February 2015: International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco

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This post courtesy of David Downs of Smell the Truth, powered by Trumedia and SFGate:

Travel writer Rick Steves, columnist Andrew Sullivan, and the folks who legalized cannabis in Oregon this year are among those slated to speak at the International Cannabis Business Conference Feb. 15 and 16 in downtown San Francisco.

The event will be the first major 2015 gathering of business leaders, investors, as well as activists planning legalization initiatives in California, Nevada, Arizona, Maine and more in 2016, said Alex Rogers, ICBC producer and CEO of Oregon’s Northwest Alternative Health.

“Colorado and Washington State have already demonstrated the economic benefits of legalizing cannabis and Oregon and Alaska will soon benefit from new jobs and new revenue brought into the states’ coffers too,” stated Rogers. “California, with its economic power, will clearly be the worldwide leader in cannabis commerce if the state passes full legalization in 2016.”

Unlike High Times’ Cannabis Cups or other consumer-focused events, ICBC producers run a tightly curated, one-track conference packed with insights and influencers. Sullivan keynoted ICBC’s Oregon successful conference this year.

Other speakers include:

Dr. Carl Hart, Ph.D, an associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University who was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Nonfiction.

Anthony Johnson, the executive director of the Oregon Cannabis Industry Association (OCIA), and the Director of New Approach Oregon, which ended cannabis prohibition for all adults in 2014.

– Legalization proponent Rick Steves — America’s most respected authority on European travel. Steves produces more than 50 guidebooks on European travel, America’s most popular travel series on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, and a weekly syndicated column.

– Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Huntington Beach, CA. Republican who sponsored a successful efforts to defund the federal war on pot in the House.

Also speaking:

Amanda Reiman, Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance;

Dale Sky Jones, founding Board member for the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), and Californians to Regulate Medical Marijuana (CRMM), and chancellor of Oaksterdam University;

Dale Gieringer, Ph.D., long-time director of California NORML, author of “Marijuana Medical Handbook”;

Debby Goldsberry, co-founder of Berkeley Patients Group, and Americans for Safe Access, and and an instructor at Oaksterdam University;

– Sensi Seeds’ Ben Dronkers – a global cannabis collector and cultivator responsible for the blockbuster strain Jack Herer;

– David Downs, editor from Smell the Truth is scheduled to moderate a media panel.

Early bird tickets are $499 and the medium-sized event is likely to sell out, Rogers said. Legendary underground hip-hop icon and Richmond resident Del the Funky Homosapien will perform at a free party for badge-holders the night of Feb. 15.

Cannabis is federally illegal, but 23 states and Washington D.C. have passed medical marijuana laws. Fifty-one percent of Americans support ending prohibition, Gallup reports, and four states and the District have done so for adults 21 and over.

California is the country’s largest domestic producer of pot, and pioneered medical marijuana law in 1996 with Prop 215. About one in 20 California adults are estimated to have used medical cannabis to treat a serious condition, with an astounding 92 percent of them thought to believe cannabis was helpful for their symptoms.

About 609,000 Americans were arrested for pot possession in 2013, the FBI reports, at a cost of $3.6 billion in taxpayer dollars. Pot arrests are the largest police activity, by volume, in the U.S. Meanwhile, 60 percent of reported rapes and 37 percent of reported murders were not cleared in 2013.