Since embarking on covering the cannabis culture beat at The Denver Post in 2014, one that evolved more specifically to “luxury cannabis” in 2018 for Forbes, the niche completely clicked for me when I came across a new event in New York City.
Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference (LMCC) has had the foresight to recognize the want and need for refinement in a nascent industry, bringing together pioneers for an intimate, evening-only symposium (think: Bobbi Brown, Lord Jones, Malin + Goetz,).
Today, as it readies for a 5th edition (May 5 & 6, 2022), LMCC has grown into a must-attend (and recently named a “Top Global Beauty And Wellness Trade Event” by BeautyMatter) stop on the cannabis and CBD conference calendar for burgeoning brands, industry insiders, national media, accredited investors, independent boutiques, and big box chains.
LMCC is the only B2B trade show of its kind where founders have the opportunity to showcase directly to buyers from the most renowned names in retail (current and past participants range from Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Macy’s to Sephora, Credo Beauty, The Vitamin Shoppe, and CVS) and the finest dispensaries in the U.S.
After covering LMCC in 2019 and 2020, and attending in 2021, here are eleven reasons I’m making the trip again from Aspen to Manhattan for a two-day immersion into the highest end of cannabis.
1. The beverage buzz: Corporations like Constellation Brands, Molson Coors, PepsiCo are already betting big on adding THC- and CBD-infused drinks into their portfolios and the growing LMCC lineup for the category speaks to the opportunity for itself. In addition to hosting cannabis beverage trailblazer Jake Bullock (Cann) as a keynote speaker, the Official Brand Showcase will highlight up-and-comers including Aurora Elixirs, Get Supr, MXXN, and the pH balanced alkaline recovery water by Soultox.
2. The wellness wunderkind: Cannabinoids remain the “it” ingredient for beauty, skincare, and supplements and this year’s Official Brand Showcase will, in true LMCC fashion, introduce the most exciting new products coming to market. A sampling of brands so far: Plant-Based Mary Jane, CAASI, Pure Dharma, Oeuvre, Hunny Bunny, and Bliss Molecules. LMCC is also honored to welcome Equilibria to the Official Brand Showcase which recently announced its acquisition of Fleur Marché (also exhibiting).
3. Lifestyle accoutrements: Although CBD skincare and wellness has been a cornerstone of LMCC’s brands & programming, there has been a major uptick in participation among ritual-raising cannabis consumption accessories accepted. LMCC will welcome back technology and lifestyle brand Vessel (with founder and president James Choe as a headline speaker) and introduce new design-forward accessories such as Littlejohn New York, Mode, Smoke Honest, and Session.
4. Dispensaries go luxe: As legalization progresses, a new retail mega-channel has emerged. Now the new neighborhood corner store for the everyday consumer, these high-end shopping experiences offer the consumer beautiful backdrops featuring a wide range of brands and product categories. Don’t miss LMCC’s flagship discussion “Dispensaries: Say Hello to the Future of Lifestyle Retail” on May 6 featuring Hillary Peckham (Etain), Almaz Adeigbola (brwnbox), Thomas Winstanley (Theory Wellness), and Mark Barnett (Higher Grounds).
5. All-natural intimacy: Across the CBD category, the popularity of plant-based intimacy products continues to rise. Among the new brands providing cleaner sexual wellness alternatives within their overall offerings that I’m excited to meet are: Lady A, Mello, Xula, and LMCC returning brand High Beauty’s new collaboration with Blossom Organics.
6. Hooray for hemp: Beyond the plant’s most common application as a wellness supplement, skincare ingredient, and superfood, additional pragmatic uses of hemp can be used in sustainable construction materials, non-toxic cleaning agents, biofuel, and textiles. Enter Stardog, LMCC’s first-ever accepted hemp clothing brand, which will showcase its line of loungewear and footwear for men and women.
7. Mingling with media: Whether listening to insightful prompts from the best cannabis beat reporters leading the schedule of panel discussions or connecting one-on-one while walking the floor, LMCC offers an unparalleled roster of media guests. Plan on networking with journalists from The Aspen Times, Beauty Independent, Bon Appétit, Business Insider, Different Leaf, Forbes, Green Market Report, The New York Times, Oprah Daily, and more.
8. Investment insight: With cannabis currently legal in 18 states — and slated to take effect in New Jersey on April 21 — New York is soon to follow presenting one of the biggest investment and retail opportunities in history. Longtime supporter of LMCC Mitch Baruchowitz (Merida Capital Holdings) is back to present perspectives on the future of this multi-billion dollar industry, plus what’s next on the federal front. Journalists Jeremy Berke and Yeji Jesse Lee also return to the stage for “Business Insider Live at LMCC 2022: New York is Ready For You” featuring Flora Growth President and CEO Luis Merchan.
9. Spotlight on Specialty Food: In 2021, LMCC debuted a new Speciality Food category for its Official Brand Showcase dedicated to not only CBD-based ingestibles, but also welcomed elevated THC-infused confections. The craft of artisan edibles is still trending with Rose Los Angeles, Potent Kitchen, and Alta Via Crèmerie as exhibitors confirmed to date.
10. A return to normalcy: While we were able to gather in-person for LMCC last November, masks were still mandatory. I’m looking forward to putting full faces to names in May while having meaningful conversations with brand founders, panelists, and fellow attendees. Keep in mind that proof of vaccination (or a negative PCR test) is still required as part of the “LMCC Community Etiquette Commitment,” which also includes a venue-wide air filtration system courtesy of Molekule and a contactless check-in experience — all to support a thoughtful, conscientious event production.
11. Hotel highlight: It’s only fitting that one of the most preeminent wellness hotels in the world is located within walking distance to the LMCC venue. Located in the heart of Hudson Yards, checking into the Equinox Hotel is the perfect pick to not only make the commute to LMCC convenient, but also to recharge in its sleep-optimized rooms, state-of-the-art fitness club, nutrition-focused restaurants, and serene spa.