The Emerald Conference, curated by the Emerald Conference’s Scientific Committee, returns in person, February 27-March 1, 2022 to the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego. It’s the first time the conference will meet since Covid-related restrictions began.
The conference is the longest running interdisciplinary cannabis science event and was acquired by MJBiz in early 2020. The two-day conference covers topics like analytical testing, extraction science, research and development, cultivation science, formulations and pre-clinical research.
This year, the keynote speaker is Dr. Daniele Piomelli, Distinguished Professor of University of California Irvine. Piomelli will kick-off the conference on Monday, February 28.
The meeting will include 20+ industry leading speakers, 28 technical poster presentations and exhibitors and sponsors with leading technologies.
I caught up with Chris Walsh, CEO of MJBiz to find out more about what attendees will get from attending this year’s meeting. The conference is run by MJBizScience, which provides a locus for scientific enquiry into the science of cannabis. MJBizScience is part of the MJBiz family of products, which also includes: MJBizDaily, Hemp Industry Daily, MJBiz Magazine, MJBiz Factbook, and the award-winning trade show, MJBizCon.
Jackie Bryant: MJBiz was acquired by conference giant Emerald in January 2022, which, despite the similar name, previously had no relation to one another. Does MJBiz’s new ownership change anything for Emerald Conference?
Chris Walsh: The Emerald Conference is a truly unique, intimate, focused and fun gathering for the cannabis science community – which is a big reason we acquired it in 2020. Our goal has always been to enhance the event and provide more value to attendees and exhibitors over time, not overhaul it. That is still true today under our new ownership. This year, it’s really about bringing together a key cannabis community that hasn’t gathered in almost two years because of Covid and providing the same experience that made The Emerald Conference such a success. Over time, we’ll be tapping into our new parent company’s expertise and resources to enhance the conference in meaningful ways.
JB: What can attendees expect this year that’s notable or exciting?
CW: It’s all about the science, which has continued to march forward despite turmoil in many aspects of all our lives. The event will feature the latest cannabis research from leading scientists, presentations on how new scientific developments are be used in cultivation, extraction and other aspects of the industry, and product innovations in everything from lab equipment to quality control solutions.
JB: Why is it particularly important to have science-focused business conferences? How does this one stand out in a crowded conference field?
CW: Science must be part of the backbone of this industry for it to reach its full potential, gain more mainstream acceptance in the US and globally, and ultimately unlock the full potential of the plant for both medical and recreational uses. Bringing together scientists to share their research and learn from each other – as well as connecting them with businesses that are incorporating science in product development, cultivation processes and their overall strategies – will help accomplish this goal. The Emerald Conference stands out because it is very targeted and focused. It draws the right people to move science forward, and it provides an intimate experience that encourages discussion and connections. That’s how it’s different.
JB: What can someone who isn’t, say, a scientist and isn’t scientifically fluent glean from this conference?
CW: While much of the conference content is technical from a science perspective, the event provides a lot of value to business owners and entrepreneurs who are interested in how they can incorporate science and research into their companies. There’s growing interest on the business side in this, and we’ve often seen that it gives companies an edge over competitors. This is where the side conversations at the bar, outside on the deck and on the show floor all come into play. Those who aren’t well steeped on the science side can gain a foundation of understanding through these conversations and connections, and become more familiar with the latest research through the sessions.
JB: Why is increased fluency in cannabis science more important than ever at this stage in legalization?
CW: One of the reasons we haven’t seen a change in federal laws tied to cannabis is because federal lawmakers and regulators are concerned about the lack of science behind the plant. Of course, these same lawmakers and regulators historically prevented this type of research on cannabis for many decades, which is ironic. But getting more real research and science on cannabis, and getting more scientists to take this plant seriously, will help move the needle when it comes to potential legalization and will be critical to eventual federal regulation of the industry.
Disclosure: Bryant is also a contributor to MJBizDaily