Colorado’s multi-million dollar legalized pot and hemp industry has spawned a new cannabis-industry trade show, and it’s coming to the Denver Merchandise Mart this weekend.
Organizers behind Indo Expo 2014, who have partnered with the Mart to produce the business-to-business (“B2B”) trade show twice a year for the next decade, said Thursday that even though the Denver area already hosts what are among the largest pot conventions in the world, they saw a hole in that programming and wanted to design an event specifically for new and aspiring cannabis-industry entrepreneurs.
“Imagine you’re a middle-age businessperson who decides to invest your life savings in a cannabis-industry product,” says Indo Expo co-executive director Chris Olson. “You need a place to showcase your product, and you can’t always do that at The Cannabis Cup… We wanted to put a positive, professional spin on this industry.”
The management team behind the Indo Expo includes Olson, who is also a licensed Colorado cannabis caregiver, along with co-executive director Stephanie Swimmer, whose background includes engineering large-scale trade shows at the Javits Center in New York City, and the Denver Merchandise Mart leadership. They patterned the Indo Expo after the chichi financial investor conventions that are commonplace in Las Vegas and New York City.
“We consider Denver to be the hub of the cannabis industry at the moment,” Olson said. “But we needed a trade show for the professionals in the industry.”
The event overtakes the Expo Hall at the Mart, which means roughly 150,000 square feet are dedicated to cannabis business exhibitors along with seminars on such subjects as clone production, grow house issues such as lighting and fertilizer, and best practices in marketing.
There also will be entertainment, including auditions for the second season of The Marijuana Show,” an online-only ganjapreneur reality show similar to “Shark Tank.”
The trade show is reserved for industry professionals today and Saturday, and open to the public on Sunday, when it hosts a cannabis industry job fair.
“Denver is such a stronghold for the cannabis industry right now,” Olson said, “that we’ve invited anyone from the industry to come and walk the show floor for free.” Bud tenders, grow house staff, cannabis company managers and the like need only bring their Colorado state issued employee pass to enter the Indo Expo for free.
If You Go…
What: Indo Expo 4014, a cannabis industry trade show
Where: The Denver Merchandise Mart, 451 E. 58th Ave.
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday (industry only) Sunday (general public and industry)
Admission: Free to cannabis industry employees; $20 for the general public