October 10th marked the beginning of MJ Unpacked Detroit 2023. The cannabis industry gathered at the Motorcity Casino Hotel for three days of insights-packed presentations, elevated brand exhibitions, and cannabis-powered networking opportunities. While the conference featured brands, retailers and investors from across the country were also in attendance.
The event kicked off with a keynote address from BDSA co-founder and COO, Liz Stahura. The keynote included an overview of the current U.S. legal cannabis landscape, as well as a detailed rundown of consumer and sales dynamics within the Michigan market. BDSA CRO, Leah Spokojny, took the stage next as moderator of the panel discussion on Multi-Generational Marketing. The panel included industry leaders: Laurie Parfitt of LKP Impact Consulting, Mitch Meyers of BeLeaf Medical, and Chris Durante Visco of Fully Baked Brands.
Highlights from the data-packed keynote presentation
Even with the headwinds of price compression and regulatory strain, the mature Michigan market has maintained strong growth in consumer participation and total sales. Michigan’s consumer participation grew +28% between 1H 2020 and 1H 2023. This growth is more than twice the consumer participation growth seen across the aggregate of U.S. Adult-Use states (+13% per BDSA Consumer Insights trends). In 2023, Michigan is forecasted to total $2.9 billion in legal sales; becoming the second biggest U.S. legal cannabis market after California. By 2027, projects Michigan to grow total sales by +$900 million; while still holding the lowest average retail prices of any U.S. mature legal cannabis market.
The BDSA team was readily available in the Brand Experience Hall to discuss additional data and insights on the Michigan market. Although the Brand Experience Hall did feature some national players like Kiva and WYLD, the Detroit event was predominately attended by Midwest players – especially those in Michigan. Such Michigan-based brands as True North Collective & Sticky Mittens showcased, as well as Ohio-based Ancient Roots & Iowa-based Bud and Mary’s.
Another feature of the event was the unique after-party experience. Unlike many other cannabis networking events, the Official MJ Unpacked afterparty was alcohol-free. However, the after-party offered several cannabis consumption options. There were a dozen or so notable brand activations, such as infused beverages, food truck, on-site massages, hot chocolate tastings, and social smoke-sessions. A few notable call-outs:
- ButACake and Azuca served infused mocktails at the main bar
- Ice Cream Hash Co. offered free dabs to the hash heads in attendance
- Bud and Mary’s delivered an upbeat vibe with an interactive booth, complete with Mario Party
MJ Unpacked Detroit brought industry experts from all over the country to the booming Midwest, highlighting some of the top brands, retailers, and suppliers. While industry-wide headwinds persist in legal cannabis, high-performing markets like Michigan are expected to see continued growth and help drive U.S. total legal sales to $43 billion by 2027.