Cannabis and technology — two of the Bay Area’s biggest exports — are about to become even more intertwined.
One thousand of the cannabis industry’s leading technologists, investors, and media professionals will gather for the world’s first technology, venture capital and media-focused cannabis industry conference, the New West Summit
Friday and Saturday, November 20th and 21st, at Parc 55 San Francisco.
Co-founders Jim McAlpine and Dean Arbit state there is an immediate, unmet need for a marijuana industry conference tightly focused on the most dynamic, and disruptive segments: applications of high technology, deep capital, and professional branding and content. As the tide of prohibition recedes, free market competition is leading to the rapid maturation and professionalization of the sector.
Legal cannabis has an estimated $10 billion economic impact in 2015 in the U.S., and the field is rapidly professionalizing and specializing. Thirty-five states have medical marijuana laws, four states and Washington D.C. have recreational cannabis laws, and at least six more states are likely to join them by 2016. Searches for “marijuana” on Google are surging 31 percent from average to a new peak this May. The newly legal industry booked an estimated $3.1 billion in legal sales in 2015, growing 35-55% over 2014.
“What sets New West Summit apart from other cannabis business conferences is the extreme focus on new and disruptive technologies,” stated co-founder McAlpine. “We are going to show the marketplace how tech will be a key component in the integration of cannabis to mainstream culture.”
The Summit’s two-day, 10-panel conference and exhibition will forecast legalization in 2016; funding trends; the next crop of mobile apps; the technologies disrupting cultivation, extraction and vaporization; intellectual property trends and more.
Panelists will include the industry’s leading thinkers and disruptors such as: Keith McCarty — CEO of the venture-backed Eaze; VapeXHale’s Seibo Chen; David Hua — co-founder of Y Combinator-supported Meadow; Harborside Health Center founder and author Stephen DeAngelo; leading cannabis industry media expert Gaynell Rogers; The 420 Games creator Jim McAlpine; Smell the Truth president Dean Arbit; and leading cannabis journalist and author David Downs.
“We see technology as the driver to much of the innovation and growth in the cannabis business sector,” said Arbit. “We are offering cannabis leaders access to established Silicon Valley innovators who will share their experiences and perspective first hand.”
McAlpine is a longtime Bay Area events producer most well known for the Snowbomb ski and snow sports events brand, as well as the new, critically acclaimed, cannabis-positive sports events series, The 420 Games.
Previously, Arbit founded and eventually sold the highly successful out-of-home media company, West Coast Outdoor Media. In 2012, he co-founded TRUmedia, which through its partnership with Hearst Media, publishes ‘Smell the Truth’ — the cannabis industries’ leading source for news and culture on SFGate.com, one of the top news web sites on the internet with 16 million unique visitors each month.
The Summit’s panels are being co-produced by David Downs, editor of Smell the Truth, columnist for the East Bay Express, contributor to CULTURE magazine, and contributing author of the best-selling 2014 crop science book Beyond Buds by Ed Rosenthal. Downs’ award-winning freelance journalism has appeared in The New York Times, WIRED, Rolling Stone, The Onion A/V Club, the San Francisco Chronicle and many other locations.
Tickets to the New West Summit are expected sell out and start at $395.