In an industry that has gradually taken up the mantle of educating its consumers from within, event planning companies like USA CBD Expo are vital to keeping safety and quality standards high, bringing brands and consumers together, and increasing pressure on governments to acknowledge and regulate CBD.
USA CBD Expo has come to several major cities in North and South America since the beginning of the CBD boom, and thanks to the widespread support of their thousands of attendees, they’ve been able to carry their momentum through the pandemic.
With their upcoming Atlanta show about two months away (6/11-13), USA CBD Expo is getting the word out to as many people as possible while working diligently to ensure a safe and successful event.
We spoke with Marketing Director Nicole Beiner about the Atlanta show, previous shows, and the company in general.
Before sharing what we learned from our conversation, a quick overview of USA CBD Expo and what exactly they do.
Co-founders Jason Monti and Zachary Bader started their event planning company, USA CBD Expo, in 2017 to elevate plant-derived hemp and CBD products across the Americas.
They kicked off their first event (as USA CBD Expo) in Medellin, Colombia, where cannabis legislation was—and still is—making rapid strides.
This first show was sizable, featuring 100 vendors, but as Beiner told us, the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill the year after paved the way for much bigger shows that helped to cement USA CBD Expo’s reputation as a serious name within the industry.
As the largest CBD and hemp event in North and South America, USA CBD Expo brings hundreds of exhibitors from top-tier brands together with thousands of attendees at large-scale events.
As Beiner puts it, the events are meant to be “like a surge, finally getting everybody in one place—no more email chasing, no more hiding.”
Long rows of exhibitor booths fill the venue at each event, and attendees are given free rein to circulate, network, and learn more about CBD.
In addition to exhibitors and attendees, speakers from within the industry and celebrities have been fixtures at each event.
As mentioned, the first official USA CBD Expo event took place in Medellin, Colombia in 2017.
The subsequent passage of the 2018 Farm Bill was a well-timed boon for USA CBD Expo’s growth trajectory, allowing the company to host popular shows in Miami (300+ vendors, 13.5k+ attendees, and 50+ speakers in 2019) and Las Vegas (300 vendors, 10.5k+ attendees, 50+ speakers in 2020) as well as Medellin.
After Atlanta in June, USA CBD Expo is planning shows in Medellin (8/28-29) and Chicago (10/28-30), both in 2021.
Even with the favorably timed 2018 Farm Bill, it takes a lot more than luck to get off the ground in one of the most rapidly growing wellness product markets—here’s what Marketing Director Nicole Beiner had to say about the company’s success.
Note: the following responses have been edited very slightly for context and clarification.
The CBD Insider: It looks like USA CBD Expo has been sponsored by some of the industry’s biggest names, including the US Hemp Roundtable and some popular brands. How difficult was it for USA CBD Expo to gain acceptance and attract these high-authority players?
“The Miami show had 300 vendors, which really ramped up our visibility,” Nicole told us.
“Having that big of a boom put us on everyone’s radar. Once we reached out to people, it made sense for them to partner with us.”
It wasn’t raw size alone that propelled the company to its current standing, however; Beiner also credits her team’s practical experience with the industry as the factor that drove quality to the forefront.
“We were attendees and exhibitors before we started this show, so we really had an insight into what you need to have a good show—what people are looking for. It gave us a leg up on delivering on our promises.”
The CBD Insider: Why did USA CBD Expo decide to expand internationally and go to Colombia?
“Columbia is growing tremendously in terms of the cannabis industry,” Nicole explained, adding “Jason (Monti) had business partners in Medellin, and it just grew from there.”
She’s not kidding about Colombia’s investment in cannabis; the USA CBD Expo site explains how the United Nations gave Colombia the “world’s biggest cannabis production quota.”
Add the nation’s already progressive stance on cannabis and the enviable year-round temperature that hovers in the 70s, and you have both a commercial and agricultural landscape made fertile for CBD growth.
The CBD Insider: How has COVID affected the planning process for the upcoming Atlanta expo?
“This June show was supposed to be may of 2020. It’s been postponed 6 times, but this time, we’ve finally reached the 90-day window leading up to the event. Every week, we’re checking with the news and the Georgia conference center, constantly getting updates. We will follow all local and CDC guidelines, including continuous sanitization, social distancing, single-direction aisleways, mandatory use of face masks, sanitizing stations, and any adjustments that need to be made for new rulings or developments.”
Nicole also went on to note that there had been a large event in the same conference center with 40,000 in attendance just days before we spoke, and that news reports died down rather quickly after the event, indicating there were no serious concerns related to increased infection rates.
The CBD Insider: How many exhibitors and attendees are you expecting for Atlanta?
“We’re actually anticipating it to be busier than before. We expect at least 10,000 attendees. We feel confident, and we’re hoping that others feel the same—especially by June. We’re amped up and ready to get back to it.”
The CBD Insider: What major highlights can attendees expect to enjoy at the Atlanta expo?
“One of our sponsors, PureKana, went public on the Canadian stock exchange. You’re also going to see a lot of delta-8 (THC), kratom, and more—the industry is going crazy with alternative products right now, so we’re looking into that. Our vendors will have CBG, CBN, and CBDA as well. We also have a highly diverse range of speakers, including a medical panel, a “women and cannabis” panel, sports science experts, and much more. Since a lot of people are out of work now, we’re also excited to open up recruiting opportunities, allowing those looking for work to connect and network with CBD industry professionals.”
In addition to shrinking the gaps between a massive network of interested buyers, top-tier brands, and other vested parties for the betterment of the CBD industry as a whole, USA CBD Expo is working on bridging the collective CBD knowledge gap.
Our 2021 US CBD Consumer Report shows that a staggering 44.6% of potential CBD consumers polled listed not knowing enough information about CBD as one reason they have yet to try it.
As CBD consumers and advocates themselves, the USA CBD Expo team ensures that each event has a schedule packed full of speaking engagements featuring industry experts, a practice that shows no signs of slowing in future events.
This is what sets a quality event planning organization in the CBD, hemp, and/or cannabis space apart: the ability to recognize and address the ever-present fog of misinformation and hype that clouds this popular supplement and its cannabinoid cousins.