I’ve just returned from emceeing the largest cannabis and psychedelics conference in the world.
Cannadelic Miami took place from February 2-4 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Miami Airport & Convention center just a few miles from Miami International Airport – a sprawling commercial complex home to vape stores, cuban coffee kiosks, and dozens of seemingly inactive retail businesses selling life-size ceramic horse figures and Etruscan inspired pottery.
Severe weather across the U.S. delayed a number of flights into MIA, so I decided to hop on my friend Mitches boat and arrive at Cannadelic via Biscayne Bay, microdosing my way across the seven seas to arrive in a timely fashion.
Cannadelic kicked off with an opening panel focusing on Indigenous plant medicine stewardship titled ‘Recognizing the Spiritual Roots of Entheogenic Substances’ and featuring an opening prayer by Marakame Modesto Rivera and indigenous community representatives speaking in three languages. Thankfully, the panel on venture capital and business models in the psychedelic space wasn’t until later in the afternoon, so no one attempted to patent the IP of the prayers and songs being offered.
After this initial pane, I took the stage during the transition period between speakers to engage the growing crowd with one-liners and anecdotes that I’ve lifted from various unsuspecting sources over the years and integrated into my repertoire. As the saying goes – ‘Good artists borrow, great artists steal’ – I wonder if that maxim holds true in the increasingly controversial psychedelic space; “Good companies borrow, great companies steal” (this is not financial advice).
Throughout the rest of the first day, I grew increasingly comfortable on stage as I saw the audience get higher and higher from the various product samples available in the main concourse area of the convention center – CBD lemonade, Amanita mushroom gummies, cacao, and other strictly legal samples, of course. Doing stand up comedy for a room full of stoners and psychonauts might be the easiest gig I’ve ever stumbled into – I bent down to tie my shoelace on stage and the audience was in stitches.
As the main stage programming continued with such panels as Psychedelic Business Models vs. Cannabis Business Models and Sex & Psychedelics, I split my time between introducing the panels and wandering the main conference center hall in search of free microdoses and CBD lube samples (I received numerous of each). One brand even gave me samples of Amanita mushroom gummies in a swag bag also containing CBD lube; I wonder if it’s too much to ask that they combine these two items into a single, transcendental product offering – shroom lube, or “Shroob”. Somebody ping Kevin Harrington and let’s take this commodity global.
I was delighted to see many familiar faces holding court in the main concourse area; my good friends at Moksha Arts Collective continue to set the bar for entheogen inspired art and community, with over a dozen tables present showcasing art, jewelry, and clothes from the likes of Stella Strzyzowska as well as the impressive photo album of the collective’s founder Ray Oracca – who also garnered well-deserved ‘Community Organizer of the Year’ honors at the conference’s Entheo Awards on Friday night.
I spent a disproportionate amount of time consorting with the Psychedelics Today team at their large open space set up in the middle of the concourse; not just because they are one of the most reputable and knowledgeable platforms operating in the psychedelics space, but because they hooked it up with lunch on a daily basis. I even managed to squeeze in a trip to Ikea with them the day before the conference kicked off, which culminated in a discussion about the enduring legacy of the Shulgins over a meatball sundae.
Back on the conference floor, Elise McRoberts, aka the Hashinista, held it down with a booth dedicated to her various cannabis-centric product offerings (thanks for the CBD skin cream, my wife loves it) – I was hoping to see her hooping on the main stage, but I’ll have to wait ‘til next years Cannadelic for that.
It’s always a pleasure to catch up with the Mycroboost team, which has been an omnipresent stalwart on the psychedelic conference circuit for good reason – Bob Johnson and crew have dialed in some of my favorite mushroom products on offer in the current landscape, which include cordyceps gummies that I like to pop in between espressos for maximum energy availability over the course of any multi-day conference.
Cesar is the kind of community member that you invite to your family barbeque 20 minutes after you meet him, although in this case it was him inviting me to meet his wife and parents – who were all present at the Cultivating Wisdom booth, where I was outfitted with a number of clothing articles that I immediately put on in place of the three shirts that I had already cycled through eight times by the morning the conference kicked off.
Back on the main stage throughout the 3 days of the conference, I was honored to introduce such luminaries as iconic rap priestess and cannabis entrepreneur Lizzy Jeff, rapper and TV personality Jojo Simmons and NFL veteran Ian Beckles for a panel about equity in cannabis and psychedelics – as well as headlining speakers Paul Stamets, Rick Doblin, Dr. Ben Sessa, and many of the most notable figures in the cannabis and psychedelic space. One of my favorite parts of any conference is the unexpected encounters and direct conversations that randomly spin out of the event – one such notable case for me was a walk from the conference center back to the nearby hotel with Dr. Ben Sessa, who regaled me with stories of the time he DJ’d with Aphex Twin and why he looked so pale in the Florida sun (he had just returned from a conference in Iceland, where tanning is taboo) – I also had the unique opportunity to conduct back to back one on one interviews with industry heavyweights Nancy Whiteman of Wana Brands and Rick Doblin of MAPS – I tried to finagle Paul Stamets into the interview mix, but sources tell me he was busy clinging to the top of a tree in a thunderstorm under a high dose of psilocybin mushrooms in preparation for his keynote speech.
Another panel that caught my attention was the International Panel on Friday afternoon, where multinational executives spoke about the impact that artificial intelligence is going to have on the cannabis and psychedelic space before a backdrop of the Mycopreneur logo. It’s a good thing that there have been no reported incidences of chatGPT macrodosing psilocybin and traveling to the origin point of the universe, so that at least a few of us maintain a competitive edge against AI in that regard.
I was honored to be invited to join the Media and Psychedelics panel alongside Joe Moore, Cynthia Salarizadeh, and Josiah Hesse, and to cover some of the origin story of my own psychedelic media adventures going back to smoking DMT while peaking on 3 hits of LSD between media studies classes during my undergrad at the University of San Francisco in the fall of 2007. It took 15 years for the insights I gleaned from that era to find an audience willing to listen to me, but there’s no time like the present.
Another highlight of the conference was the private dinner party I crashed for TruthMap, a “GPS For Your Mind” app founded by serial entrepreneur Holly Nelson. I postured as an an early stage investor to finesse my way into the private dining room of the ultra luxe Biltmore Hotel, where I punctuated the psychedelic aristocrat dinner party conversation with expertly-timed name-drops and anecdotes about my multiple visits to the Emirates Palace and the time I smoked a blunt at Skywalker Ranch. I also honed my pitch for Mycoday, the functional mushroom chocolate company that I co-founded and for which I’m seeking a co-packer and seed funding to assist in scaling and getting into stores across the U.S.
The following day, I actually had a chance to pitch two companies back to back at the Investadelic event taking place on the second floor of the main conference venue. The first company I pitched was PsycheNaughty, a psychonaut dating app – my very established business partners Kaia Roman and Kyle Cetrulo implored me to change the name from the original ‘PsychoNaughty’ to a more palatable ‘Psychenaughty’ – as apparently the idea of a dating app with the word ‘Psycho’ in it has questionable appeal outside of the dating lives of our collective exes.
PsycheNaughty was met with an utterly confounded audience, who foolishly didn’t jump at the offer of 10% of the company for a 1 million dollar investment. Thankfully, we’ve already secured $15k in funding, so not securing the 7-figure bag on our first pitch didn’t deflate me too much. Considering it’s likely to become a unicorn (that means billion dollar company in Silicon Valley parlance), a lot of VC’s at Investadelic are going to be crying into the CBD lube they invested in while my team and I party in St. Tropez on DMT laden megayachts in 2027 after we sell to Match.com.
The second company I pitched received the most interest out of any projects showcased at the event, likely because we actually had the product on us and because it’s mushroom chocolate. My business partner Kevin Streber and I unveiled Mycoday, our functional mushroom chocolate bar derived straight from Chiapas-grown cacao and packed with fruiting body Lion’s Mane, Reishi, and Cordyceps mushroom extracts. I spent much of the afternoon fending off investors and curious onlookers who wanted to know if we also made magic mushroom chocolate – to which dutifully replied: “All mushrooms are magic.”
The pinnacle of Cannadelic for me was the Entheo Awards dinner on Friday night, where I was tapped to host. My Grandpa Ed taught me that you only need to have a joke, an anecdote, and three key points on hand to crush any public speaking engagement – and this was my game plan for hosting the show, although I managed to slide in more than one joke throughout the evening.
I was elated to present so many stalwarts and pioneers of the cannabis and psychedelics space with awards ranging from ‘Psychedelic CEO’ of the year (congrats Kaia Roman!) to bestowing the honor of Psychedelic Event of the Year upon my old college classmate Maya Albert, who organizes the Psychedelic House of Davos event in Switzerland alongside Tabula Rasa Ventures – to presenting awards to Rick Doblin and capping the evening with recognizing Paul Stamets’ invaluable contributions to the community via a Lifetime Achievement award.
The biggest surprise of the evening for me came right at the start of the awards ceremony, where I was handed the ‘Influencer of the Year’ award – a true surprise and honor as the list of names given to me for the awards didn’t include my own.
The Cannadelic Miami conference was a top-shelf event that set the tone for cannabis and psychedelics industry conventions at large. I was absolutely impressed by the attention to detail and overall execution of the event thanks to the diligence of Cannadelic organizers Colleen and Pete Sessa, as well as the expert contributions of event director Cynthia Salarizadeh.
Having the opportunity to tap in with people like Dr. Jonathan Fields, Charles Patti of My Self Wellness, Bryan Passman of Hunter + Esquire, Ashley Southard and Julia Mirer of Nushama, Zappy Zapolin of the singularity, and literally thousands of other psychedelic activists and entrepreneurs humbled me and has extended the vision for what my own Mycopreneur platform can be moving forward –
I felt very at home on stage hosting Cannadelic, and would appeal to any conference organizers to hook it up with a hosting slot or stand up comedy opportunity at events in the future. If you don’t, you might be my next punchline.