The largest CBD and hemp event in the Americas, USA CBD Expo, is gearing up for its next show in Chicago.
After their “post-pandemic” return in April of this year, when USA CBD Expo kicked off a successful show in Atlanta, they’re confident they can do it again in one of the nation’s more cannabis-friendly cities.
We made contact once again with Marketing Director Nicole Beiner—who initially clued us in on the Atlanta show during an interview in April—to see what the plan is for Chicago.
First, a quick overview of the company and where they’ve been so far.
Established in 2017 by co-founders Jason Monti and Zachary Bader, USA CBD Expo launched its first official event in Medellin, Colombia.
This was before the 2018 Farm Bill opened up the industry considerably, but still, the fledgling enterprise managed to bring in about 100 vendors to this first show, which acted as a strong springboard for future successes.
Speaking of, each USA CBD Expo event brings exhibitors, attendees, special guests, industry insiders, and business partners together to elevate the state of CBD both where the shows are held and on an international level.
Since Medellin, the group has hosted successful events in Miami (2019), Las Vegas (2020), and Atlanta (2021), bringing in hundreds of vendors and as many as 13,500 attendees.
Paraphrasing Nicole’s comment from March, the mission is simple: bring everybody together in support of the CBD and alternative wellness product industries.
As the schedule stands now, the Chicago show in McCormick Place will be the last USA CBD expo show of 2021.
The event is scheduled for October 28-30, and per our conversation with Nicole, they’re looking to top 10,000 attendees once more.
Here’s what else Nicole had to say about the upcoming event (responses have been lightly edited).
It sounds like the Atlanta show was a success—how did it go?
It was great! We were apprehensive about turnout in a post-covid scenario, but we actually saw over 7,000 attendees come through the venue doors that weekend. Best of all, our data shows that more than 52% of those were industry buyers and professionals, so I think our vendors understood that B2B (business-to-business) networking is one of the most important aspects of our show.
In addition, our show featured current market trends surrounding CBD, hemp, and other high-demand alternative products like delta-8, kratom, and mushrooms. It was an amazing show, and a great reminder for us of how important these events are for the cannabis industry that continues to expand at a rapid pace.
The USA CBD Expo website points to favorable cannabis legislation in Chicago as a reason for picking this venue next. Can you tell us more about that?
Absolutely. We study the market before picking each venue and give a lot of thought to our selections. We’ve also always known that cities with lenient regulations towards new and alternative products like CBD favor our vendors and attendees. It seemed like a natural choice for us to visit one of the biggest cities in the world where cannabis is legal.
How many media partners, attendees, speakers, and vendors are you expecting in Chicago?
We are expecting at least 90 media partners, 10,000 attendees, 50 speakers, and over 350 vendors.
Can you give us a basic overview of the major schedule items that attendees can look forward to?
We will have professional speakers covering the following topics: “The Power of Medicinal Mushroom Extracts”, “Insight of China Hemp Industry Developing & How it Influences World Hemp Industry”, and “Ketamine & Psilocybin: How Do Psychedelics Work?” all of which align with our shift towards an alternative-products-inclusive event.
Additionally, on Thursday night we’ll be hosting our Awards Ceremony & B2B Networking event from 8:30 to 11:00pm at a local Chicago venue. Details will be announced as we get closer to the show.
On Friday 10/29 the stage will be having topics such as “A Retailer Guide to CBD Products” and the “Cannabis Chef Panel” which we are super excited about!
On the last day of the event (Saturday, 10/30), a few of our speakers’ topics will be “CBD and Children: What Parents Need to Know” and “Social Equity in the Cannabis Industry: Looking at Social Equity from a Lens of Responsible Community Development and Nonprofit Uplift.”
Is the evolving COVID situation still affecting the event-planning process as much as it did for Atlanta?
Atlanta was a success not only because of the experience the attendees had but also because we received a lot of positive feedback in regards to how safe the event felt for them. We are also prepared to take extra precautions for the Chicago event, which may include mandatory temperature checks, mask-wearing, social distancing, color-coded stickers on badges that indicate each individual’s willingness to socialize at the event, and more as the situation continues to evolve.
Any plans for after Chicago?
After this October event, USA CBD Expo will kick off 2022 by returning to South Florida—this time to Fort Lauderdale—on March 11-13th. Later, staying true to our international nature, we will venture to South America to visit the city of eternal spring, Medellin, Colombia, on May 21-22nd. Finally, to finish off 2022, and just like in 2021, we will wrap up with our biggest show, USA CBD Expo Chicago, on November 3-5th. So, it will be a complete circle back to Chicago to conclude next year’s schedule.
Between direct consumer feedback, media misrepresentation, and politically partisan disinformation spreading, we know all too well that one of the greatest threats to the CBD industry involves stigma-fueled knowledge barriers.
Anyone with the means can book a venue and line up a few rows of exhibitor booths, but USA CBD Expo is addressing these CBD (and alternative product) knowledge barriers head-on with pointed, relevant, and substantive speaking engagements from industry experts.
In support of this commitment to empowering and educating everyday consumers as well as industry insiders, we’ll continue to follow this group’s journey as they tour North and South America.
If you want tickets to USA CBD Expo’s Chicago show in October, click here for 50% off.