Denver CannaBusiness Summit Lends Further Credibility to Pot Industry


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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Dr. Marlon Fuller has worked as a retail and hospital pharmacist for ten years. After watching Dr. Sanjay Gupta's documentary called "Weed," the North Carolina resident went live online with BudgetWeed.com, a Yelp-like pricing directory for cannabis users.

"I'm all about patient care, so this is one avenue that lets me continue to be a pharmacist but in a different way," Fuller told MainStreet.

Although Fuller doesn't consume marijuana himself, his brother-in-law is cannabis-enthusiast Calvin Cordozar Broadus, who is known in hip hop circles as Snoop Dogg.

"I have talked to my sister's husband about promoting the website eventually," Fuller said. "For now, I'm working on getting a sales force on the ground in Washington, Colorado and California."

Fuller is one of 49 entrepreneurs displaying their cannabis related wares as part of the National Cannabis Industry Association's (NCIA) CannaBusiness Summit at the Denver Convention Center June 24 and June 25.

"CannaBusiness is a trade show and opportunity for newcomers and industry people to share information with each other, unveil new technologies and discuss best practices as opposed to being specifically about investors and investing," said Taylor West, deputy director with the NCIA.

In launching the first annual CannBusiness Summit, the NCIA is paving the way in education while helping cannabis related entrepreneurs to expand their brand in an industry that's on fire.

"It's been a big year for the cannabis industry with the legalization of adult use sales in Colorado," West told MainStreet. "There's been an enormous spotlight on the industry in the last six moths and tremendous growth. This is a good opportunity to bring together leaders who are members of our organization and those interested in finding out more about the cannabis industry."

The ticketed event attracted an estimated 1,200 participants, including FunkSac CEO Garrett Fortune, who launched his packaging company two years ago.

"The idea came to me when I was in the military and wanted an odorless body bag to transport my soldier friends who'd been killed in Somalia and Bosnia," Fortune told MainStreet. "I patented and licensed it out to other companies. Now we're focusing on child resistant and odorless packaging for the cannabis industry."

Inside the exhibit hall, GFarmaLabs CEO Ata Gonzalez updated his entrepreneur friends about a $100 million deal he was offered three months ago at the CannaBusiness Money Show in Boston hosted by Marijuana Business Daily.

"We are expanding throughout the U.S. so we're here looking for growers in other states to license our brand," said Ata Gonzalez, CEO of GFarmaLabs, who expressed interest in attending afternoon panel discussions, such as Financing in the Industry and State of the States Series: Massachusetts, Illinois and the District of Columbia.

Three months ago, the California-based Gonzalez was offered $100 million after attending the Money Show in Boston.

"The money wasn't coming from the investor," Gonzalez told MainStreet. "It would have come from the public in two weeks to 60 days, but in reality it takes eight months to a year to go public correctly."

Gonzalez turned down the deal in favor of waiting for private equity to grow and expand GFarmaLabs's Liquid Gold brand. "It sounded like a pump and dump," Gonzalez said of the $100 million deal. "It doesn't feel right to merge into an existing shell or create our own IPO."

--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet

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