More than 1,100 cannabis professionals gathered in Oakland, Calif., to ask questions and share their cultivation and business expertise at Cannabis Business Times' second annual Cannabis Cultivation Conference.

The event, held from March 12 to March 14, saw the likes of cannabis greats Robert Connell Clarke, Mojave Richmond, Mel Frank and Clade9’s David Holmes discuss cannabis breeding during a keynote panel.

During the session, Clarke recommended cultivators save their genetics-even those varieties that might not be top-sellers right now. He used apples as an analogy: Red Delicious is an easy apple to grow and took over the industry, but Honey Crisp survived to demand a premium on the market. He predicted the same is going to happen with cannabis varieties.

In the second keynote session, Rare Dankness’ Scott Reach shared stories and tips learned from his first year as a large-scale cannabis cultivator. Reach told a captivated audience how his job goes beyond “simply” growing cannabis: Day-to-day operations, the market’s ever-changing and fluid nature, and searching for passionate people to hire make running a cannabis operation a much bigger task than for what most first-year cultivators are prepared.

See the sights and read more snippets from the conference in this recap of the Cannabis 2018 Cultivation Conference.

RD Industries/Rare Dankness’ Scott Reach recounting lessons learned from his first year as a large-scale cultivator. Reach told a packed room that cultivators must have a flexible business plan and the ability to change and evolve, especially as pound prices keep dropping and regulations continue to change.
Photos by Phierce Photography
Robert Eddy, a consultant at CEA Consultancy with over 25 years’ experience managing research greenhouses at Purdue University and Dow AgroSciences, fired off dozens of tips on how to make your grow safer and more efficient, such as keeping small tools and spare parts nearby to quickly repair broken or defective equipment.
Attendees, exhibitors and speakers were able to network and share information in the expo hall, which doubled in size since the inaugural event in 2017.
Star power: (from left) David Holmes from Clade9 moderated the keynote panel on breeding cannabis varieties with cannabis legends Robert C. Clarke, Mel Frank and Mojave Richmond.
Attendees were invited to ask questions at the end of every session, making the Cannabis Cultivation Conference an interactive experience tailored to growers.
Strawberry Fields’ Rich Kwesell, a hit at the inaugural Cannabis Cultivation Conference in 2017, returned this year to share lessons learned from scaling up and further developing his now 90,000-square-foot greenhouse facility. Among other topics, he discussed the introduction and use of automated potting machines and their impact on his workflow.
Nadia Sabeh, aka “Dr. Greenhouse,” shared her expertise on considerations for constructing the ideal cannabis greenhouse during the “Facility Design: Greenhouse” panel.
Attendees and speakers enjoyed some face time with the industry’s leading product and services vendors on the expanded expo floor.
Ohio-based SunGrown Zero brought a trailer onsite to demo its natural-lighting system for indoor cultivation businesses.
Scott Reach was a popular speaker at the conference. He spoke with attendees for over an hour after his keynote presentation.
The expo hall featured double the number of exhibitors over last year’s Cannabis Cultivation Conference. The 2018 event saw 100 exhibitors conversing with attendees.
OutCo’s Markus Roggen, VP of extraction, spoke on the California company’s R&D into cannabis extracts, sharing results and findings from OutCo’s in-house studies.
Noelle Skodzinski, Cannabis Business Times' editorial director, addressing the crowd during the event's welcoming remarks. Skodzinski was recently awarded by Folio magazine as a "Top Women in Media" honoree.
This year's event was held in Oakland, Calif. But Cannabis Business Times is looking to relocate. You can make your suggestions on where CBT should host its next event by voting in the poll currently on CannnabisBusinessTimes.com.
Exhibitors and attendees commented that the Cannabis Cultivation Conference raised the level of conversation around cannabis cultivation.
Attendees were granted ample time at the end of educational sessions to ask questions, with Q&As often continuing in hallways and in the expo hall.
Legendary cannabis photographer, author and consultant Mel Frank (second from right) shared his insights on cannabis breeding and genetics, during the keynote panel with Robert C. Clarke (middle left), David Holmes (far left) and Mojave Richmond (far right).
Emily Kowalski, director of cultivation at Leafline Labs (one of two medical cannabis businesses serving Minnesota patients), discussed the importance of strong operations management at the Cannabis Cultivation Conference.
For the second year in a row, the "Facility Design: Indoor" session was one of the most well-attended of the conference.
Casey Rivero, lead cultivation manager at Oregon-based Yerba Buena, spoke about sustainability in the cannabis industry on the conference’s first day.
Attendees valued the education from exhibitors about the latest industry trends in cultivation technologies and solutions.
Speaker and conference board member David Holmes, owner of Clade9, speaking with an attendee in the expo hall.
Jesce Horton, founder of Panacea Valley Gardens and Saints Cannabis, told audience members about his key considerations when designing an indoor cultivation facility.
Greatland Ganja co-owner Leif Abel said “being upfront and honest is definitely the better approach” in a regulated market.

Brian Maciver is the associate editor for Cannabis Business Times.