greta Brandt, President, The Flower Shop
Melanie Davis, COO of The People’s Ecosystem
Melanie Davis, COO, The People’s Ecosystem + Founder, The People’s DAO + CEO & Founder, The People’s Dispensary and Smoke Out
Marty Higgins, CEO, Urbana

4:20 pm – 5:00 pm

How to Cultivate A Strong Fan-Base with Authentic & Unique Approaches

The coolest companies know how to create authentic retail experiences that attract diehard fans. But authenticity, by definition, can’t be copied. How do you build a compelling and original retail brand? Here panelists share how to create an unforgettable consumer experience–from merchandising to music.

Katrina Yolen
Katrina Yolen, CMO, CNB Strategies
David Farris, VP Sales & Marketing, Planet 13
David Farris, VP Sales & Marketing, Planet 13 Holdings, Inc.
Kika Howze, Co-Founder & CMO, Gorilla Rx Wellness Co.
Brandon Wiegand
Brandon Wiegand, COO, Thrive Cannabis Marketplace

Thursday, September 29 – Breakout Sessions

11:00 am – 11:40 am

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Black Women Get Us Higher

A candid conversation with black women who survived the war on drugs and their roadmap to breaking down barriers in the cannabis industry.

Kika Keith, Co-Founder & CEO, Gorilla Rx Wellness Co.
MsKindness Ramirez at MJ Unpacked
Mskindness Ramirez, CEO, Club Kindness, and Co-Owner, Our Kind
Amber Senter, CEO, MAKR House
Tiana Woodruff, CEO & Founder, Queen Mary

11:40 am – 12:20 pm

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Beyond The Hype: An Intelligent Approach to Products Backed by Science and Efficacy for Brands and Retailers

Terpenoids and emergent cannabinoids are all the rage, and we’re here today to look at the why and the how of this trend, exploring both consumer data and the science behind the hype. What are the actual effects of emergent cannabinoids on consumer experience? How do we reliably infuse terpenoids into products? Session panelists will discuss intelligent approaches to developing innovative formulations.

Kim Sanchez Rael at MJ Unpacked
Kim Sanchez Rael, Co-Founder & CEO, Azuca
Chris Emerson
Chris Emerson, PhD, CEO, LEVEL
Harold Han at MJ Unpacked
Dr. Harold Han, CSO, Vertosa
Mike Hennesy
Mike Hennesy, VP of Innovation, Wana Brands

12:20 pm – 1:00 pm

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Cannabis Lounges as a Vehicle to Elevate Retail and Differentiate Brands

Is the cannabis lounge the next big thing or just another passing fad? Can lounges flourish outside of tourist towns? Join us for a frank conversation about the industry’s latest trend. Here panelists discuss which business models make sense and explore strategies for building a thriving social space.

Tina Ulman at MJ Unpacked
Tina Ulman, Director of Brands, The Source, and President, Chamber of Cannabis
Brian Applegarth, Founder, Cultivar Brands at MJ Unpacked
Brian Applegarth, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Cultivar Brands, and Founder, Cannabis Travel Association International
Maha Haq at MJ Unpacked
Maha Haq, Managing Partner, Highspitality
Judah Zakalik
Judah Zakalik, Co-Owner, Zion Gardens, and Co-Director, M4MM Nevada

Friday, September 30 – Breakout Sessions

11:00 am – 11:40 am

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Build Your Brand to be a Household Name

Most cannabis brand owners operate in local markets and dream of expanding nationally. But what are the best practices for building a scaleable brand? How do you develop branding that will eventually attract customers in new markets? Panelists discuss smart strategies for building local while thinking national.

Ken Hicks, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, 4042North
Ken Hicks, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, 4042North
Bohb Blair
Bohb Blair, CMO, Jones Soda, and Chief Brand Officer, Mary Jones Cannabis
Brandon Dorsky, CEO, Fruit Slabs
Brandon Dorsky, CEO, Fruit Slabs
Punit Seth at MJ Unpacked
Punit Seth, CEO, Toast

11:40 am – 12:20 pm

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How to Keep People Happy

Labor has leverage in the market. So how do you find, win, and keep talent? What are the best management practices for fostering employee satisfaction and building a winning team? Panelists share their strategies for creating workplace cultures that generate loyal and dynamic team players.

Fellisa Rogers at MJ Unpacked
Felisa Rogers, Editor-in-Chief, MJBI
Matt Krishnamachari
Matt Krishnamachari, CEO & Founder, Purple Lotus
William McKenzie, CEO, Left Coast Holdings
William McKenzie, CEO, Left Coast Holdings
Tyneeha Rivers
Tyneeha Rivers, Chief People Officer, Curaleaf

12:20 pm – 1:00 pm

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Racing to the Bottom: The Consequences of Discount Culture

Cannabis consumers are growing used to a landscape of endless discounts and promotions — and some brands are reaping the short-term rewards. But how does pervasive price-slashing impact the health of the industry? Panelists discuss the “build to sell” mentality and what this race to the bottom means for both brands and retailers… And how we can stop the plunge before it’s too late.

Danny Gold CEO Zoltrain at MJ Unpacked
Danny Gold, Co-Founder and CEO, ZolTrain
Eric Block, CRO, Wana Brands
Denise De Nardi
Denise De Nardi, Chief Sales Officer, Native Roots Colorado
Collin Lodge, President CO, Schwazzee
Collin Lodge, President CO, Schwazze

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