The 2023 Chicago Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference was a clear success! Every inch of the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile was buzzing from the lobby to three separate conference floors all the way to the “smoking section” outside on the curb. While doom and gloom are running rampant across conversations inside cannabis and the greater financial markets, optimism was surely the theme for the week.
There’s no doubt cannabis businesses are failing, capital has dried up, and interest rates have gone from “free money” to shocking hikes. For an industry that operates on a slim margin, every percentage point matters greatly. The California recreational cannabis industry is also seeing the end of initial investment cycles with investors calling notes and businesses struggling to acquire more funds. Even amongst all of this, there was an air of excitement, hope, and opportunity.
While this excitement may be biased as the majority of antdees are either looking for funding or looking to make money off their capital, there was no doubt opportunity seekers everywhere you looked. Being our first trip to Benzinga as RMR, we didn’t know what to expect but were pleasantly surprised to welcomed as ambassadors of cannabis culture. The big PR companies set our team up with interviews that further expanded our insight into the current state of the market which we found even more valuable than the speaking sessions. Not to discredit the programming, Benzinga set up plenty of great panels with qualified speakers.
Seth Yakatan delivered some amazing quotables during his panel on the industry. Yakatan mentioned, “Not every company deserves to survive… And in our industry, there are a lot of what I call zombies. There’s companies that you see and you go, that company is dead, but it’s still alive.” While this reality check may come across as harsh, Seth also mentioned opportunity exists – optimism strikes again, even if within parameters.
RMR was blessed in attendance with Joey filming interviews with cannabis professionals from across the map, with our journey powered by Treez. Take a look at our interviews below and stay tuned for more on the way from the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference.