Alaska CannaCon Roundup

By: Ryan Augusta

It takes very few steps to recognize the privilege that is Alaska. With a single breath of the crisp fresh air we were prelevated into the excitement that was to be. The Chugach mountain peaks gave us our welcome and Anchorage delivered us our platform. Together, with global entrepreneurs, growers, producers, retail savants, and representatives from every platitude of the cannabis industry, we united with the prestigony of CannaCon.

Though CannaCon is now the world’s largest Cannabis industry trade show, their role in Alaska had an air of generous grace. The excited and wanting were swept into a wave of education and entrepreneurialism that expanded all potential horizons. CannaCon Anchorage was hosted on the 9th and 10th of September, 2016. This second weekend of September stood in fortuitous angst to the State Marijuana Control Board approving the FIRST twelve marijuana retail stores and product manufacturers only one day before CannaCon arrived. Serving as a conduit of information the halls of the Dena’Lna Convention Center were whistling with innovation. Investors, Consumers, and Business capitalists all melded to arrange the next steps of Alaska’s Cannabis future.

Greeted by Alisa Marie Lester, the Ak: Canna Queen herself, the two day business-to-business conference spread from tech to accounting and consumer to collaborator. This show bakes the cake that we gladly devour. CannaCon has extended the invitation to a sweet expanse of entrepreneurs hungry to share in each other's ideas. Out of Seattle Washington Dave Rheins was the master of ceremonies; being both inside and out of discussions Dave offered an antagony of contrast and maintained a knowledgeable lead to every discussion. The expansive ballrooms were filled with market exploration and querying minds were satiated by the information shared. Classes held in the second floor Kahtnu room rallied more attendance than even the great hall. Many engaging speakers and classes were held throughout both days in this smaller setting.


Kim Kole of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association taught the Alaska Marijuana Handler’s Permit Certification Course. Completing this course granted individuals state approval to work within Alaska’s developing cannabis industry. Sunday the Kahtnu room gave us Budtender Training by the Trichome Institute. Every course or seminar left a long lasting impression on the attendees. Between the shared methodology or the demonstration of new integrated technology every aspect of the Cannabis future was presented. Each of the 65 vendors were perfectly directed to produce a successful experience for everyone. The space, in the center of Anchorage, delivered captivating vistas and engaged the visitor through scaping 360 degree views.

On a national platform the vision behind CannaCon is represented through a multitude of engaging partnerships. Sharing its valuable perspectives and engaging an expansive network of followers. The 2017 CannaCon Seattle and Santa Rosa are already being promoted and will surely perpetuate the progression of this booming industrial opportunity. Aside from the venue itself the CannaCon trademark have found a home with both the 25th Anniversary of Seattle Hempfest and Evergreen Fest headlining Matisyahu and House of Pain; effectively making themselves available to a gambit of marketable attention.

This forthright participating in the fundamentals of Cannabis culture and even further declaring themselves as a hand of service in the defense of Cannabis reason. In an interview with Dave Mesford, a Partner and General Manager of CannaCon Dave presented us with his grateful attitude towards his responsibilities. Defining common ground with the community and artfully mastering the presentation of truth is this Man’s destiny. Dave’s adamant pursuit of compassionate administration is prevalent in the success of CannaCon Alaska's actualization.

Immediately upon entering the massive Dena’Lna complex the three open floors towered above us. Draping from the ceiling were hundreds of amber wildlife carvings threaded through stunning golden lines. Stretching wide arms around the Tikahtnu third floor ballrooms a 6,292sqft terrace invited a quickening of anticipation. Everywhere we turned ideas were being proliferated. Sixty Five Exhibitors waited across the spectrum of Cannabis related industry. Every aspect was represented in full glory. We found amidst the booths Enlighten Alaska; one of the first retail marijuana stores recently approved by the AMCB. Carrying a strong belief in the positive, healing properties of cannabis these enterprises are making quality one of many first priorities. Enlighten Alaska took time to elaborate on the current circumstances.

As of yet the local municipality has yet to approve the delivery of Cannabis product into the retail outlets. The assembly is scheduled to meet October 18th to take the next step in delivering these licensed and approved retail outlets flower, edibles, concentrates, and topicals. Given the need for state wide inspection to ensure that all regulations and requirements have been accommodated the product seems still a far distant future.

Whilst among the same progressive movement some municipalities of Alaska have chosen to abstain from participating in the state law recently adopted. Fairbanks, Kenai, and the Matsu all have chosen to restrict access to Cannabis. As a struggle continues to incorporate this new platform of enterprise into existing infrastructures agencies and public servant providers continue to educate and teach about the potential benefits of Cannabis and its existing record of success.

In the now of Cannabis we strive to not only uphold a value for quality product, but also that we secure against its potential for harm. Without oversight there is no structure of accountability. We can all agree that in the pursuit of Cannabis endeavors we must have a fundamental grasp on how we administer these challenges before us. To not only mitigate the expected conflict or controversy but also the unforeseen responsibility we have to the progressive movement under our care.

Corporations, companies everywhere, and proprietorship's on every level are embracing the dynamic result of our communities expectations af diligence. Under this scrutiny we are moving forward with the legalization of Cannabis. Through enterprise we are exploring what you and I have always dreamt was possible. Between innovative packaging, to Green Energy Systems, Public Education Agencies like ACT, and even Grassroot Insurance companies are all jumping into this collective stewardship.


CannaCon Partner and General Manager Dave Mesford reiterates that we still have people in prison on Cannabis related charges. He urges us to bring policy makers and those responsible for our legislative representation to deliberate openly every aspect of Cannabis. Together we stood within a climate of change and together we found ourselves one step closer to a world where Cannabis is utilized as a resource to accommodate greatness.