Following two semi-annual conferences BevNET Live and NOSH Live, BevNET and NOSH presented a Cannabis Forum for food and beverage professionals. The event took place on June 14 and was preceded by a kickoff party powered by ForceBrands.

Sponsored by mood33, the kickoff party was hosted at the YOTEL hotel’s rooftop terrace in Midtown Manhattan. Guests enjoyed CBD-infused mocktails from Proposition Cocktail Co. and signature drinks featuring Aviation Gin and Hiatus Tequila.

This summer’s Cannabis Forum brought together trailblazers from companies like Kiva Confections, 99th Floor, CAN CAN Cleanse, New Frontier Data, and more. Participants were invited to learn industry best practices, find powerful brand partners, and network with forward-thinking leaders in the space.

BevNET’s Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Klineman delivered opening remarks on Friday highlighting that “the food and beverage business is looking to infusion as a more than $20 billion industry in the next few years.” He introduced the forum’s first speaker, Co-Founder and COO of Kiva Confections, Kristi Knoblich Palmer.

A pioneer in cannabis, Knoblich Palmer offered insights into how she’s established a cannabis product as a premium consumer brand and discussed the evolution of brand conventions in the space. While some people may be looking for an unpredictable experience with cannabis, Knoblich Palmer confirmed that today’s consumer wants a predictable one. When it comes to how people prefer to consume cannabis, gummies are in. While Kiva is primarily known for their chocolate confections — their Kiva Blueberry Terra bites are a top seller  — she said gummies are now outselling all of their other categories.

Knoblich Palmer’s presentation was followed by a panel that examined the state of the market with Ben Larson, CEO, Nanogen; Teresa Piro, Founder and CEO, CAN CAN Cleanse; Joyce Cenali, Founding Partner and COO, Big Rock Partners; and Chris Abbott, Co-Founder, Botanica. Piro discussed the challenges of finding a supplier with standards and how she went about identifying credible ones by first compiling and vetting a long list of suppliers, both nationally and internationally.

Other highlights of the day’s panel included John Kagia, Chief Knowledge Officer of New Frontier Data, who offered a presentation on the global cannabis opportunity. “More than 50 companies have passed some sort of cannabis regulation,” he said. But what’s more exciting, is that “we’re just getting started.”

The next Cannabis Forum will take place December 6 in Santa Monica, Calif.

Interested in building your cannabis team or learning about career opportunities? Explore our specialized HerbForce division.