Industry experts met earnest entrepreneurs at the Cannabis 2018 Cultivation Conference in Oakland, Calif., from March 12-14. Across those three days, Cannabis Business Times brought a diverse audience together to talk about a broad range of topics in this rapidly expanding industry: compliance and commerce, technique and technology.

The net result? Cannabis Business Times’s second annual conference reached further than the previous year. And the staff promises even more educational insights from the best minds in the business.

Keynote speakers included: Rare Dankness’ Scott Reach speaking on his unique viewpoint as a grower who built a state-of-the art cultivation operation and Clade9’s David Holmes, BioAgronomics Group’s Robert C. Clarke and Mojave Richmond and writer, photographer and consultant Mel Frank sharing advice on the most important aspects of breeding new varieties.

Reach led off the second day of the conference with a grand overview of what he learned during his first year as a large-scale grower in Colorado. Chief among his lessons in cannabis production—and in retail: “Focus on what the market supports and which direction it’s going.”

Like many presenters at Cannabis 2018, Reach commanded the attention of a large audience intent on taking his insight home to their own businesses.

“His content was solid, and his story was inspirational,” one attendee told Cannabis Business Times.

Across the rest of the three-day conference, sessions included: a Q&A with leading California cannabis lawyers and experts, environmental sustainability, a genetics-based methodology to product consistency, cannabis extraction research results and much more. The event ended with a screening of Clarke’s Quest for the Golden Fiber, a short documentary on the diminishing traces of hemp culture.

Facing such a fragmented industry, Cannabis Business Times ensured that the Cannabis 2018 Cultivation Conference cross-bred the legal roller-coaster of state compliance regulations with both traditional and novel approaches to cultivation. There is no one answer to the question of how to find success in this industry. Cannabis 2018, however, illuminated many paths forward for those with an interest in starting a business or expanding one.

Clarke, a veteran ethnobotanist and cannabis grower, summed up the wisdom of three days in Oakland nicely: “You’d better think ahead while you’re thinking outside the box.”