The coronavirus pandemic has forced many changes in our society. For the cannabis community, it has put the brakes on conferences, smoke sessions, and parties integral to pushing the needle forward. But with vaccine inoculations beginning to hit their stride, it appears there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
But is the industry ready to get back on the road?
MJBizCon, the penultimate cannabis supply chain event, has quietly announced plans for an in-person 2021 trade show. Set to occur October 21-23 (several weeks earlier than previous years’ events), this must-attend conference regularly attracts tens of thousands of marijuana professionals, thought leaders, and investors to Las Vegas.
Another Las Vegas staple, Cannabis Conference presented by Cannabis Business Times, has also declared their return to live events, scheduling their 2021 show for August 24-26.
While both of these events are seemingly ages away, the planning is considered by some to be a bit ambitious considering current COVID-19 timelines. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the country, 75-80 percent of Americans would need to be vaccinated against the virus in order to achieve herd immunity. He anticipated things could return to normal in the United States by the end of 2021 if that number were met by the end of the second quarter of the year aka the end of June.
However, vaccine supply shortcomings and hesitation by many to receive the inoculation at all may hinder these efforts. Only 50 percent of American adults have indicated their plans to get vaccinated.
“I’m eager to get back to seeing people in person but won’t be making travel plans for me or my company until the pandemic is behind us,” said Evan Nison, Founder and Owner of NisonCo PR. “As soon as we think it’s safe, and no sooner or later, we’ll start booking tickets. That probably won’t be for at least another few months.”
“In the meantime, we’ve had a lot of success with virtual networking,” he continued. “It’s not the same but is still effective and obviously much safer than in-person events.”
A recent Leafwire survey found cannabis industry professionals are willing to attend events and engage in mitigation efforts. 79 percent of those asked stated they would adhere to mask-wearing at events while 71 percent of those surveyed agreed to support social distancing “at least some of the time.”
So will the cannabis community get together in 2021? The fact is it’s just too soon to tell. Until then, we must remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19 in order to sesh once again.