Benzinga Chicago Cannabis Capital Conference Highlights Women, Minorities

Social equity, preferably known as equity empowerment, was the name of the game at the 15th iteration of the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference (BCCC), which took place at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on September 13 and 14.  Adult-use cannabis consumption, possession and sales of cannabis products are legal in the State of Illinois.

Through the BCCC series, Benzinga “strives to put a spotlight on the conversation surrounding social equity via panel discussions with organizations that are combating inequality in the cannabis industry, individuals who have been adversely affected by the War on Drugs, and policymakers who are leading the charge on writing legislation to undo the impacts of prohibition,” according to the company event’s website.

​Keeping in line with that mission, Benzinga offer​ed​ discounted conference tickets to owners of marijuana businesses​ that​ have received state certification for their social equity initiatives.

Women + Minorities

Additionally, Benzinga offers scholarships for women and minority-owned businesses. To that end, the company partnered with organizations, including WomenGrow, and Minorities for Medical Marijuana, to showcase their associates on Benzinga’s conference stages and in the exhibit hall.

One of those presenters included Amber Senter of Supernova Women. Despite suffering from Lupus, Senter leads the charge via her 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to empower BIWOC to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis and natural plant medicine space through education, advocacy, and network building.

In the expo hall, female-represented brands were out in full force, including Chicago Norml’s Edi Moore, My Bud Vase’s Doreen Sullivan, MtoM’s Christine Wilson, Illinois Equity Staffing’s Shawnee Williams, HerHighness’ Allison Krongard and Laura Eisman, Budwell’s Sara Hussain, and CannaBellaLux’s Tiffany Woodman, among others.

Women-led brands who pitched from the stage included House of Puff’s Kristina Lopez Adduci, Black Buddah’s Roz McCarthy and 40Tons’s Loriel Alegrete.

In The Ring

Apart from the strong representation of female brands, Benzinga also welcomed more than 150 speakers from top-performing cannabis companies. Three executives of Tyson 2.0, including the legendary heavyweight boxing champion himself, landed on the roster. While retired from the sport, Mike Tyson is now a regular on the cannabis conference tour. During his press conference in the expo hall with former iconic WWE superstar Rick Flair, the latter said, “I love being relevant; and being in marijuana keeps you relevant.”

Mike Tyson, Rick Flair at Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference

Benzinga’s VP of Events, Elliot Lane, is pleased with the level of participation from all avenues.

“Chicago was our 15th iteration of the Cannabis Capital Conference and second this year,” he said. “The turnout of industry executives, investors and media was overwhelmingly positive, and the response from our attendees has been glowing.”

The Envelope Please…

Of special note were the first annual Benzinga Awards. “Finding the best of the best in cannabis is no easy feat, but someone has to do it. So, we assembled a panel of high-level judges to help us determine who are the people and organizations driving the cannabis industry forward,” said Chief Zinger Jason Raznick.

According to Benzinga, the awards celebrate new, creative, innovative and outstanding people, solutions and companies in the cannabis industry.

Benzinga Cannabis Awards

The winners of this year’s Benzinga Awards are as follows:

  • MOST IMPACTFUL CANNABIS EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR: Ben Kovler, CEO, founder and chairman of Green Thumb Industries 
  • “BRETT ROPER AWARD” FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Nancy Whiteman, founder and CEO of Wana Brands
  • FRIEND OF THE INDUSTRY AWARD: Rep. David Joyce (R) of Ohio told the audience: “God bless you all for taking on this fight. I am going to keep doing my best to help you.”
  • CANNABIS ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR: Mary Bailey of the Last Prisoner Project
  • SOCIAL EQUITY AWARD: Desiree Perez of the The Parent Company
  • BEST CANNABIS LEADER UNDER 40: Luke Anderson, co-founder of Cann
  • ACHIEVEMENT IN BUILDING TRUST: Emily Paxhia, co-founder of Poseidon Investment
  • MOST EFFECTIVE CELEBRITY CANNABIS BRAND: Cookies, founded by Berner
  • CANNABIS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF THE YEAR: US Cannabis Council
  • CANNABIS LIFESTYLE REPORTER OF THE YEAR: Jon Cappetta, High Times Magazine
  • CANNABIS POLICY REPORTER OF THE YEAR: Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment
  • CANNABIS FINANCE REPORTER OF THE YEAR: Tim Seymour, CNBC
  • CANNABIS BUSINESS REPORTER OF THE YEAR: Jeremy Berke, Insider
  • BEST EUROPEAN CANNABIS COMPANY: TILRAY Brands
  • BEST LATIN AMERICAN CANNABIS COMPANY: Khiron Life Sciences
  • BEST CANADIAN CANNABIS COMPANY: Village Farms
  • HOTTEST CANNABIS TECHNOLOGY: Weedmaps
  • BEST CANNABIS LAW FIRM: Foley Hoag, LLP
  • BEST CANNABIS ACCOUNTING FIRM: Crowe LLP
  • BEST INVESTMENT RESEARCH: Scott Greiper, Viridian Capital
  • BEST CANNABIS INDUSTRY ANALYST: Matt Bottomley, Cannacord
  • BEST USE OF CAPITAL: Jushi Holdings
  • MOST INNOVATIVE CANNABIS LENDER: Pelorus Equity Group
  • MOST INNOVATIVE CANNABIS ETF: YOLO – AdvisorShares
  • CANNABIS INVESTORS AWARD – INSTITUTIONAL: Ricky Sandler, Eminence Capital
  • CANNABIS INVESTORS AWARD – PRIVATE EQUITY / VC: Mitch Baruchowitz, Merida Capital
  • BEST CANNABIS RETAIL EXPANSION STRATEGY: Trulieve
  • BEST CANNABIS PARTNERSHIP: TILT, which brought a true social equity partnership to the Shinnecock Indian Nation
  • BEST USE OF CAPITAL: Jushi Holdings
  • BEST M&A DEAL: Flora Growth
  • MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY OPERATOR: Geomat Patented Water Recovery Systems
  • MOST INNOVATIVE CANNABIS BRAND: Miss Grass
  • MOST INNOVATIVE CANNABIS SMALL BUSINESS: House of Saka – Cannabis-infused wines from Napa Valley

The post Benzinga Chicago Cannabis Capital Conference Highlights Women, Minorities appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Benzinga Chicago Cannabis Capital Conference Wows Participants

Social equity, preferably known as equity empowerment, was the name of the game at the 15th iteration of the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference (BCCC), which took place at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on September 13 and 14.  Adult-use cannabis consumption, possession and sales of cannabis products are legal in the State of Illinois.

Through the BCCC series, Benzinga “strives to put a spotlight on the conversation surrounding social equity via panel discussions with organizations that are combating inequality in the cannabis industry, individuals who have been adversely affected by the War on Drugs, and policymakers who are leading the charge on writing legislation to undo the impacts of prohibition,” according to the company event’s website.

​Keeping in line with that mission, Benzinga offer​ed​ discounted conference tickets to owners of marijuana businesses​ that​ have received state certification for their social equity initiatives.

Women, Minorities, More

Additionally, Benzinga offers scholarships for women and minority-owned businesses. To that end, the company partnered with organizations, including WomenGrow, and Minorities for Medical Marijuana, to showcase their associates on Benzinga’s conference stages and in the exhibit hall.

One of those presenters included Amber Senter of Supernova Women. Despite suffering from Lupus, Senter leads the charge via her 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to empower BIWOC to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis and natural plant medicine space through education, advocacy, and network building.

In the expo hall, female-represented brands were out in full force, including Chicago Norml’s Edi Moore, My Bud Vase’s Doreen Sullivan, MtoM’s Christine Wilson, Illinois Equity Staffing’s Shawnee Williams, HerHighness’ Allison Krongard and Laura Eisman, Budwell’s Sara Hussain, and CannaBellaLux’s Tiffany Woodman, among others.

Women-led brands who pitched from the stage included House of Puff’s Kristina Lopez Adduci, Black Buddah’s Roz McCarthy and 40Tons’s Loriel Alegrete.

Another Tyson KO

Apart from the strong representation of female brands, Benzinga also welcomed more than 150 speakers from top-performing cannabis companies. Three executives of Tyson 2.0, including the legendary heavyweight boxing champion himself, landed on the roster. While retired from the sport, Tyson is now a regular on the cannabis conference tour. During his press conference in the expo hall with former iconic WWE superstar Rick Flair, the latter said, “I love being relevant; and being in marijuana keeps you relevant.”

Benzinga’s VP of Events, Elliot Lane, is pleased with the level of participation from all avenues.

“Chicago was our 15th iteration of the Cannabis Capital Conference and second this year,” he said. “The turnout of industry executives, investors and media was overwhelmingly positive, and the response from our attendees has been glowing.”

The Envelope Please…

Of special note were the first annual Benzinga Awards. “Finding the best of the best in cannabis is no easy feat, but someone has to do it. So, we assembled a panel of high-level judges to help us determine who are the people and organizations driving the cannabis industry forward,” said Chief Zinger Jason Raznick.

According to Benzinga, the awards celebrate new, creative, innovative and outstanding people, solutions and companies in the cannabis industry.

The winners of this year’s Benzinga Awards are as follows:

  • MOST IMPACTFUL CANNABIS EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR: Ben Kovler, CEO, founder and chairman of Green Thumb Industries 
  • “BRETT ROPER AWARD” FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Nancy Whiteman, founder and CEO of Wana Brands
  • FRIEND OF THE INDUSTRY AWARD: Rep. David Joyce (R) of Ohio told the audience: “God bless you all for taking on this fight. I am going to keep doing my best to help you.”
  • CANNABIS ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR: Mary Bailey of the Last Prisoner Project
  • SOCIAL EQUITY AWARD: Desiree Perez of the The Parent Company
  • BEST CANNABIS LEADER UNDER 40: Luke Anderson, co-founder of Cann
  • ACHIEVEMENT IN BUILDING TRUST: Emily Paxhia, co-founder of Poseidon Investment
  • MOST EFFECTIVE CELEBRITY CANNABIS BRAND: Cookies, founded by Berner
  • CANNABIS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF THE YEAR: US Cannabis Council
  • CANNABIS LIFESTYLE REPORTER OF THE YEAR: Jon Cappetta, High Times Magazine
  • CANNABIS POLICY REPORTER OF THE YEAR: Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment
  • CANNABIS FINANCE REPORTER OF THE YEAR: Tim Seymour, CNBC
  • CANNABIS BUSINESS REPORTER OF THE YEAR: Jeremy Berke, Insider
  • BEST EUROPEAN CANNABIS COMPANY: TILRAY Brands
  • BEST LATIN AMERICAN CANNABIS COMPANY: Khiron Life Sciences
  • BEST CANADIAN CANNABIS COMPANY: Village Farms
  • HOTTEST CANNABIS TECHNOLOGY: Weedmaps
  • BEST CANNABIS LAW FIRM: Foley Hoag, LLP
  • BEST CANNABIS ACCOUNTING FIRM: Crowe LLP
  • BEST INVESTMENT RESEARCH: Scott Greiper, Viridian Capital
  • BEST CANNABIS INDUSTRY ANALYST: Matt Bottomley, Cannacord
  • BEST USE OF CAPITAL: Jushi Holdings
  • MOST INNOVATIVE CANNABIS LENDER: Pelorus Equity Group
  • MOST INNOVATIVE CANNABIS ETF: YOLO – AdvisorShares
  • CANNABIS INVESTORS AWARD – INSTITUTIONAL: Ricky Sandler, Eminence Capital
  • CANNABIS INVESTORS AWARD – PRIVATE EQUITY / VC: Mitch Baruchowitz, Merida Capital
  • BEST CANNABIS RETAIL EXPANSION STRATEGY: Trulieve
  • BEST CANNABIS PARTNERSHIP: TILT, which brought a true social equity partnership to the Shinnecock Indian Nation
  • MOST INNOVATIVE CANNABIS SMALL BUSINESS: House of Saka – Cannabis-infused wines from Napa Valley

The post Benzinga Chicago Cannabis Capital Conference Wows Participants appeared first on Cannabis Now.

California State Fair Announces Cannabis Awards Winners in First-Ever Competition

The first-ever cannabis tournament officially sanctioned by the state of California announced its first lineup of winners ahead of this year’s festivities at the California State Fair.

The California State Fair Cannabis Awards announced on June 23 the top cultivars and cultivators in California with a full list of award winners. Over 300 entries were whittled down to 60 trophies and medals, with gold and silver medals, as well as the coveted Golden Bear Award for the “Best of California” overall winners.

The Cal Expo Fairgrounds is home to the California State Fair, an independent state agency established by law under state statutes. This year’s State Fair runs from July 15 through July 31, however consumption won’t be allowed.

The science-based competition divided up cannabis flower entries across three divisions: indoor, mixed light, and outdoor. Beyond that, categories were separated by terpenes and cannabinoids rather than traditional divisions like sativa or indica.

Lab testing was provided by SC Labs to determine the winners in 10 categories: Cannabinoids consisting of CBDa, CBGa, and THCa, as well as Terpenes including Myrcene, beta-Caryophyllene, Limonene, Ocimene, Terpinolene, Pinene, and a “co-dominant” category. Every entry had to undergo California compliance testing requirements to maximize public safety and identify the genetics accurately. Each award winner provides a PhytoFact report.

MOCA Humboldt Head Cultivator Sarah Wright / Photo by CEO Matt Engel

At first glance, MOCA Humboldt, Esensia, and Greenshock Farms took home the most wins at this year’s competition. MOCA Humboldt took home gold wins for Wookies, Grape Cookies (2x), and ZOG in various categories, organized according to terpenes and cannabinoids. Ridgeline Farms also took home three silver wins for Apples & Bananas, Green Lantern, and Ridgeline Runtz.

Perhaps among the most interesting finds, Emerald Spirit Botanicals took home the special Unique category in outdoor for Pink Boost Goddess, which is rich in THCV. Joseph Haggard serves as Farm Manager and Public Relations at Emerald Spirit Botanicals, and his mother Katie Jeane bred Pink Boost Goddess.

“It is with deep gratitude and honor that we are recognized as a winner in the inaugural year of the California State Fair Cannabis Awards,” Jeane told High Times. “Pink Boost Goddess represents patient, meticulous, and prayerful breeding work to bring forward new medicine for humanity.”

Jeane continues, “Six years ago, I asked the spirit of cannabis how I could support its evolution forward and was guided to focus on THCV. Through intentional, spiritual, and scientific breeding work, I was able to identify and strengthen THCV in Pink Boost Goddess. To me, THCV represents focus, joy, a shift in perspective, and an opportunity to reflect on how we consume. THCV is known to help regulate appetite, improve focus, help regulate blood sugar for diabetics and reduce neuropathic pain in some situations. I think it’s important to recognize that cannabis has so much more to offer than THC, and THCV is an example of that.”

It’s through these lesser known cannabinoids that consumers can truly reach better healing. “By understanding minor cannabinoids we can better understand the healing powers of the cannabis plant. It’s amazing to see Pink Boost Goddess receive seven major awards over the last two years including two 1st Place Emerald Cup Awards, a most unique cannabinoid profile award, an exotic terpene profile award, the highest THCV flower in California award and now this award for most unique flower in California.”

Pink Boost Goddess provides an uplifting, joyful, and focused experience with smooth floral notes and a hint of peppery gas. Their flower is available through Farm Cut locations throughout California and through a few other brands listed on emeraldspiritbotanicals.com.

Others shared the fine qualities about cannabis that make them award winners, and how the event itself is helping to elevate the cannabis experience. “Adding cannabis cultivation, alongside wine, craft beer, cheese and olive oil, was a perfect fit with the CA State Fair’s history of celebrating California’s rich agriculture history,” said California Exposition and State Fair Board of Director Chair Jess Durfee. “We are excited for our inaugural winners.”

KOLAS Technology SBM, a subsidiary of KOLAS, will provide each winner with a registered digital certification via blockchain technology to authenticate and protect the award-winning product.

“We love the science-based lab testing involved with this competition and are honored to be a part of the legendary CA State Fair,” said MOCA Humboldt Vice President of Marketing and Sales Aaron Salles. “This relationship lends legitimacy to our industry and provides us an opportunity to educate people about the many benefits of the cannabis plant.”

There will be a non-consumption ceremony for winners at the upcoming fair’s CA Cannabis Exhibit at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento, California.

Esensia Co-founders Marley Lovell and Ben Blake / Photo by Syra McCarthy (@syranara)

“We are honored and humbled to be recognized for our craft, amongst top notch California cultivators and alongside the best agricultural products the state has to offer,” said Esensia Co-founder Ben Blake. “It takes three-to four years of meticulous work for us to develop a strain from scratch to sale, akin to winemaking, it is truly a craft process.”

Click here for a full list of award winners.

The post California State Fair Announces Cannabis Awards Winners in First-Ever Competition appeared first on High Times.