San Francisco Conference Will Focus On The Future Of Cannabis

There’s a trend among cannabis conferences. Jim McAlpine is trying to break it.

“Almost all cannabis shows I’ve been to seem to focus on what’s happening right now,” the 420 Games founder told Civilized. “Our show is about what’s going to happen in the next year. It’s about the future of cannabis.”

The show in question is the New West Summit, slated to take place in San Francisco on Oct. 14 and 15. This second annual event is billed as “the first conference to focus exclusively on the game-changing, disruptive developments in technology, investment and media within the cannabis space.”

“This is a legitimate industry and as a legitimate industry, the one thing that’s really going to drive it forward on every level… is technology,” said McAlpine, who calls legalization in California “imminent” and believes it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the country follows suit.  

The conference will cover a range of topics of interest to cannabis industry leaders and budding business owners through a series of panels and talks, including (but certainly not limited to) new vape technologies, edible innovations, cannabis journalism and new digital advertising opportunities.

Speakers will include Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic and Susan Bennett, the voice of the iPhone’s Siri.

The event will also feature a cannabis job fair hosted by medical marijuana company Bloom Farms. Dozens of employers and hundreds of job-seekers will gather to explore the growing number of possibilities for those interested in getting involved in the industry on a professional level. It’s a perfect fit for the conference as a whole, says McAlpine.

“What this event represents is the strong and sweeping professionalization of the industry,” said McAlpine.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been in the industry for 30 years or for the last six months; you need to be a professional and you need to understand that the world is changing.”

The New West Summit will take place at San Francisco’s Hyatt Regency Oct. 14 and 15. Civilized is a Gold Sponsor of the event. You can register online until Oct. 15.

Banner image: Richard Branson will be one of the keynote speakers at New West Summit (Gilberto Cardenas /


I've been covering cannabis for nearly five years, and by now I'm all too accustomed to the impersonal cannabis conference at a stuffy, generic hotel or expo hall, brimming with white guys in suits, and generally lacking in the spirit of well, cannabis. (The woes of legalization, I suppose.) So it was a breath of fresh air when I walked into what felt like a giant atrium in downtown LA for a new kind of cannabis conference. Located in what's called the Valentine Grass Room in an industrial area past the hustle and bustle of the DTLA skyscrapers, Microscopes & Machines (M&M) boasted a diverse array of speakers, from doctors and lawyers to chemists and cultivators on the frontlines of the cannabis industry.

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