With legalization nearing, Illinois Cannabis Summit coming to Schaumburg

A trade show for the legal cannabis industry is coming to Schaumburg.

Before the state's Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act takes effect Jan. 1, the Illinois Cannabis Summit, Oct. 14-16, will offer speakers and exhibitors focused on all angles of the industry — from growing, processing, infusing or selling cannabis plants and products to offering legal advice or transportation services targeted toward cannabis businesses.

Jessica Lane, executive show director of the event run by Georgia-based CannaOne Conference and Expos, said the variety of business options is the beauty of the emerging market. It's also the reason for the summit, an educational event set for the Schaumburg Convention Center, 1551 N. Thoreau Drive.

“You don't necessarily have to touch the cannabis flower to be in the industry,” Lane said. “You can be an accountant that is now branding him or herself as the cannabis accountant that is up on all the regulations. The attorney. The cannabis real estate agent will help you find your property. All of these little moving parts of involvement still have certain levels of restrictions and regulations.”

Sessions by more than 30 speakers — many of them from places where recreational cannabis use already is legal — will teach the ins and outs of applicable restrictions and regulations.

“Licensure is going to be a very hot topic,” Lane said. “In order to work with the actual flower, there's going to be the requirement of licensure.”

A discussion at 2:50 p.m. Oct. 16 will focus on licensure, she said, as will booths and talks by several attorneys and consultants.

One is William Burch of Greene Acres Consulting Group, who said his focus is on providing professional services to help social equity applicants — people in parts of the state declared historically impacted by the prohibition of cannabis — enter the industry.

While he's prepared to help entrepreneurs seek licenses as cannabis growers or sellers, he also wants to direct them toward other options, such as applying for a license to transport cannabis or selling light bulbs and fixtures growers will need to cultivate the plant indoors.

“I'm just highlighting some of the areas that I've identified that could be lucrative,” Burch said.

The summit kicks off Oct. 14 with two half-day workshops, one called Cannabis Cultivation 101 and the other called Illinois Cannabis Operations 101, both from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Casey Connell, founder of Contender Gardens LLC in Washington, is one speaker for the cultivation workshop. He said he'll share ways growers large and small can use beneficial insects to avoid pesticide use, which is preferred because research has not yet discovered how pesticides may affect final cannabis products.

“It's different from broccoli and potatoes. You know, you're not smoking that,” Connell said. “This is just a means of growing a clean product. I think that's kind of the future of cannabis.”

The summit has been gaining interest from exhibitors and attendees, as well as chatter on social media, Lane said. Tickets to either of the preshow workshops are $149, and two-day passes to the summit itself are $189. Tickets are available at or at the door.

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