After the success of the last year's Billboard Live Music Summit panel "Going Green: What Does Cannabis Legalization Mean for Touring?" Billlboard is bringing legal weed back to the forefront with "Cannabis 2.0: How Hardware And Next-Gen Tech Will Change The Live Experience," at this year's event, Nov. 5-6 at the Montage in Beverly Hills.
Cannabis 2.0 will look at the rapid growth of recreational cannabis and CBD with some of the biggest brands and thought leaders in the space. Moderated by Billboard senior news editor, west Colin Stutz, the panel includes Gopi Shangha with experiential agency CUSP, Double Barrel chief brand officer Ann Skalski, founder of Gallery PR and 4th Chapter Sonia Hendrix and Cura Partners chief marketing officer at Jason White.
Rounding out the Cannabis 2.0 panel is Mario "Mr. Sherbinski" Guzman, founder of the Sherbinskis cannabis brand and creator of the hugely popular Gelato strain. Guzman has collaborated with artists such as Post Malone to create an American hemp brand and Guzman's products are sold inside Barney's New York in Beverly Hills, including his new line of vape concentrates.
"Flower is very challenging to grow quality at scale, especially when you’re trying to do it in multiple states. With vaporizers were able to make formulations and develop hardware and create standard procedures and distribution systems and ultimately link the supply chain," he tells Billboard.
White oversees the popular consumer Select brand for Cura and is the former executive vp and global head of marketing for Beats by Dr. Dre. and a former managing director at Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai, where he worked with Nike as they prepared for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and developing campaigns for LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods.
His goal with Cura is to help shape the historical trajectory of the emerging cannabis industry by aligning it with leaders in culture and music.
"Specifically, from a music standpoint, I'm really interested in where's the next innovation? Where's the next way we storytell, whether that's a concert, whether that's an album release, whether that's when you're touring and giving your best consumers and your best fans an additional experience," he says. "Cannabis can be a part of that — it’s not just how you interpret and feel the music, but how we can platform an idea."
Skalski is a former Sacks 5th Avenue vp and fashion industry veteran who is now assisting with the launch of Double Barrel, an innovative dual chamber device that many peg as the cannabis world’s first status symbol vaporizer. Double Barrel has formed a partnership with rapper Post Malone’s Shaboink brand and is in early discussions about a collaboration with Cash Money records.
"We're a culture partner. When Mario Guzman and I sit down, it's really easy to start talking about what we're passionate about and how we can use Double Barrel to bring some of these things to life," she says. "Whether it's advocacy on the red carpet, or working with veterans with PTSD, or even getting people away from nicotine, the possibilities are limitless."
PR veteran Hendrix runs Gallery PR, one of the country's top communications firms for cannabis brands and is the founder of 4th Chapter, a cannabis legalization advocacy group whose mission is to rebrand the adult-use legalization effort in New York state. Hendrix seeks to employ a county-by-county education campaign about the benefits of THC and CBD, and to combat the false information currently spread across New York state. Gallery PR has offices in New York and Los Angeles.
And finally, Sangha is a concert industry veteran who previously served director of business development and director of digital strategy over a 10-year tenure at Goldenvoice in Los Angeles. His agency CUSP has developed a number of cannabis activations at music-centric events like Splash House in Palm Springs, California. With it's partners and clients, CUSP focuses on the intersection of the digital landscape and the fan experience at music festivals nationwide.