California Cannabis Business Expo

Stimulating Trade Show in March

San Diego's Sheraton Marina played host to the California Cannabis Business Expo in March.
MJIC Media

In the past couple of years, I have come to expect classy get-togethers when attending MJIC events, and the recent California Cannabis Business Expo was no exception. The Sheraton Marina venue in San Diego was the best of any cannabis business event so far, and the conference content was equally stimulating. MJIC is a holding company deploying a diversified business plan in the legal cannabis industry.

High Powered Management at MJIC

Are you concerned about the pedigree of cannabis investment management? If so, just take a good look at the management at MJIC. Kristin Fox from Chicago recently joined the team to run MJIC Media. She has and extensive background in the hedge-fund industry, for which she created a newswire devoted to the business.

Larry Horwitz is general counsel and a board member. He brings to MJIC 20 years of corporate securities experience and is the managing partner of a firm that also handles start-ups. Larry has both a JD and BS from UC Berkeley. These are the kinds of resumes one would find in a Silicon Valley venture fund, and I am not done yet.

Managing Partner Urban Smedeby, President Randy Shipley, and CEO Sturgess Karban all bring decades of investment banking and fund management experience with early stage companies. MJIC has assembled a team that is sure to dominate cannabis investment banking in the years ahead.

The Presentations

Attendees came from as far away as Saskatchewan to the north and Brazil to the south. The presentations were first class with wide variety. Ex-professional football player Mark Restelli went into detail as to how more and more athletes are turning to cannabis instead of harmful and addictive opioids. The former Miami Dolphin and ex Cal Poly San Luis Obispo star suffered a career-ending foot injury and wisely turned to cannabis instead of the addictive pain killers his teammates were being given. Even if you were against legalizing recreational cannabis, it would be very hard to argue against such a humane use of the plant.

AJ and Jen Gentile moderated many panels with expert flair. They are the founders of the very successful SpeedWeed, the largest delivery service in the U.S. They recently sold their company to MJIC. Both of the Gentiles have an extensive entertainment background and are very comfortable in front of the camera and audience. They have been featured on Bloomberg and CNBC as cannabis pioneers and will continue to work with MJIC on media projects.

MJIC President Randy Shipley (left) speaks with A.J. Gentile (center) and other guests.
MJIC Media

Kathleen Thompson, president of TomKat Communications,‎ a sought-after cannabis policy educator and policy consultancy firm from Canada, found the PTSD presentation particularly instructive. “Trauma-informed care is the future. Providing a compassionate model for helping not only veterans but also other people impacted by trauma with evidenced-informed cannabis care is encouraging.” Thompson used material from the PTSD presentation by Dr. Sue Sisley to advance her argument for compassionate care to a full house of human resources professionals at a Cannabis at Work conference in Edmonton, Alberta, just days later. (

The Exhibitors

Just outside the convention ballrooms and in full view of the San Diego Harbor was the exhibitor tent full of new ideas and enthusiasm. The latter was evidenced immediately as I visited the booth of Madame Munchies and caught up with cofounder Kim Geraghty. She has boundless energy for her macaroon edibles company, which continues to be well received.

A couple of aisles further in I ran into Santa Barbara people with MariBiz. This new software-management company specializes in helping delivery services. Santa Barbara resident and product specialist Christine DeHerrera explained that they hope to “streamline the process for business owners so they can focus on finding great product and bringing great service to their patients”.

In the same row, gregarious Jeff Fagan showed me his Tantra Vape line which he later confided does a huge “white label” volume of business. Breakfast and lunch were cleverly served in the exhibit hall so as not to detract from the attendee exploration process.

As I was leaving the event I took a shuttle with several investors from Brazil. They found the event very informative and were planning on putting their money to work with some of the companies that had presented. That is exactly what the skillful MJIC team sought to achieve.


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