Presented by VMSD
SEP 30-OCT 2, 2019 | Westin Copely Place, Boston, MA

{ Pre-Conference Program: Elevating Cannabis Retail }


(Jennifer Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief, VMSD, and Conference Chair)

12:45 - 1:30 PM  -  KEYNOTE: PROPHETS OF A PARADIGM SHIFT: How dispensary design will influence society for decades to come

Like it or not, legal cannabis is here to stay. And just for the record, we love it!

Legal cannabis arguably is the biggest disrupter to hit cultures and economies the world over, and dispensaries are ground zero in this social revolution. What once was promoted by a surreptitious world of outlaw independent sellers developed first into a semi-legal network of collectives, and then into the fastest growing industry in America – all in less than a decade. Yet, the transition from shopping in one’s living room to the licensed retail model has not been without substantial challenges, both politically and socially. As the cannabis industry continues its sprint from black market to mainstream, dispensaries have an opportunity to usher in a new category of retail that holds enormous potential to change society as we know it – so long as the brand experience is designed accordingly.

Megan Stone, Owner, Interior Designer, The High Road Design Studio

1:40 - 2:20 PM  -  PANEL DISCUSSION: Green in the Emerald City

This panel discussion of cannabis store owners will explore emerging trends, best practices and lessons learned in this constantly evolving marketplace. Our panelists will offer attendees a close-up look at how Seattle’s cannabis industry has navigated the move to legalization, how and what they’re learning from their customers and how they’re using branding and design to differentiate in an increasingly crowded market. Learn directly from your peers about their challenges and successes and capture actionable insights that will help you do your job better.

Brian Beckley, Managing Editor, Marijuana Venture

Shy Sadis, Owner, The Joint
Aaron Nelson, Director of Actualization, 2020 Solutions
James Lathrop, CEO, Cannabis City

2:25 - 2:40 PM  -  Networking & Refreshment Break

2:40 - 3:20 PM  -  THE HOW BEHIND THE WOW AT (CANNABIS) RETAIL: Best practices behind great retail experiences

The best retail practices ALL pertain to dispensaries…and then some. In this session, shopper insights and retail strategy expert Anne Marie Luthro, AML Insights, will share the best practices smart retailers use to create exceptional shopping experiences as well as outline the key differentiators between normalized retail and cannabis retail.

The physical layout of your store should be strategic to enhance its overall performance and revenue. Gain insight to some of retail’s best design and merchandising trends, learn why they’re successful and how they can be customized to your store to delight your shoppers.

Ann Marie Luthro, Principal, AML Insights

3:25 - 4:00 PM  -  Visual Merchandising

(Joe Baer, Creative Director, ZenGenius Inc.)

Registration also includes IRDC's Opening Keynote with Mike Walsh, Futurist and Global Strategist and CEO of Tomorrow, plus IRDC's Opening Reception.