For the majority of the past months, Arizona NORML has invested our time and energy into helping create the largest cannabis experience in Arizona thus far, the Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo, Oct 26-28. Arizona NORML was one of the principal organizers and key sponsors in promoting and staffing the event. At a time when our organization is just getting back on its feet, some may wonder why we spent so much effort on this specific project. Well, the simple answer is that I could have spent a year putting on bake-sales and carwashes and still not raised the awareness of the importance of marijuana to Arizona’s economy and society as we did in three days last month.

I know and you know that we will not end prohibition by staying within our own little segregated marijuana bubble. We put pot right in the PHX public eye and the public LOVED it.

WP_20151027_14_13_53_Pro

One of the most exciting things for me was the opening day veterans’ march for PTSD awareness. We staged the event with SWCCExpo feature sponsors, Weed 4 Warriors and PHX area veterans.

WP_20151027_07_27_49_Pro

(Ryan came from Oregon to attend. Those pill bottles are the Drugs he was shackled to by the VA when he returned wounded. THX to cannabis he is pain-controlled & in the industry, instead of controlled by pain killers and in an institution. )

WP_20151027_08_15_18_Pro

Weed 4 Warriors’ Jose Martinez marched the entire 8 block route, despite being a triple amputee. WP_20151027_08_47_53_Pro

For more info about Weed for Warriors, click here.

up the stairs

The attendance was fantastic. More than 3700 people attended, 131 exhibitors, 75 speakers and dozens of curious onlookers got their first real taste of the kind of industry legal cannabis can become.

WP_20151027_10_42_55_Pro WP_20151027_11_33_04_Pro WP_20151027_11_42_59_Pro

WP_20151027_11_59_45_Pro

 

Our new office assistant, Elaine Neumann, was a volunteer at the booth and signed on to do more because she was so inspired.

WP_20151027_12_06_44_Pro

Arizona NORML & National NORML were two of the key sponsors of the expo and had a great double booth that attracted 100s of old and new friends.

WP_20151027_13_01_55_Pro

Also on-hand was NORML founder, Keith Stroup, who presented on legalization and the role of non-profits in the 21st cannabis community. He got to meet the leaders of both cannabis legalizaton citizens’ initiatives. Here he is with AZFMR leader, Jason Hein.

***

WP_20151028_10_08_42_Pro WP_20151028_10_09_35_Pro

Feature speaker Bruce Barcott from TIME Magazine and his latest works on coming green rush.

WP_20151027_15_09_35_Pro

The After-Party.

 

The 2nd day I got to host two panels, one on non-profits and the 21st century cannabis community.

WP_20151028_10_46_34_Pro WP_20151028_10_47_12_Pro

& one on MPP and their initiative (Matt Schweich  shown) WP_20151028_11_36_45_Pro

 

 

With my sweetie, Beth Weisser:WP_20151028_12_53_43_Pro

WP_20151028_16_28_50_Pro

Jon Gettel, of the Tucson chapterAZ4NORML, has led AZ for decades

and is now back on the state board.

***

After-Party Day 2, w the Black Bottom Lighters

WP_20151028_23_21_22_Pro

 

Easily the most important aspect of the expo was the impact it had in the media. Take a second to learn more on any of the dozens of articles written about the event:

(As of October 30, 2015 – Prepared by Proven Media)                

 

1.       http://azbigmedia.com/ab/cannabis-career-fair-kicks-southwest-cannabis-conference

 

2.       http://kjzz.org/content/211765/cannabis-conference-phoenix-talks-industry-news-offers-advice

 

3.       http://ktar.com/story/701842/marijuana-career-fair-in-phoenix-to-demonstrate-growth-of-industry/

 

4.       http://ktar.com/story/725363/arizona-prosecutor-has-harsh-words-for-phoenix-cannabis-convention/

 

5.       http://weediabuzz.com/cnn-original-docu-series-star-katherine-grimm-to-appear-at-southwest-cannabis-conference-expo/

 

6.       http://weediabuzz.com/former-gridiron-heroes-unite-in-support-of-the-right-to-use-cannabis/

 

7.       http://weediabuzz.com/southwest-cannabis-conference-expo-to-offer-free-admission-for-dispensary-and-cultivation-owners/

 

8.       http://weediabuzz.com/southwest-cannabis-conference-responds-to-county-attorney-bill-montgomerys-statement/

 

9.       http://weediabuzz.com/veterans-to-rally-at-federal-building-for-ptsd-awareness/

 

10.   http://www.10news.com/news/former-nfl-players-in-phoenix-to-push-for-medical-marijuana-in-the-league

 

11.   http://www.12news.com/story/news/local/valley/2015/10/16/mcao-cannabis-conventioners-could-arrested/74087782/

 

12.   http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/career-fair-focuses-on-medical-marijuana-jobs

 

13.   http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/phoenix-hosting-large-cannabis-conference

 

14.   http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/education/2015/10/27/cannabis-expo-hosts-career-fair-phoenix-area-businesses/74654480/

 

15.   http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2015/10/22/first-southwest-cannabis-conference-and-expo-rolls-into-phoenix/74242182/

 

16.   http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2015/10/29/former-nfl-players-voice-support-medical-marijuana-phoenix-event/74766958/

 

17.   http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/politicalinsider/2015/10/18/montgomery-undercover-operatives-may-hand-during-marijuana-expo-phoenix/74070614/

 

18.   http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/ej-montini/2015/10/26/montini-gov-doug-ducey-southwest-cannabis-conference-education-funding/74637788/

 

19.   http://www.azfamily.com/clip/11950072/thousands-expected-at-cannabis-expo-in-downtown-phoenix

 

20.   http://www.azfamily.com/story/30369354/retired-nfl-players-push-for-medical-pot

 

21.   Http://www.fox10phoenix.com/ (Morning show 10/24/15 – Demitri Downing/Laura Bianchi)

 

22.   http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/arizona-news/40373030-story

 

23.   http://www.hightimes.com/read/weed-warriors-cross-country-campaign-cannabis

 

24.   http://www.kpho.com/clip/11949921/southwest-cannabis-expo-starts-today-in-phoenix

 

25.   http://www.kpho.com/clip/11951890/cannabis-conference-in-phoenix-stirs-up-controversy

 

26.   http://www.kpho.com/story/30265196/county-attorney-issues-warning-ahead-of-southwest-cannabis-conference

 

27.   http://www.kpho.com/story/30369354/retired-nfl-players-push-for-medical-pot

 

28.   http://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2015/10/southwest-cannabis-conference-join-the-industrys-most-innovative-business-leaders-and-experts/

 

29.   http://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2015/10/the-gridiron-cannabis-coalition-takes-center-stage-at-the-southwest-cannabis-conference/

 

30.   http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arts/10-things-we-learned-at-the-southwest-cannabis-conference-and-expo-in-downtown-phoenix-7774959

 

31.   http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/maricopa-county-attorney-bill-montgomery-issues-polite-threat-to-phoenix-pot-conventioneers-7750409

 

32.   http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/southwest-cannabis-conference-and-expo-career-fair-in-phoenix-a-big-hit-7775434

 

33.   http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/southwest-cannabis-conference-coming-to-phoenix-next-month-7627080

 

34.   http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/thousands-roll-into-the-southwest-cannabis-expo-in-downtown-phoenix-7778979

 

35.   http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/weed-for-warriors-pushes-marijuana-therapy-for-veterans-at-phoenix-cannabis-expo-7781693

 

36.   http://www.prescottenews.com/news/current-news/item/26441-phoenix-marijuana-convention-draws-job-seekers-entrepreneurs

 

37.   http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/purple-haze-properties-ceo-andrew-pitsicalis-confirmed-to-speak-at-the-southwest-cannabis-conference-and-expo-in-phoenix-about-jimi-hendrix-licensing-opportunities-300163216.html

 

38.   http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/local/report/102915_marijuana_convention/pot-holds-center-stage-phoenix-cannabis-conference/

 

39.   http://youtu.be/wGQJkmDviqs (Cronkite School student report)

 

40.   https://arizonadailyindependent.com/2015/10/23/first-annual-southwest-cannabis-conference-planned/

 

41.   https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2015/10/30/phoenix-marijuana-convention-draws-job-seekers-entrepreneurs/ (Cronkite School student report)

 

42.   https://www.cashinbis.com/southwest-warms-up-to-cannabusiness-with-new-trade-show/

 

media statistics courtsey of Kim Prince and Proven Media

mikel weisser writes from the left coast of az