Tahj McDaniel, the 24-year-old chief business officer of local cannabis digital startup ShopHitly, will present “Taking Back My Color: A Discussion About Ancillary Opportunities for Black and Brown people in a Green World”. [Submitted]

Have a cannabis industry event you want included in Grown In? Email brad@grownin.com

What: New Decade New World Conference

When: March 2 and 3

Where: 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue, Chicago

Why: A group of enterprising college students at Northeastern Illinois University are hosting a public panel on the future of work called New Decade New World. Alongside artificial intelligence automation and healthcare, cannabis is very high on their list of most important sectors in which to allocate professional time. 

“What is new is not just about the technology, but also about what is in the ground – cannabis,” said co-organizer Joseph Palomares, a co-organizer of the conference that raised $10,000 from South Carolina University among other sponsors, who added that the student-led event is not done in collaboration with the state university. 

On March 2, Tahj McDaniel, a 24-year-old serial entrepreneur who co-founded Chicago-based cannabis e-commerce platform ShopHitly with digital industry pioneer Scott Samuel, will discuss “Ancillary Opportunities for Black and Brown people in a Green World. 

McDaniel told Grown In he will highlight opportunities for minorities to enter the cannabis industry beyond well-publicized opportunities to apply for licenses for “plant touching” aspects of the industry like owning or working for a retailer, growth operation, processing company, and transportation service.  

“There are a lot of opportunities that exist industry-wide and many more ways to get involved in the cannabis industry than just working for a dispensary,” he said. 

Amy Nathan, a member of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago Working Cannabis Group, will speak on March 3. Nathan, the Founder and Executive Director of Growmentum Lab, which helps social equity entrepreneurs grow businesses, will present on “Lessons from Illinois for the emerging cannabis global marketplace: impact of social enterprise”.

“Students are pretty idealistic and not as downtrodden with mental models many people eventually develop,” said Nathan, who started her career nearly 30 years ago in the Middle East setting up joint business opportunities between Israeli arab and jewish entrepreneurs. “We’re talking about a brand new industry that is unlike anything else that exists and is just ripe for people who are just launching their careers to get in on the ground floor.”

Green in Chi monthly industry mixer and panel March 4 

Dozens to hundreds of Chicago professionals looking to work or invest in the cannabis industry will converge at the Hubbard Inn in River North for an evening of networking and education at Green in Chi on March 4. 

Green in Chi is run by local industry event organizer and promoter Tony Paolella.

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.