One of the reasons that the Juicy Fields scandal got so large, so quickly, is that unethical conferences took the cash and asked no questions, even when warned. Anyone who took such money needs to step up to the plate and return it to public authorities – and if they do not authorities need to step in. Cannabis companies also need to think twice about associating themselves with such venues
As the class action lawsuits and investigations about Juicy Fields continue to mount, there is one place that so far, has been left out of the conversation. Namely cannabis conferences that accepted funds from the company.
One of the largest reasons that people bought into the entire scam, beyond a desire to make money and be a part of the cannabis movement, is that so many conferences promoted the company if not the scheme unquestioningly
These are stolen assets. Authorities and lawyers now hoping to bring justice to their clients need to look at precisely these venues and the people organizing them, as well as influencers who took such cash, as a valuable second line of recovery.
“Not knowing” is not an excuse in this case. The entire affair was obviously a fraud to anyone who participated in any real capacity in the industry much less had experience in it. But because so many people were afraid of speaking out, or worried about being sued, or uninvited to events, it continued until the swindle collapsed internally.
This of course also includes the International Cannabis Business Conference or ICBC, which is one of the entities that was most associated with the fraud, over the longest period of time and in countries including both Spain and Germany. Organizers only walked away from the sponsor after bank accounts of investors had been frozen a week before the Berlin conference in 2022.
The afterparty in Barcelona this year was an orgy of excess, from the fancy cars parked outside the event to the models who floated through the event in blue body paint.
Having a great time and celebrating forward progress is all very well and good, but not on the bodies and bank accounts of those who knew little and hoped to be a part of a revolution still in its beginning phases.
The real impact of the cannabis revolution will only be evident when this becomes an ethical industry – from the companies who participate in it to the forums where such firms gather.
Any investor considering stepping into this space will also avoid conferences where the only people who show up are people interested less in legitimate business and more about scamming people.
Cannabis Conferences in Europe Need to Embrace Ethical Cannabis Concerns
Cannabis conferences are a very good way to network and meet people. They can also be fun places to socialize in an environment where, at least to date, cannabis consumption for either medical or recreational purposes is not frowned upon.
Beyond this, they are places where the uninitiated, or firms coming into the industry, can get a sense of what the industry is all about. However, if the conferences themselves are only interested in obtaining money from people and firms no matter who those companies and individuals are, the quality of both firms present, and presenters will reflect the same.
Politicians and political figures also need to consider whether they will appear at such events – not to mention law firms.
Beyond that, and this is certainly the case across Europe where there is the beginning of a far more ethical industry, conference organizers themselves need to vet companies who participate – and from whom they take money.
Juicy Fields will not be the only fraud of its kind – although it is one of the more shocking ones.
In the meantime, every firm that has considered being a part of a conference that asks no questions needs to reconsider how they promote themselves, and at which venues. There are, after all, far more choices now available.
Unless the industry itself, starting with gathering points for the same, takes a stand now, the unethical fraud that has characterized what is worst about the path of reform so far in places like North America will only continue in Europe.
It is time to step up, take a stand, and say “no more.”
This is one of the many reasons I have now walked away from the ICBC.