A personal look back at this year’s CCC

By Herbert M. Green

For me personally, the 2019 edition of the Cannabis Capital Convention was a success. That it would be, however, wasn’t a given. Far from it actually. The cannabis industry has hit its first real bump in the road since the legalisation-train picked up steam. Stocks are down and investors are getting nervous. Some are even forecasting a bubble burst on a scale that could dwarf the Dotcom Bubble. This tension on the cannabis stock market was reflected in CCC’s ticket sales. Where the first edition in 2018 attracted over 280 interested investors when spirits and stocks were high, the 2019 edition filled only about 200 seats. And yet, this year’s edition was, in my eyes, the much more successful version. Here’s why. 

You see, I am a researcher and writer with a passion for cannabis. I have, at times, even gone as far as calling myself a cannaisseur as well as, dare I say it, an activist. And In the world of capital and stock markets, activism is almost a dirty word.     

I may not be an activist on the merits of time or accomplishments, but I have been actively promoting the positive aspects of the plant for over 5 years now. I don’t have an MBA nor do I have a stock portfolio. For all intents and purposes, I should be disgusted by the idea that bigwigs and powerbrokers are cornering the market on cannabis and claiming it as their own green cash cow. But, I’m not. At least, not after attending the CCC. 

Because what I took away from this year’s convention is hope. Hope that there are still honourable bigwigs out there. Hope that their end goal aligns with that of canna-enthusiasts: affordable, quality (medicinal) flowers for everyone. Sure, there are a lot of individuals in the industry who regard cannabis as nothing more than a way to get rich quick and fluff up their portfolios, but I don’t think there were a lot of those individuals present at this year’s CCC.

This hope stems from, seeing and hearing with my own eyes and ears, that there are people out there that have put their MBAs and their capital to good use, towards getting cannabis-based medical care where it’s lacking.       

People like Diederik van der Reijt for instance, with a passionate narrative about Cannakids, an organisation that provides affordable cannabis-derived medicine for children in need. Or Philip van den Berg from Halo, who, in conjunction with his lifelong career in capital management, still strives to change laws and make cannabis legal and accessible for everyone, through what he calls, corporate activism. 

There is also hope for those who think that activism can’t bear fruit. Take Jaïr Velleman’s life story for example. He started out as a grower and activist, founded a small company in grow lights, only to sell that company years later for a hefty sum. 

Even for those who are heavily invested in the cannabis market, there is still hope according to Multiverse Capital & 3C Consulting CEO Nic Easley. If he’s to be believed we only have to wait for the seed-money hungry giants to fall and allow the market to stabilise. With some proper research and a whole lot of common sense, those interested in investing should be able to anticipate which companies will be left standing and pick a winner.    

Another thing I took away from attending the 2019 CCC was the fact that people like me, activists, tend to forget one crucial thing; without big capital, we wouldn’t even be having a legalisation debate. At least not on this level and global scale.

Maybe it’s time for activists and big capital to work more closely together, instead of snubbing each other.

Sure, not every activist is easy to work with nor does every MBA have altruistic intentions, but somewhere in the middle there is room to come together. And that gives me hope for a greener future.