NCIA’s 2021 Cannabis Business Summit & Expo Reaches New Bar

NCIA Cannabis Business Summit thanks for attending Mike Rosati photo mg Magazine
Photo: Mike Rosati

SAN FRANCISCO – The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), the largest and oldest national trade association advancing the interests of the legal cannabis industry, hosted its 7th Annual Cannabis Business Summit & Expo December 15-17, 2021, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. #CannaBizSummit gathered a lineup of more than 125 speakers, more than 80 educational sessions, and hundreds of exhibitors for a national audience.

Forward-thinking education

Highlighting a comprehensive educational agenda, #CannaBizSummit featured two high-profile keynotes focusing on the future of cannabis and essential issues.

  • In a candid conversation with MARY Magazine founder Adrian Farquharson, The Parent Company Chief Executive Officer Troy Datcher shared his personal stories and enlightened attendees about his work to make an impact in cannabis.
  • Professional athletes Calvin Johnson Jr., Rachael Rapinoe, Anna Symonds, and Marvin Washington presented the second keynote, with entrepreneur Jim McAlpine moderating. The panel, representing former players in the NFL, Women’s Premier League Rugby, NCAA, and European Professional Soccer, discussed the headline-making question “What is the role of cannabis in professional sports?” Rapinoe, a former professional soccer player and cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of cannabis brand Mendi, shared how athlete-advocates can have an impact on key issues in the United States: “High school athletes are 50 percent more likely to abuse and misuse opioids. We need to discuss this massive issue and look to cannabis and hemp as alternatives. My hope [is to] spark those conversations across the industry and help these high school or collegiate athletes, who are just so susceptible to opioid abuse, to look to this space for solutions.”

Praise for progress

San Francisco was selected for the summit for its landmark significance in the industry as the epicenter of the reform movement. This year marked the thirtieth anniversary of the 1991 Proposition P ballot initiative that legalized medical cannabis in San Francisco, as well as the twenty-fifth anniversary of California’s landmark Proposition 215, which extended medical legalization statewide. San Francisco Mayor London Breed delivered a welcome address highlighting progress made in the city’s cannabis market and emphasizing her mission to facilitate industry growth and expand access to consumers.

“I’m thrilled to see the industry return to San Francisco, where the movement for medicinal cannabis use began,” she said. “We will continue to implement policies that make this industry thrive, so people have access to the medicine they need.”


#CannaBizSummit marked the debut of BLOOM: A Brands Experience, showcasing an exciting, visually stunning neighborhood in which attendees were able to see, touch, and smell cannabis products for the very first time at an NCIA event. BLOOM spotlighted a curated selection of brands specializing in flower, pre-rolls, oils, edibles, and more, presenting their premium products for visitors within an immersive sensory enclave on the expo floor. BLOOM created a key resource for retailers seeking brands on the rise and next year’s best-sellers.

“The debut of BLOOM: A Brands Experience was quite an experience, indeed,” says Shawn Pierce, president of events at NCIA event partner MCI USA. “As I walked from one booth to another, I saw retailers, manufacturers, and distributors from across the country interacting with brands like never before, with the ability to see, touch, and smell real cannabis products for the first time at Cannabis Business Summit & Expo. Through BLOOM, we’ve introduced yet another unique and exciting element.” 

Concurrent events

The 3rd Annual CannaVest West Institutional Capital Forum, the only national trade association-sponsored investment forum connecting cannabis companies and accredited investors, offered hundreds of attendees intriguing educational sessions. Panel topics covered brand-building, finding “unicorns,” global investment opportunities, the future of cannabis and Wall Street, and more.

In addition, the International Cannabis Bar Association (INCBA) presented five hours of education, with five CLE credits available for attorneys across two days. Education centered on the latest intelligence from the world of cannabis business attorneys and law.

Expo hall connections

An interactive expo hall included exhibitors from the entire cannabis ecosystem. Hundreds of booths allowed attendees to explore the latest technology, products, and services from seed to sale, as well as education sessions at the Knowledge Bar and Elevation Lounge. The welcoming environment encouraged exploration while renewing in-person relationships and creating new connections to grow cannabis businesses across the country in the coming year.

Founded in 2010, NCIA is the oldest trade association representing legal cannabis businesses. It is committed to promoting the growth of a responsible, sustainable, and inclusive cannabis industry and works for a favorable social, economic, and regulatory environment for the industry throughout the United States.