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This Is How To Break Into the Cannabis Business

The Green Growth Summit in Chicago will gather the top entrepreneurs in the industry to answer your burning questions.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

*Editor's note: The Green Growth Summit has been postponed until Spring, 2022. 

Oulaphone Sonesouphap | Getty Images

Here are the two big questions we get all the time. 

  • How do I break into the cannabis industry?
  • How do I grow my cannabis business?

With this in mind, Green Entrepreneur has designed a one-day event that brings together the top entrepreneurs in the space to share their tips and tactics for making the Green Rush work for you.

Our first ever Green Growth Summit will take place in Chicago in the Spring of 2022 at The Dalcy. You'll have the chance to connect with the who's who of cannabis while also learning the ins and outs of every facet of the business.

Whether you're looking to break into the cannabis industry or looking for a competitive advantage, you'll find the answers you need here at this in-person event. That's right. We're doing it live like back in the good old days.

Related: Get your Green Growth Summit tickets for 30% Off! 

Killer lineup

The action-packed day will kick off with a keynote from Jim Belushi of Belushi Farm, who will talk about his fascinating journey from actor to cannabis entrepreneur and share his learnings along the way.  

We'll also hear from former NBA star Big Al Harrington, the CEO of Viola. While some professional athletes talk the talk, lending their names to cannabis brands, Al also walks the walks. He has built Viola into a multi-million dollar MSO from the ground up. And he'll share how he's done it and what he's doing to make "100 black people cannabis millionaires."

Other panels include:


The State of the State: An Inside Look at Illinois Cannabis Industry, Today and Tomorrow

Business analysts share inside track on everything you need to know about the state of the cannabis business in Illinois and the midwest. Topics will include updates on:

  • The lottery system

  • Revenue projections

  • What products are hot and not in the Land of Lincoln. 


Pamela Althoff, Executive Director of Cannabis Business Association of Illinois

Aaron Trahan, VP of Business Development at Headset Analytics;

Kiana Hughes, Director of Norml Chicago

Moderator by Tom Schuba Chicago Sun-Times

Related: Do you want to earn $3 million per year? Consider this venture

Related: Why You Should Join the Green Rush


You've Got Your License, Now What?

This panel takes a deep dive into all you need to know to launch your cannabis business in Illinois. From real estate considerations to compliance regulations, supply chain to legal concerns, our panelists will cover a wide range of need-to-know topics about the tools and strategies you need to get your business off the ground and thriving.


Rob Sechrist CEO of Pelorus Equity Group 

Paul Ochsner, VP Supply Chain at Cresco Labs

Dina Rollman, SVP of Government Affairs at Green Thumb Industries

Moderated by Nicholas Gaulin, Marijuana Retail Report


Plant-Touching Success Stories

It takes passion, commitment, and creativity to make it in cannabis. You'll hear from entrepreneurs who have met the challenge and built successful cannabis brands from the ground up, including manufacturers, retailers, and growers. They will talk about: 

  • How to navigate the often treacherous waters of the plant-touching business

  • What you need to know to ensure success in the cannabis industry 


Bryan Zises, Owner of Dispensary 33

Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Wana Brands

Rob Sims, Former Detroit Lion and co-owner of Primitiv

Moderator by Brad Spirrison, Editor in chief of Grown In

Related: Do you want to earn $3 million per year? Consider this venture

Ancillary Business Success Stories

You don't have to have direct contact with weed to be in the weed industry. Ancillary (in cannabis business terminology) refers to any company that provides products or services to the cannabis industry but does not directly "touch the plant." Do you have professional skills that might carry over nicely into cannabis? Hear about entrepreneurs that have successfully leveraged their talents—be it in technology, recruiting, or media—to successfully cross over into the cannabis side. 


James Yi, CEO of Leaf Trade

Karson Humiston, CEO of Vangst

Chad Bronstein CEO of Fyllo

Moderator by Jeff Ragovin of Alchemy Podcast


Marketing Marijuana

The cannabis business has gone mainstream, but the people responsible for marketing the plant still have to jump through many hoops. Facing strict advertising restrictions and bans on social media, marketers must become very creative about how they get the word out there about their brands. On this panel, you'll hear from top publicists and marketing executives about:

  • Successful strategies to overcome marketing hurdles

  • Effective techniques that build audience and sales

  • Dos and Don'ts of advertising 


Shawna Sheldon McGregor CEO of Maverick PR

Jason Erkes, Chief Communications Officer of Cresco Labs

Kris Krane, Director of Cannabis Development, KCSA Communications

Moderated by Rosie Mattio, CEO of Mattio Communications


What's Next for Cannabis?

Whether you're looking to launch a new cannabis business or grow your existing business, you want to know what the opportunities are two or five years from now. We've gathered industry analysts and investment specialists to offer their predictions and discuss where they're placing their bets (and their money).


Sammy Dorf, Chief Growth Officer of Verano

Joe Caltabiano, CEO of Choice Consolidation Corp

Carmen Brace, Founder of Alclara Research

Moderated by Nicholas Gaulin of Marijuana Retail Report


Tickets going fast

To join us at the Green Growth Summit in Chicago for a chance to learn about the industry from top experts and entrepreneurs, sign up here