Observations from the New England Cannabis Convention (NECANN) in Boston
CannaBlog by Kevin Collins, Senior Consultant, Bridge West CPAs & Advisors to the Cannabis Industry
The New England Cannabis Convention (NECANN) kicked off its convention season on Friday, March 18, 2022, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA. With COVID restrictions eased, a large number of cannabis industry attendees, ranging from business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, educators, patients, advocates, and consumers, were expected to attend this event. The atmosphere was lively, and the energy was vibrant as many exhibitors and attendees were eager to participate and arrived early at the convention center. This was my first in-person cannabis event since January 2020, and I was excited to walk the exhibition floor and see the wide variety of cannabis companies looking to promote their businesses and services. There was a strong presence of Massachusetts cannabis companies, ranging from large MSO branded vape and edible companies to local growers and single store dispensary owners. The Massachusetts cannabis market has grown exponentially over the last two years. This growth was displayed via the wide range of dispensary exhibits that represented stores ranging from the Berkshires to Cape Cod. As more towns allow for cannabis licenses, the supply of retail cannabis is catching up with demand in the state. Outside of the plant-touching businesses that anchored much of the expo floor, many ancillary businesses were also well-represented.
Various industries had multiple companies present, including banking, packaging, energy, horticulture supplies, lighting, testing, security, and insurance. These companies were mainly from Massachusetts, but businesses from states like California, Texas, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, and Ohio were also represented. The geographic reach and footprint of the cannabis industry are national in scope, and Massachusetts is a state where these companies are operating and looking to expand.
I found several industries particularly interesting, including cannabis testing and energy efficiency services. Cannabis testing companies are currently operating across different states with different rules, and the lack of Federal input leads to confusing testing standards. These companies must be responsive as laws change, and expectations can shift rapidly. Testing companies are critical to the growth and trust of the cannabis industry, and they were well-represented at NECANN-Boston. Energy efficiency was also a top priority as energy prices are a significant cost and concern to cannabis companies. The companies represented at NECANN provide a range of services, including utility audits, bulk power purchasing, solar conversions, and more. Their services will continue to play a vital role in the space as environmental and cost-saving measures are essential to the industry’s sustainable growth.
NECANN 2022 Boston was a ‘breath of fresh air’ in the cannabis space! It was exciting to see so many industry professionals meet face-to-face in the Northeast once again. The Massachusetts cannabis market has established itself as one of the largest in the country. It will continue to expand as more growers and retailers open and enter the space. In addition, with the legalization of adult-use cannabis in neighboring markets like Connecticut and New York/New Jersey, the Northeast is expected to be a significant focal point of the cannabis industry for the foreseeable future. This heightened interest will fuel more industry conferences and conventions, and I look forward to representing Bridge West at these events.