Marijuana incorporated: cannabis eases into a billion-dollar business high

Four years ago Cassandra Farrington couldn’t find any venue in the country that would host her idea for a conference on the business of marijuana. This week, she hired out the Hilton Chicago, one of the city’s most famous hotels and one that has accommodated every US president since it opened in 1927.

“When we first started looking for venues, people ran screaming in the other direction when we said ‘Hey, we want to have this marijuana business conference’. They were like ‘no way, get out of here’,” Farrington said as 2,103 attendees ate lunch from white tableclothed tables at the 2015 Marijuana Business Conference & Expo. “Our first conference was at this masonic lodge in downtown Denver because it was the only place that would rent a venue to us.

“Being here [in the Hilton Chicago] is mind-boggling. It just shows how far the industry...

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