Cannabis security takeaways from MJBizCon 2023

Jan. 25, 2024
Our experts also share their industry projections for 2024

In the dynamic landscape of the cannabis industry, MJBizCon stands as the premier gathering for cannabis business professionals. Held annually in Las Vegas, MJBizCon is the world's largest business-to-business cannabis conference and expo, uniting over 30,000 entrepreneurs, and serving as a nexus for all sectors of the industry, including security.

From the bustling expo floor to captivating educational sessions, MJBizCon provided a fertile ground for networking, learning, and exploring the ever-evolving needs of the cannabis market. The 2023 edition of this iconic conference featured a stellar lineup of 100+ distinguished speakers and a diverse showcase of 1400+ exhibitors, with many notable security companies among their ranks.

“MJBizCon continues to be the dominant trade show for the cannabis industry,” said Matthew Johnson, Risk & Insurance Consultant for AssuredPartners and yearly attendee of the conference. “MJBiz is the only conference that truly brings together a national -- even international -- cannabis diaspora to one city for a week of networking. There's no better place to see all your favorite people in one spot.”

Networking & Exhibiting on the Expo Floor

Year after year, it’s clear that security remains a top concern for operators looking to protect their people and profits, and throughout the week, cannabis security remained a central theme of conversation.

“From the conversations, I had with attendees, the security portion of the business is high on many professional's minds,” said Mike Egel President of DensityUSA. “From smash and grab, which is our area of expertise, to product and cash storage, video surveillance, internal security training, and general operational effectiveness, it was all on the table for discussion and sharing of ideas and new technologies to assist.”

Strategically located in the Business Services Pavilion among other ancillary companies, exhibiting security companies quickly became a focal point of the expo, offering insightful discussions, educational resources, and showcasing their innovative technologies.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to connect with our clients and partners from all across the country,” said Kevin Brown, Cannabis Business Development Manager for Hanwha Vision America. “This year Hanwha released a lot of new video products and technology, much of it installed on our booth so we can give live demos at the show and talk through different use cases. We're always looking to hear customer feedback to help guide our product development.”

 Off-Site Events & Awards During ‘Weed Week’

 In addition to the conference’s 3-day expo, MJBizCon is also known for fostering extraordinary networking opportunities and relationship-building experiences throughout the week. Security companies and vendors were heavily featured in these events, including cocktail hours, after-parties, and awards shows.

 These off-site events are a staple of MJBizCon, and many industry professionals attribute these events to generating some of the most valuable conversations of the week. One of these events, an interactive graffiti-inspired after party dubbed The Underground Party, was hosted by Sapphire Risk Advisory Group and drew a crowd of cannabis security professionals looking to enjoy their time in Las Vegas while networking with like-minded individuals. Sponsoring security companies included everOn, Hanwha Vision America, Myers SecurityWilson Safe CompanyNetwatch North AmericaAVS Technology, and InstaKey Security Systems.

“The party was a great success. We had an amazing turnout, and it was a fun time,” said Leo Falgout, Chief of Staff for Sapphire Risk Advisory Group. “It was great to see different security companies have an opportunity to engage with each other at the event.”

“From attending the show to sponsoring [The Underground Party], this year's show made us realize now is the perfect time to get in on the MJBizCon action,” said Lonny Gorham, Business Development Manager for InstaKey Security Systems.

Another notable event during ‘Weed Week’ was The Emjays International Cannabis Awards, an inaugural awards ceremony held in the famous Palms Casino Resort designed to unite some of the most prestigious companies in the industry to acknowledge their achievements in cannabis. Despite not having a designated security category, cannabis security consultancy Sapphire Risk Advisory Group went on to win in the category of “Cannabis Consulting Firm of the Year.”

“It is an honor to be recognized nationally by the cannabis community for our consulting services. We love being able to give back to our clients and this great industry,” said Tony Gallo, Managing Partner of Sapphire Risk Advisory Group.

Cannabis Security Industry Projections for 2024

As the cannabis industry enters 2024, security emerges as a pivotal force shaping business success. The evolution of cannabis security is expected to continue, driven by technological advancements, regulatory developments, and a collective industry effort to strengthen protective measures.

“Despite not being legal on a federal level, security in the cannabis industry is growing exponentially and the need for better security products has never been higher,” said Lonny Gorham.

“We’ve seen a lot of advances in AI technology over the last year and it’s a major topic within security and video surveillance,” said Kevin Brown. “Many cannabis companies are integrating AI capabilities and intelligent video solutions into their operations as it’s becoming more widespread and more affordable. I'm sure we'll see this trend continue in 2024.”

“I've talked to security vendors, sponsors, managers, and alike and they agree security is still a big topic in organizations. No one wants to be on the news or risk their license due to a security incident,” said Leo Falgout. “Some markets are more requiring than others, but the number of security vendors at MJBiz demonstrates that training, equipment, monitoring, vaults, and other aspects are still paramount to a cannabis business's success.”

Katharine Baxter is an independent consultant in the cannabis industry with experience writing cannabis business applications, expert witness reports, and standard operating procedures. Katharine also specializes in providing marketing services for ancillary cannabis businesses, including SEO and company blog management. Katharine serves as the Lead Technical Writer and Industry News Editor for Sapphire Risk Advisory Group and is responsible for creating compliant security plans.