International Cannabis Business Conference ready to touch down in Vancouver

Event focuses on networking and panel presentations, instead of on an exposition

alex rogers
ICBC CEO Alex Rogers speaks at a conference in Berllin | submitted

About 1,200 cannabis-sector insiders who want to network with international counterparts will have that chance September 15 and 16 at the Westin Bayshore hotel, when the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) makes its third appearance in Vancouver.

ICBC aims to set itself apart from other large cannabis-industry conferences, such as the ones that Lift & Co. or O’Cannabiz organize, by focusing on networking, ICBC CEO Alex Rogers told Business in Vancouver.

“We’re not an expo,” he said, making clear that his event will not be like the one that Lift & Co organized in Vancouver in January. Lift & Co.'s event also included panels.

“We just have a small expo. What we do is create an environment that is expressly made for networking,” said Rogers.

Like O’Cannabiz, which held its most recent event in Vancouver in December, ICBC will bring in celebrities to excite conference-goers and provide some fun.

While O’Cannabiz last December brought in TV personality Montel Williams, ICBC is bringing National Basketball Association champion John Salley, who is also an actor and entrepreneur.

“We have VIP receptions,” Rogers said. “We have an after-party on the yacht outside the hotel with DJ Muggs from Cypress Hill. He’s probably our most famous guy. We have a conference, reception, parties, mixers – we do it all.”

While the event kicks off on Sunday with an evening reception, the conference will be on Monday. O'Cannabiz, in contrast, is a multi-day event.

ICBC will have a morning keynote event that will take place at 9:15 a.m., when Pasha Brands’ chief communications and culture officer Jamie Shaw interviews the chief of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, Lori Ajax.

Some panels that follow solely include B.C.-based representation while others have international perspectives.

One panel at 10 a.m., for example, focuses on evolving B.C. regulations and includes precedent-setting Abbotsford lawyer John Conroy, along with legal retailer, and Kiaro senior vice-president, Andrew Gordon, and grey-market operator and Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary executive director Dori Dempster.

Other panels focus on the regulatory model for edibles, mergers and acquisitions, vetting domestic investments to ensure international feasibility, Canadian craft cannabis, international export and commerce,  and strategic partnerships. Click here to see the schedule.

ICBC has been around since 2014 and first came to Vancouver in 2016, when it made the city its first international location, Rogers said. It then came back for a second time in 2018. Its stops this year include events in San Francisco, Barcelona, Berlin, Zurich and Vancouver. Events set for the first half of next year include ones in San Francisco, Barcelona, Berlin and Bern.